Art in a Science Dissertation

Dissertation Slide - a frequency distribution of a molecule

Photo 1: Dissertation Slide - a frequency distribution of a molecule

Art can be found anywhere.

I was fortunate to be able to attend the son’s Molecular Biology PhD Dissertation Presentation – although I understood very little after he said, “Welcome….”

While he was speaking in polysyllabic terms, I was watching the slides, which included the frequency distribution in Photo 1.

I thought one of the shapes would make a great sofa sized painting in saturated colors – sort of a paint by numbers.

This was referred to as "the smallest repeating unit."

Photo 2: This is referred to as "the smallest repeating unit."

But sending a 4′ by 6′ painting across 2,000 miles was not viable – and he is not a modern art kind of guy (at least, I didn’t think he was.).

The next option was a quilted pillow top, because everyone needs sofa pillows!

Blew up the “smallest repeating unit” in Photo 2 to a 12″ square and traced it onto freezer paper.

The Stash contained a wine colored silk dupioni that coordinated with his living room.

Cut a 24″ square for the pillow top.  Ironed the freezer paper to one side and Stash provided iron-on batting to the other.

Ironed Freezer Paper to Pillow Top

Photo 4: Ironed Freezer Paper to Pillow Top

Quilting was accomplished by simply stitching on the lines drawn on the paper.

Removing freezer paper from stitching lines that are only 1/16″ apart was an exercise in tedium.

Sewing every other or every third “contour” and then removing portions of the paper – then filling in with the remaining stitching lines saved my sanity.

Mid-stitching.  Portion of freezer paper removed.  Many threads to knot!

Photo 5: Mid-stitching. Portion of freezer paper removed. Many threads to knot!

Mid-stitching, this was not an attractive project.

Photo 6:  Detail of Quilting

Photo 6: Detail of Quilting - rather subtle!

Pulling all the treads to the back and knotting also tested by rather limited patience.

Found a zipper in The Stash and finished the pillow with a flanged edge.

In the end the brown quilting thread against the gentle shimmer of the wine dupioni created a very subtle quilted effect.  The “smallest repeating unit” pattern is obvious only to him – as he noted – he looked at it several thousand times! To others, it is simply a couch pillow.

In an odd twist, when he received the completed pillow  – he was very appreciative – but noted the design would make a great wall-sized painting to hang above his sofa!

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This entry was posted in Home Decor, Quilting, Sewing, Tutorial. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Art in a Science Dissertation

  1. sewfrench says:

    Ha Ha! Your gut instinct was right!
    I love it! My daughter would appreciate it, too!

  2. Brenda Cindy says:

    This is really old post, but you never know when you’ll need to do it again. I just got some of vilene water soluble stabilizer that is water soluble and more fabric like.

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