Artists of all kinds were invited to apply for the chance to visit our Goddard Space Flight Center to be inspired by the giant, golden, fully-assembled James Webb Space Telescope mirror. Webb has a mirror that is nearly 22 feet high and (to optimize it for infrared observations) is covered in a microscopic layer of actual gold. Because of Webb’s visually striking appearance, the project hosted a special viewing event on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016.
There was an overwhelming response to the event invitation and ultimately twenty-four people were selected to attend. They represented a broad range of artistic media and styles, including: watercolor, 3D printed sculpture, silk screening, acrylics, sumi-e (East Asian brush technique), comics, letterpress, woodwork, metalwork, jewelry making, fiber art, ink, mural painting, kite-making, tattooing, scientific illustration, poetry, songwriting, and video making.
The artists spent several hours sitting right in front of the telescope, where they sketched, painted, took photos and even filmed a music video.
While some of the pieces of art were finished at the event, most of the artists went home with their heads full of ideas and sketchbooks full of notes.
We will continue to add event photos and art here to our Flickr.
This is Sue Reno’s finished work, titled, "Luminosity."
Detailed descriptions of the process and meaning of the various design elements (new window) are available on Sue Reno’s blog about Luminosity.
Hexagons are a perennial motif in quilts. I began stitching the silk hexagons representing the mirror of the James Webb Space Telescope on site at NASA Goddard. Cyanotype dates from the 1840s as a pioneering photography process; these and the colored dye prints were developed outdoors using UV rays from the sun. The border image is from the other end of the photo technology spectrum, taken with a fisheye lens on an iPhone and digitally printed. The needle felted center panel is made with minimally processed wool and silk fibers and modern mylar strands. It is my depiction of the early luminosity, going back 13.5 billion years, which the telescope will be able to detect.
Fiber: Hand-stitched silk hexagons, needlefelting with wool, silk, and mylar, hand beadwork with semi-precious stones, cyanotypes and solar dye prints on cotton, digital prints on cotton, silk and cotton patchwork, stitching.
Size:60"h x 74"w
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Tagged: , #JWSTArt