Saturday, July 15, 2017

Kathy's "PORE SPACE"

[Overall photo of "Pore Space"]

In a land far, far away;  and for more than two decades, I was privileged and honored to work with some of the most brilliant, creative, ingenious, and wonderful people I've ever known !   

That place:  ALASKA - known as "The Greatland !"   

That work environment:  ARCO Alaska, Inc. - one of the largest oil companies in the world !   

Those people:  Engineers, Scientists, Geologists, Geophysicists, Paleontologists, and the amazing Management Team and Support Staff needed to help keep exploration, production, and operations running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year !

One of my most favorite Engineers is now in Jakarta, Indonesia, and despite the great distances and time zones, we've maintained our friendship.  It was he who listened to and answered my endless questions about "Pore Space."  

When I first inquired about where Oil and Gas are found, I thought they'd be in large easy-to-find "pools," and then, without too much difficulty, transported from their source through a pipeline into a refinery.  From the refinery, the petroleum products would be processed into oil and gas that would be readily available for the consuming public.  So simple.... I thought !

Taking a giant step back....  First of all, we had to find the oil and gas !     To my utter shock, much of the petroleum resources are found very deep underground in hard rock deposits.   Those rock deposits are often filled with fractures (some microscopic in size; some extremely large).  The SPACE between the rock fragments that holds fluids (like water, oil, gas, steam etc.) is called a PORE.

Generally speaking, "porosity" is made up of the space between small rock fragments (e.g. sand), but sometimes porosity is formed from very small or larger fractures in the rock, or even where rock has been dissolved away.
[Close up view indicating Free-Motion Quilting]

To get a better understanding of "porosity," geologists sometimes like to force blue 'epoxy' into a rock sample; slice the sample into very thin sections (aptly called "Thin Sections" !); and then photograph the thin section to see the porosity and the rock.

My "PORE SPACE" quilt is my personal artistic rendition of a "Thin Section" that has been enlarged close to a million times its actual size !  As you can see, the "blue epoxy" has followed the microscopic fractures that cut through the rock grains, and could possibly indicate the presence of petroleum.

I'm very, very grateful to all the wonderful people who mentored me as I journeyed through the amazing world of scientific discovery !

View of the backing and binding fabric that also has the appearance of "Pore Space"  


  1. Kathy, thanks to your background and your former career, you know so much about geology and often apply that knowledge to your little MM art quilts. This latest one portrays graphically the "pore spaces" you explained.

  2. Wow. I learned something interesting! Like writers are encouraged to do, I guess quilters should "quilt what they know". Very good interpretation both visually, texturally, and in your description. Thank you for sharing this.

  3. I also would have thought the oil pooled underground! Thank you for the information which is quite fascinating. Your quilt depiction is equally fascinating.

  4. Thanks for sharing that information in words as well as the way you interpreted it in fabric and quilting. I love learning these nuggets and I really love seeing them expressed in fabric! Great job!

  5. I love this quilt - it really illustrates the theme and the quilting totally enhances the story

  6. I love the way you illustrated space. This concept was one I struggled with when teaching earth science to middle school students. I once resorted to filling a glass with sand and then pouring water into a "full" cup. That helped!

  7. How fascinating. I must say we are a very interesting group with such diverse backgrounds. I love the way it comes out in our quilts.
    Thanks for sharing.