Today is Friday, July 20, 2012. Not a significant date in history, but an anniversary nonetheless. On this day in 1985, the wreck of the Nuestra Senora de Atocha was found off the coast of Key West. Pretty cool stuff. Stuff that was a very big deal for Jim as a photographer and another explanation for our love of the Keys in general.
But what does this have to do with my stitching? Well, please just bear with me while I fill in the backdrop story and you'll see. First though, here's how it began:
The Atocha was part of a fleet of Spanish galleons returning to Spain in the fall of 1622. The fleet left Havana loaded with treasure when a hurricane struck and washed it onto the reefs.
The Atocha was carrying the largest amount of gold and silver. It sank quickly and the treasure was lost. That is, lost until July 20, 1985, when Mel Fisher and his treasure hunters found a debris field scattered with gold coins, jewels and religious artifacts not far off the coast of Key West. I won't go into the details of it, but if you want to know more about this man and his amazing find, check this out:
Now. here's where the story gets personal...and yes, we are getting to the stitching part of it!
As you can imagine, this was huge news at the time, especially here in Florida. Every day there were new reports of the wonders being brought to the surface. And Jim, as the young ace photographer for the Tribune, was sent off to Key West to cover the story. As luck would have it, when he checked into the salvage office, none other than Mel Fisher himself was there, on the radio to the salvage fleet. "Today is the Day!" was always his mantra, and as it turned out for both Jim and the salvagers, it truly was the day. Huge bars of silver had just been brought to the surface. Mel was taking a boat out to the site and he offered to give Jim a ride out with him. What a thrill! My own husband had the chance to photograph Spanish silver breaking the surface for the first time in over 300 years. How cool is that?
Now, on to the stitching part of the story...if you're still reading this, thanks for hanging in there!
I've been thinking for awhile now that I would love to do a Florida themed sampler, but couldn't find anything that didn't have flamingos and flip-flops all over it, much less looked like the sort of antique sampler I usually fall for Then I happened to find this illustration of the Atocha and it got the wheels turning in my head...
Where had I seen this before in all my stitching treasure? A quick deep sea dive through the closet turned up this lost artifact:
See the similarity?
My plan is to use most of the original design as is, but substitute the wording with an acknowledgement of the Atocha. I'll also change the date and the names of the ships to those in the Atocha fleet,
And best of all, I spent this afternoon plundering for booty in the depths of my stash. I don't think those drab Prairie Schooler colors suit what I've got in mind, so I salvaged around and came up with a palette of Hand-Dyed Fibers that says "Gulf of Mexico". I may just choose the specific colors as I go, but at least now everything is kitted and ready to set sail. What do you think?
I can't wait to get started - after all, today is the day!