Angel’s Glow, Dinoflagellate – Karen Vellensky

It took more than 140 years to solve the mystery of soldiers’ glowing wounds after the Battle of Shiloh. The Union victory left more than 16,000 soldiers wounded and more than 3,000 dead. As troops waited in the mud for up to two days for attention from the overwhelmed medics, they noticed a strange phenomenon; the wounds of some of the soldiers were glowing a faint blue. Later on, the soldiers with glowing wounds had improved rates of recovery and survival. In light of this seemingly protective charm, the blue light was knick-named Angel’s Glow.

In 2001 the son of a microbiologist visited the battleground on a school trip. When he heard the story his curiosity was peaked. He enlisted the help of his mother to do an experiment to prove his theory that Angel’s Glow was in fact a bacteria that is bioluminescent. They were successful and thusly solved the one hundred and forty year old mystery.

Dinoflagellate, a single cell organism is an example of bioluminescence.




IMG_0539    IMG_0537

This project was fun to conceptualize and to build, but frustrating to get the LED lights to defuse evenly throughout. I used speckled teal lame spandex and teal sequined net. I attempted to create a defused effect with 12 white LEDs stuffed into the belly of the plushie with a thin layer of polyfill between the LEDs and the interior of the fabric. I might have been more successful working in a slightly smaller scale with the same amount of LEDs. If I could have done one thing differently, I would have found another kind of light source or worked with a concept that intentionally had points of light instead of struggling to get a tool to perform a function it is not capable of. I enjoyed sewing sequins which is a material I have avoided in the past.

One thought on “Angel’s Glow, Dinoflagellate – Karen Vellensky”

Comments are closed.