phosphorescent, adj. and n. Having the property of glowing in the dark.
Before taking part in this project I had never heard of this species, but the word ‘phosphorescent’ immediately piqued my interest. At first glance, while its shape was unusual and interesting, not much more stood out for me. But when I looked closer, I noticed the tiny beads of light balanced delicately on each frond of the sea pen. This light is emitted by the polyps and pulses in waves across the sea pen, and acts as a kind of defence mechanism, scaring off predators who come too close.
I like the idea of these sea pens (which were named so due to their quill-like appearance) gently swaying on the sea bed, emitting a warm glow into the darkness to defend themselves from other creatures of the deep. I’d like to see them myself some day.
The materials I used for this cross-stitched piece are all second-hand or upcycled. The fabric was rescued from a bundle of Aida fabrics that would have otherwise been discarded, due to suffering water damage – however, I think the damage has created a tie-dye effect which makes the piece more interesting to look at. The thread used is all leftover from other projects; none was bought new. I chose cross-stitch as my medium as the meditative, methodical nature of the stitching is both therapeutic and focuses the mind onto the project. Spending hours stitching each tiny dot of light onto the sea pen definitely made me think about this species more than I ever thought I would!