Continuing my exploration of kelp and otters, the fourth quilt in the series is a detailed look at the kelp itself. Kelp in the ocean is equivalent to the tree on land, in groups both are referred to as forests as they convert carbon dioxide into sugar and oxygen. Tides pull pieces of the kelp up onto the beach where we (okay, I, anyway) can marvel at the patterns and textures of the fronds. This quilt then, the kelp framed in hand-dyed green velvet, is an homage to the beauty found there, our gold under the sea.
I painted linen with watercolor ground, then drew the pattern and embroidered it, starting with variegated green cotton sashiko thread. I realized I wanted more depth, so I started changing up the colors, fading to gray at the edges, and including silver and gold metallic thread.
When I got to the bulb (called, unflatteringly, a bladder), I was momentarily stumped. I began stitching around one edge, but then changed course and shaped a scrap of the letterpress printed cotton I had used in Kelp Kelp Garibaldi and Kelp Kelp Otter to fit. I embroidered over parts of the printed cotton, leaving some unstitched for contrast and texture.