First I found an image from the internet of stem cells and printed it out the size I wanted to work. I taped the 8 1/2 x 11 pages together and laid a piece of tracing paper over the top and traced the outline of the stem cells.
I put my outline drawing on a light box and put the fabric I would use for the back of the piece on top and traced the lines with chalk. Next I put this fabric on a piece of white cotton batting and stitched with the sewing machine over all the chalked lines with a straight stitch.
I turned the layers over so the batting was now face up and began to paint the stem cells with textile paint on the batting having my sewn lines as a guide,
I built up the shading with Tsukineko inks. Their transparent color is perfect for that. Then I cut away all the white spaces in the batting around the stem cell painting.
Then I layered the lacy painted batting on a blood red colored piece of hand dyed fabric, a piece of wool batting and another piece of fabric for the back.
I satin stitched around the edges of the batting with gold thread and free motion quilted in the dark red spaces to flatten it and make it visually recede.
Finished stem cells.
This is the image I found and used as inspiration for the nerve cells.
I had a piece of fabric that I had hand dyed a few years ago that looked like nerve cells to me. So half the work was already done. Using Tsukineko inks I drew a few cell shapes on it with white and a dark green with a little shading in purple.
I quilted it using clear monofilament thread, this gave it dimension and no strong outlines of color. The monofilament catches the light and makes little sparkles which seems very appropriate.