Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Lichens and Moss
(Copyright 2024 Susan Brubaker Knapp)
11 x 13"

On my morning walks, I pass a neighbor’s mailbox that was encased, years ago, with wooden strips. Now, it is covered with fabulous lichens and moss in beautiful aqua and green colors. I based this piece on a photo I took a few weeks ago, after a good rain. 

I started with a base of fabric, and added several extra layers of batting under the wood fabric strips, to make them more dimensional. I constructed the lichens from painted and heat distressed Tyvek and Lutradur. I free-motion machine stitched the moss with cotton thread, on water soluble stabilizer. (This is a technique I’ll demonstrate on Quilting Arts TV 3100, which we shoot this summer.) The piece also has some hand embroidery.

Lichens have always fascinated me. They consist of fungal filaments (hyphae) that surround green algae cells and/or blue-green cyanobacteria. (The understanding that bacteria may also be part of lichens is relatively recent.)

Lichens provide food, shelter and nesting material, and are an important indicator of air quality.

And in case you were wondering: The dark spots are the fruiting bodies of the lichen. Most lichenised fungi are ascomycetes, and these produce their spores in sac-like asci held vertically in a ‘fruiting body’. These fruiting bodes may be disc-shaped (apothecia) with a margin of the same or a different colour.” – The British Lichen Society.