Healing Quilts in Medicine: Art quilts making a difference in the lives of patients and their families
Fiber Artists @ Loose Ends collaborated with the Center for Organogenesis and the Gifts of Art program to deliver quilts based on scientific images from University of Michigan scientists.
1. Green Feather (Annabel Ebersole). This quilt (left) is based on the photo of a lobule of the cerebellum (right) by Maria Morrell, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Cell & Developmental Biology, University of Michigan
Located at the lower back of the brain, the cerebellum is a fist-sized structure that contains more neurons than all of the rest of the brain combined. In this section of a highly folded lobule, astrocytes (green) support large specialized neurons, the Purkinje cells (red). The blue nuclear staining illustrates the many cells present in each of the lobules. Cerebellar neural stem cells are located next to the Purkinje cells.
The quilt uses fabric and fiber to represent parts of the cells of the cerebellum. Silk throwster’s waste, silk cocoon fibers, silk Sari yarn from Nepal, glitter threads, cotton, rayon and silk threads, stamp pads, paint, stencils, wool yarn, hemp string, rubber string, metallic grid and various fabrics, both hand and machine stitched, were used to create these effects.
2. Sunburst (Bunnie Jordan). This quilt (right) is an interpretation of a micrograph (left) of neural stem cells by Maria Morrell.
In this photomicrograph, the spherical cluster of neural stem cells was stained to identify a protein typically found in astrocytes (red). The nuclei of the cells have been stained blue. The goal of our research is to study the potential of neural stem cells for repair after injury to the central nervous system. A prism design and a class from the artist Barbara Olson was the starting point for designing the quilt. The techniques used include fused and machine appliqué incorporating yarns, organza, netting and beads.
3. Gastric Rainbow (Carole Nicholas, Judy Busby, Christine Adams, Bunnie Jordan, Paula Golden, Sandi Goldman, Barbara Hollinger, Mary Lois Davis, Annabel Ebersole). The quilt (left) is based on the image (right) by Jochen Lennerz, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Pathology and Immunology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO and Jason Mills, M.D., Ph.D University of Washington at St. Louis.
This is a section of a mouse stomach. Food will be digested in the black area at the top of the picture. The large green cells in the middle of the image produce stomach acid, while the cells at the bottom (highlighted in magenta) make digestive enzymes. The red cells at top line the surface of the stomach and secrete mucus. The mucus barrier protects these beautiful stomach cells from self-digestion.
Nine artists independently interpreted a 10” section. Techniques are varied: fusing, raw edge appliqué, free-motion quilting, machine embroidery, silk waste overlay, zigzagged and turned edges. Materials; 100% cottons (also batiks, and artist dyed), Swarovski beads, acrylic paint, and watercolor pencils.
Healing Quilts in Medicine of Sacred Threads is dedicated to projects that bring beauty and education through art quilts into hospitals. This is the vision of Judy House who, before she died of breast cancer, organized a group of 37 art quilters to make art quilts based on the plants and animals used in chemotherapies. More quilts can be viewed at The Healing Quilts in Medicine website.