Meredith Woolnough, Paper Nautilus (2016), embroidery thread and pins on paper, 59 x 70cm.
This piece is inspired by the beautiful ribbed patterns on the Argonauta argo egg case. Argonauts are commonly referred to as the ‘paper nautilus’ but they are not nautiloids. They are in fact a type of octopus and the female makes a beautiful, translucent egg case to hang out in. If you are lucky you may find one of these egg cases washed up on the beach.
Argonaut egg cases are generally white in colour but I couldn’t resist making this interpretation of their form in my favorite orange colour scheme.
I have always been a lover of cephalopods and have previously created artworks inspired by the shells of the Nautilus and Ammonites
(a prehistoric cephalopod). But I think these little guys are now my new favorite. They are just so weirdly wonderful! See the bottom of this post for links to a great video and some further readings.
So once I knew a bit about these creatures I just had to create an embroidered artwork based on these beautiful egg cases. Although my egg case came from a species that is local to Australia; Argonauta nodosa (commonly known as the knobbed Argonaut) my design was based on the more widely distributed Argonauta argo (also knows as the greater Argonaut).
I was torn between creating a bright colourful interpretation of the shell or a subtle white piece that more closely referenced that natural colouring of the egg case.
So in the end … I made both.