Image of blue and green printed fabric in a modern motif.

Uranus, detail of required printed fabric

Springboard Muses

Just as art can fuel life. Life can fuel art. Early this summer I became charmed by the graphics of Bell’s Brewery Uranus beer label.

Image of gray uranus on beer box. Bell’s Beer Label

Image Uranus, a blue-green orb. Uranus by NASA

Under the Uranus spell, I discovered several facts. First, methane, CH4, exists in Uranus’ atmosphere. Methane absorbs infrared wavelengths making Uranus appear blue-green in color. Second, sky gazers between 1787 and 2003 discovered 27 Uranus moons, which are named after Shakespearean and Alexander Pope characters. The moon names are: Oberon, Titania, Ariel, Umbriel, Miranda, Juliet, Puch, Cordelia, Ophelia, Bianca, Desdemona, Portia, Rosalind, Cressida, Belinda, Caliban, Sycoran, Setebos, Prospero, Stephano, Trincolo, Francisco, Ferdinand, Perdita, Mab, Cupid, and Margaret. If you think, hey, not Greek mythology characters! You are right. Uranus breaks tradition in moon naming. Third, a NASA-ESA (European Space Agency) program called Pathfinder has a 2025 launch date for a Uranus orbiter and probe. It will arrive at Uranus in 2037.

Then, I studied the color gray and its evolution beyond a sliding scale from black to white. PANTONE®, the world-renowned authority on color and provider of color systems for the selection and accurate communication of color across a variety of industries, offers over 50 shades of gray.  Here’s a sampling of PANTONE® grays with blue, green, brown, and lilac tones.

Color swatch of a light blue gray color.  Gray Dawn 14-4106 TP

Color swatch of light green gray color. Gray Mist 15-4706 TPX

Opal Gray Opal Gray 16-3801 TPX

Color swatch of light lilac gray color. Lavender Gray 17-3910 TC

Finally, ever wonder whether you spell gray with an ‘A’ or ‘E’?  As many issues in life, it just depends. My 1947 Funk & Wagnalls dictionary gives an Old English origin to gray and spells it græy. Amazing both ‘a’ and ‘e’.

American English spells it GRAY while British English uses GREY. Influenced by dictionary writers in both countries, Americans and British writers both adopted GRAY as early as 1825.  For unknown reasons, Britain in the 1900s began to prefer GREY.

Charm + Need

Now, down to art making. With gray and blue-green colors on my mind, what a delight to see the La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum’s 2015 challenge embrace colors of gray and blue-green and a make-it-modern theme! Life wanderings can be productive. Uranus prepared me well. I quickly sketched some designs. Local friends rated several as favorites.

uranus sketches IMG_3628-2 with text copy glacialpool’s sketchbook

Which are your top two favorite Uranus designs?

Made Design

A large Uranus balances the illusion of deep space. Comet streaks of 1/8th inch quilting unify the orbs and space. I took artistic liberties and made Uranus more yellow because yellow contrasted better with the blue-green in the required print fabric.

Image of Uranus, a fabric quilt by glacialpool.


Vintage Chinese silk, cotton, silk thread, cotton flannel batting. Hand stitched.

12 x 36 in (30.5 x 91.5 cm)

Original: $450

Paper Pattern: $15

Pattern and Fabric Kit: $40

Silk shimmers warmly

Opulent flannel-silk quilting caresses

Cool space come forth

Uranus, details with basting stitches

Uranus, detail hues and basting stitches

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