Art project: cross-stitching microbes

For my art project, I decided to take up cross-stitching. I heard that knitting and sewing are great ways to improve hand dexterity (which is very useful if you want to be a surgeon) and I thought the tiny embroidery that resulted looked really cool. Choosing the subjects was easy – I took some ideas from the Virology class I am taking this semester and put some happy spring colors into it, and the cytomegalovirus and T4-bacteriopage are the result of that. I think viruses are really interesting microbes, since nobody knows if they are alive or not, and have really different morphologies and abilities. However, I did not want to leave bacteria out; the P. putida was initally supposed to be Helicobacter pylori, but the two look very similar and I felt more affinity with Pseudomonas putida, since it can live on pure caffeine. I had also already pictured “bad bugs”, and wanted to give a broader idea of microbial life. P. putida is used for bioremediation, and is non-pathogenic, thus representing the “good” bacteria.

Overall, the project took longer than expected, because it turns out I am not very good at sewing at all. Each microbe took a few hours to make, and I was never able to understand the instructions that came with the kits, so they don’t look like they were supposed to, but I think they came out okay.