Friday, October 24, 2014

Bloggers Quilt Festival: ROYGBIV Entry

This is the second of my two entries into this fall's Blogger's Quilt Festival.  Three cheers to Amy and many thanks for hosting, it's always so much fun to see what everyone has been working on.

My first entry was the cuttlefish, which is in the mini-quilt category.

This is my beloved photoreceptor quilt which I'm putting in the ROYGBIV category.  I thought about putting it in the Art quilt category, but its rainbow color scheme combined with the subject matter (without photoreceptors we wouldn't even be able to see our favorite rainbow colors) tipped the scales to this category.

Do you see what I see, 2014, Shannon Conley, 23 x 37

Some of you may know this already, but in my non-art life I'm a photoreceptor cell biologist and here, I've jumped straight into linked-to-my-scientific-work territory with a quilt featuring photoreceptors.

The quilt was based on an electron micrograph taken by my quilty crafty friend Barb, who is a fabulous microscopist.  Photoreceptors are the cells in the very back of your retina which are actually responsible for sensing light and converting it into the chemical/electrical signals that are eventually processed by the brain and register as vision.  They have quite different ultrastructure from other cells, characterized most obviously by a giant long extension from the cell body.  This is called an outer segment and is filled with stacked membranous discs (like a stack of flattened whoopie cushions or something).  These discs are packed with all the proteins necessary for sensing light.  All the photoreceptors in this picture (which came from a mouse retina) are rod photoreceptors which mediate peripheral and low light vision.

Photoreceptors really are the first step in determining how we see the world, thus the name for the quilt, "Do You See What I See" (for me the answer is almost always bright rainbows of color...)

The quilt features lots of machine quilting, hand embroidery and beading, and bobbin quilting using a fabulous hand sun rainbow yarn I picked up in Germany a couple years back.

Thanks again to Amy for hosting the Blogger's Quilt Festival, and everyone say a silent thank you to his or her photoreceptors; without them you wouldn't see anything!


  1. Very nice work Quilt :)

    Thank you kindly for your visit if there is a quote in my festival

  2. Wow I love this!! I love all the details. I wish my science classes had been taught with textiles, I might have taken more notice.

  3. It's a dramatic quilt, beautiful colors and hand stitching. Fun to see something other than botanical objects used as the subject of a quilt. Very fun!

  4. Very cool! I love the rainbow quilting.

  5. This quilt is cool without any explanation at all, but it is extra awesome when you know the story behind it :)

    1. Ditto. My thought too--you said it first.

  6. As a fellow scientist-quilter, I dig this quilt!

  7. I love the quilt and the concept! Looking forward to more cells...

  8. I lov that you incorporated science in a quilt
    I am a science geek and quilter

  9. I was wondering how many hours you have invested in thus quilt.

  10. I've just looked on the rainbow quilts in the festival for the first time, went straight to this one - and look who made it!!
    It is great to see and completely different and unique interpretation of rainbow quilt. It is dramatic and bold. Best of luck in the Festival