Bromine

Bromine is primarily found in the ocean and in brine pools as a colorless crystalline mineral salt. At room temperature it is a fuming, toxic and corrosive liquid.

Bromine has many uses in our daily lives. It spends time in hot tubs around the world. Bromine is to hot water what chlorine is to cold. It helps kill all kinds of bacteria and things we don’t want floating around in the hot tub with us. Bromine is also a primary ingredient in the fire retardant applied to children’s pajamas – over 250,000 tons of bromine are consumed in fire retardant production. Formerly used in pesticides, bromine is found to be highly reactive to sunlight and is very effective at ozone depletion. Due to this unwanted side-effect, bromine use has been abandoned as a pesticide ingredient. Amazingly enough, bromine is also found in lemon/lime soft drinks – including Mountain Dew – and is responsible for that almost glow-in-the-dark yellow/green color.

To interpret this element as a quilt, I used a Mountain Dew kerchief as the background and then a photo transfer of “baby Jeanne” in some pjs that we assume were treated with fire retardant. The spiral of wool roving “smoke” represents the noxious fumes while the white button attempts to represent the bromine tablets that are used in spas and hot tubs.

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Hydrogen

Two hydrogen atoms are in a bar. One says, sadly, “I think I’ve lost my electron. . .”

“That’s terrible!” says the other. “Are you sure?”

“I’m positive!”

Hydrogen has atomic number 1 and is represented by the symbol H. The name hydrogen means “water maker” in ancient Greek. It was chosen because water is a product when hydrogen is burned in air. It is the most abundant chemical element in the universe, is found in giant gaseous planets and plays a role in powering stars. Because H2 is lighter than air, with approximately 115  the density of air, it was once widely used as a lifting gas in balloons & airships.The largest applications of H2 are in the processing (“upgrading”) of fossil fuels and in the production of ammonia. Much research is underway to determine if we can move to a “Hydrogen Economy” to shift from fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas to hydrogen. Free hydrogen does not occur naturally in quantity and must be generated from some other energy source by steam reformation of natural gas or another method and, so, hydrogen fuel is not yet considered economical or energy-saving.

Creating the block was fun — I chose a blimp graphic to represent the hydrogen-filled Hindenburg and printed it on muslin. I used a metallic fall leaf for the explosion/fire and added beading and embroidery embellishments.

Carbon

Carbon’s name is from  the Latin carbo, meaning charcoal. Carbon is the most essential element for life on our planet as carbon atoms link up forming long chains to which other elements attach forming DNA. Our lives literally depend on carbon but our choices of how we use the carbon found in coal and other fossil fuels will also impact the lives of generations to come. I decided to represent that individual responsibility by tracing the feet of my immediate family, including our newest grandson, Koen James Jolstad, born on April 11, 2010. Suggestions for making big and small steps for reducing our carbon foot prints were machine stitched throughout the piece.

Sulphur

When I hear the word sulphur, I think about its role in homeopathy, where each remedy has certain personality traits and physical symptoms associated with it. A remedy is prescribed by matching a person’s symptoms and traits with the corresponding remedy. Homeopathically, sulphur is associated with persons who are delusional and believe that they are extremely wealthy,yet are extremely lazy and selfish, and irritable and depressed.  Physically, sulphur patients tend to suffer from symptoms involving heat and burning, redness of the skin, and numerous other skin ailments.

Unsure as to how I could portray this in an 11″ square, I chose to go in another direction, this time portraying sulphur as the biblical image of fire and brimstone. Fire and brimstone (possibly an ancient word for sulphur) frequently appear in the Old and New Testaments as a sign of God’s wrath, and also refers to a style of preaching used to convert others using fear of damnation.

Selenium

Discovered in 1817 as a byproduct of sulfuric acid production, Selenium is a non-metal, chemically related to Sulfur and Tellurium. Prior to the discovery of silicon semiconductors, Selenium was an essential material in the drums of laser printers and copiers. Currently it is used primarily in glass manufacturing and pigments.

Although toxic in large doses, selenium is an essential micro-nutrient in our diets, contributing to thyroid function and a healthy immune system. Selenium is an antioxidant found in the highest levels in Brazil nuts, tuna, crab and lobster.

Recent research has proven that high concentrations of Selenium in salt water, neutralizes the negative effects of Mercury in ocean fish, making it safe for human consumption. This fact inspired the underwater imagery and the “safe fish”.