Once upon a very long time ago - when I first started designing hand painted canvas - we had nothing more than Persian wool and cotton floss to work with. I absolutely refused during those years to do any Christmas ornaments, as these things should sparkle and shine.
They were actually kind of ugly, in my opinion, as little fat pillow things that were perfectly flat in texture. No decorative stitches or metallics or anything of that nature.
In about 1980, counted cross-stitch started becoming very popular. I didn't enjoy it, myself, but I did enjoy finding the Balger blending filament (now Kreinik) and decided one day in 1985 to do a needlepoint ornament with it. I chose a chart of a peach, and put it onto canvas. It was then stitched with DMC floss and the blending filament - and voila! I had an ornament that sparkled.
However, about the same time I designed this pillow (the canvas now very old and grungy and never finished) it never occurred to me to also spice it up a bit by using the blending filament, so I intended to just use the cotton floss.
I had been watching recently Anne Stradal's "needle blending" of the skies over her light houses, and started thinking about doing that with water, as the Great Barrier Reef and it's flora and fauna absolutely fascinate me.
Then someone asked me about blending filament, and the light came on. Also, Anne is now doing a piece with water and fish on it - so the subject of seaweed, etc. came up. I spent a lot of time yesterday researching sea fans, and got quite an education on yet another aspect of Marine biology! Those things are gorgeous - so now my next project is to design some things with sea fans on them and to make them sparkle in a very subtle way with the Kreinik blending filament. I'm excited! (hope I can pull it off). I'm thinking how much more interesting this fish canvas would be with the modern wonders we have now.
The design was adapted from a silk pillow I purchased from a woman in south Florida many years ago. She would dive with her camera off the coral reefs down there, taking pictures - and then paint them onto silk. WOW!