MANILA – (UPDATE) With much of the world on lockdown from COVID-19, many have found time to revive forgotten hobbies and passions.
Lasallian Brother Martin Sellner FSC, he used his freed up schedule to complete a 20 year old project.
In an article on his Facebook account, Sellner documented the final points of his giant cross stitch of the Periodic Table of the Elements.
“Finally, after two decades, the cross stitch of the periodic table is finished. A short video of the last five stitches (out of more than a million) is published … Finally, the last nine elements were named by IUPAC and I was able to finish them during this prolonged confinement ”, a- he writes.
According to the Lasallian brother, he learned to cross stitch when he developed a “serious back problem” in 1999 while working in the Philippines.
“I returned to the United States to resolve it. Surgery wasn’t an option, and the other procedures didn’t help, so I made the decision to stay home. Teaching was no longer possible, ”he explained.
He said a dear friend and mother of his former student had suggested starting “sewing, knitting or embroidering on a plastic grid” as a hobby to keep busy.
“I liked doing that, making covers for boxes of tissues. The sides were rectangular, and after a while I thought of the periodic table, with its 118 “boxes”. So I suggested creating a periodic table using embroidery, ”recalls Sellner.
He continued, “The lady thought I was crazy and suggested the cross stitch. I had never heard of it, so we went to get a beginner’s kit. While she was looking at the beginner kits, I picked out one that I thought was perfect, but the lady said it was for the experts.
Not letting his novice skills deter him, Sellner pursued his vision and designed his own model of the giant periodic table.
According to him, he was particularly interested in the Table of Elements as he had spent years teaching it before his back injury prevented him from attending classrooms.
Sellner became a Lasallian Brother in 1955 and began his educational career teaching chemistry at a high school in Chicago, Illinois and Minnesota for 4 years and 22 years, respectively, before being invited by Br. Andrew Gonzalez, a teammate from his ‘formative years’, coming to Manila in 1985.
“I taught various chemistry courses at DLSU for the next 10 years. He then asked me to go to Zobel, work on the science curriculum, and update the science labs. This is what I did for five years until I had to return to the United States because of my back, ”recalls Sellner.
When he started his ambitious project, however, he said he never “realized it would take 20 years to complete it”.
As much as he loved his new hobby, as much Sellner admitted it was a daunting task. According to him, the edge of the table alone took him six years to complete.
Aside from the minute and intricate details of the time-consuming giant periodic table, Sellner admitted that his masterpiece went unfinished for decades because he would “tire of the same project.”
“I started others just for a certain variety. I ended up doing 20 or 30 more cross stitch projects, giving them to my family, relatives and friends. And keep sewing the periodic table until it’s finally done a few days ago, ”he said.
“Well, now it’s over, and it makes me happy,” he enthused.
To date, the video has been viewed 480,000 times and shared by over 8,000 Internet users.
confinement, La Salle, fr. Martin Sellner FSC, cross stitch