Primary Tools & Materials:
NEEDLE & THREAD, DATA VISUALS
Additional Tools & Materials: tracing paper, scissors, scanner, camera, transparent tape, inkjet printer, Adobe Photoshop
First, allow me to say that yes, I realize that this looks a lot like the Google logo. And believe it or not, I didn't realize it until after I had made it. So yeah, my bad.
The matchup for this letter was needle & thread as the hand tools, and data visualization as the digital component. I decided to combine hand embroidery with the ROYGBIV visible light spectrum. My original sketches for this letter included the light spectrum more as stripes than this "pie chart" design (which would have made it look less like Google, sigh). Then, in researching ROYGBIV charts, I found one by Isaac Newton (image #2) which combined the visible light spectrum with the seven notes in a musical major scale - one of the first "color wheels." I decided to overlay this color wheel onto the letter assigned for today, which just happened to be a G. Turns out that's exactly what Google did, only they began the ROYGBIV gradient at the top right of the G, and I simply put the colors where they belonged according to Newton's color wheel.
To transfer the letter to the fabric, I printed a composite of the letter 'G' in the typeface Geo Sans Light onto a sheet of tracing paper. I chose tracing paper because I knew it would be thin enough to embroider over, and would likely fall off after being repeatedly poked with a needle (and it did, like a charm). I then hand embroidered my way around the letter, peeled the tattered tracing paper off the back, and put my embroidery face down on the scanner bed to get as much thread, color, and fabric detail as possible (image #1).
Hand embroidery produces an irregular, bumpy boundary to the letterform, making it difficult to keep this letter mostly round; it ended up flattening out near the baseline. The closely spaced, sometimes overlapping stitches almost look like scribbled, hand drawn lines as they curve to form the letter's shape. To me the most interesting part of the letter is where the stitches change direction. It would be interesting to see more complex letters created with this method, like W, K, or R.
Isaac Newton's color wheel from https://ewikipedia.org/wiki/ROYGBIV