Thursday, September 27, 2012

Old as dirt

This week's fabric design theme was "earth science." I knew instantly what I wanted to do - dirt! Something I've always been fascinated with is how dirt is made - I know it's partly rock, partly organic matter, but it seems so unlike either. My parents always had a big herb and vegetable garden out in the backyard, and my dad has made compost for many years. All those moist, hot, smelly piles covered with black tarp! Leaves and sticks go in, amazing dirt comes out. I used to help him strain out the big non-decomposed chunks before he spread it around. Also in the backyard was a large segment where my brother and I were allowed to play in the mud. We'd run the hose and make a big puddle, and as the dirt got saturated we'd dig it out and pile it up on the sides. We got some bricks too, and eventually made a whole city with a covered river running through it. I loved to see how the different consistencies of dirt would turn into varying kinds of mud. The layer on top had lots of leaves and other detritus, and below that it got very fine and smooth. Lower down it got sandy, and in some places a little claylike.

Later, in college, I took geology in hopes of learning more about soil formation. Teacher: "we're not going to get into soil formation, because it's pretty complicated." Disappointing, but intriguing! Nowadays, I have Google whenever I want to find out a little about things like this.

For the fabric design, I abstracted out the different stages and processes into stripes. There are two sequences - one is the darker green leaf litter, with worms below it, that turns into clay and then bedrock. The other starts with grass and roots, has ants, and also ends up with bedrock.

Soil Formation Stripes

It came in 63 out of 160 with 153 votes. In a similar "vein" as mine, I liked the geologic strata print (that won) and these core samples. On a more macro scale, I liked these cutesy globe cutaways and magnetospheres. Of the crystal/mineral entries this was my favorite, and out of weather themes I thought this was best. This ocean depth map that came in fourth is neat and has a really large repeat.

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