Thursday, April 12, 2007
DNA and Quilts
There has been a discussion thread on Quiltart recently dealing with science, math and quilting. And more recently DNA. I wanted to share a quilt I made in 2005 called "More Than the Sum of Our Genes".
This was my first original design. I was playing with the layout of a bunch of fan segments that I cut out of solids (after a Nancy Crow class). First I stitched them together in groups of three or four and then started to arrange them. After they were arranged and sewn onto the background (crinkled taffeta--it was after midnight and the only fabric I had that was dark enough to carry the segments), I kept thinking about genetics and DNA. As it happened 2005 was the year that scientists completed the Human Genome Project, the complete mapping of human DNA. It was also the 50th anniversary of the discovery of DNA by Watson and Crick. (Did I mention, I'm a chemist?).
All this got me to thinking about what makes us human. I did some research and found that there were lists of traits by various groups/organizations/individuals that were unique to humans. I chose ones that appeared on all of the lists representing both the good and bad side of human nature and cut them from lame' and appliqued them onto the quilt.
I also wanted to speak about diversity and individualism. For each group of segments in a single color, I devised a quilting/embellishment scheme with every segment being unique, but a variation of the same theme. The background is quilted in the familiar double helix of DNA, complete with bridges. (I said I was a chemist!).