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NASA Inspires Your Crafty Creations for World Embroidery Day

NASA Inspires Your Crafty Creations for World Embroidery Day

NASA Inspires Your Crafty Creations for World Embroidery Day

It’s amazing what you can do with a little needle and thread! For #WorldEmbroideryDay, we asked what NASA imagery inspired you. You responded with a variety of embroidered creations, highlighting our different areas of study.

Here’s what we found:

Webb’s Carina Nebula

hThis embroidered image shows the Carina Nebula captured by the James Webb Space Telescope. The image is framed in black. At the center a circular piece of art appears outlined in white. At the top of the circle, the thread is dark blue on the left. As you travel down white stars appear in lighter shades of blue. In the middle threads turn to dark black, red and orange to signify the nebula’s gas-like structure.ALT

Wendy Edwards, a project coordinator with Earth Science Data Systems at NASA, created this embroidered piece inspired by Webb’s Carina Nebula image. Captured in infrared light, this image revealed for the first time previously invisible areas of star birth. Credit: Wendy Edwards, NASA. Pattern credit: Clare Bray, Climbing Goat Designs

Wendy Edwards, a project coordinator with Earth Science Data Systems at NASA, first learned cross stitch in middle school where she had to pick rotating electives and cross stitch/embroidery was one of the options.  “When I look up to the stars and think about how incredibly, incomprehensibly big it is out there in the universe, I’m reminded that the universe isn’t ‘out there’ at all. We’re in it,” she said. Her latest piece focused on Webb’s image release of the Carina Nebula. The image showcased the telescope’s ability to peer through cosmic dust, shedding new light on how stars form.

Ocean Color Imagery: Exploring the North Caspian Sea

This image shows an embroidery piece inspired by NASA imagery. The background is white. In the middle, a brown frame appears holding an illustration of the Caspian Sea. To the bottom left, blue, green and light green sea appears showing water moving. To the top right, ice gouges are designed in brown and white.ALT

Danielle Currie of Satellite Stitches created a piece inspired by the Caspian Sea, taken by NASA’s ocean color satellites. Credit: Danielle Currie/Satellite Stitches

Danielle Currie is an environmental professional who resides in New Brunswick, Canada. She began embroidering at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic as a hobby to take her mind off the stress of the unknown. Danielle’s piece is titled “46.69, 50.43,” named after the coordinates of the area of the northern Caspian Sea captured by LandSat8 in 2019.

This is an image of the Caspian Sea. To the left, light green and dark green swirls appear in the water. To the right, ice gouges appear in white and light brown. Credit: NASAALT

An image of the Caspian Sea captured by Landsat 8 in 2019. Credit: NASA

Two Hubble Images of the Pillars of Creation, 1995 and 2015

This embroidery piece shows the Pillars of Creation inspired by the Hubble Telescope. The design is on a vintage embroidery frame (circa 1905)  with brown yarn on each side. In the middle a white tapestry shows the galaxy. There are three towering tendrils of cosmic dust and gas sitting at the center of the piece, colored in red and white. On the outside, space is blue with stars bursting in red colors.  Credit: Melissa Cole, Star Stuff StitchingALT

Melissa Cole of Star Stuff Stitching created an embroidery piece based on the Hubble image Pillars of Creation released in 1995. Credit: Melissa Cole, Star Stuff Stitching

Melissa Cole is an award-winning fiber artist from Philadelphia, PA, USA, inspired by the beauty and vastness of the universe. They began creating their own cross stitch patterns at 14, while living with their grandparents in rural Michigan, using colored pencils and graph paper.  The Pillars of Creation (Eagle Nebula, M16), released by the Hubble Telescope in 1995 when Melissa was just 11 years old, captured the imagination of a young person in a rural, religious setting, with limited access to science education.

This artistic piece shows two images of the Pillars of Creation captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. To the left, the circular art piece is on a brown background. The nebula is blue and navy with small white stitches showing stars. In the center, there are three pillars that appear colored in dark red, yellow and light green.  The pillars look like arches and spires rising out of a desert landscape, but are filled with semi-transparent gas and dust, and ever changing. To the right is a closeup of one of the pillars. The image is colored in red, yellow and brown thread, felt and wool. In the middle, blue wool appears showing space. A white star appears in the upper left. Credit: Lauren Wright Vartanian, Neurons and NebulasALT

Lauren Wright Vartanian of the shop Neurons and Nebulas created this piece inspired by the Hubble Space Telescope’s 2015 25th anniversary re-capture of the Pillars of Creation. Credit:  Lauren Wright Vartanian, Neurons and Nebulas

Lauren Wright Vartanian of Guelph, Ontario Canada considers herself a huge space nerd. She’s a multidisciplinary artist who took up hand sewing after the birth of her daughter. She’s currently working on the illustrations for a science themed alphabet book, made entirely out of textile art. It is being published by Firefly Books and comes out in the fall of 2024. Lauren said she was enamored by the original Pillars image released by Hubble in 1995. When Hubble released a higher resolution capture in 2015, she fell in love even further! This is her tribute to those well-known images.

James Webb Telescope Captures Pillars of Creation

This rectangular piece shows another embroidered interpretation of the Pillars of Creation captured by the Webb Telescope last year. The background is blue and black with white stars scattered from top to bottom. In the middle, three pillars appear in colors of red and yellow. The pillars, which lean to the right, continue downward to the left of the art piece. Credit: Darci Lenker of Darci Lenker ArtALT

Darci Lenker of Darci Lenker Art, created a rectangular version of Webb’s Pillars of Creation. Credit:  Darci Lenker of Darci Lenker Art

Darci Lenker of Norman, Oklahoma started embroidery in college more than 20 years ago, but mainly only used it as an embellishment for her other fiber works. In 2015, she started a daily embroidery project where she planned to do one one-inch circle of embroidery every day for a year.  She did a collection of miniature thread painted galaxies and nebulas for Science Museum Oklahoma in 2019. Lenker said she had previously embroidered the Hubble Telescope’s image of Pillars of Creation and was excited to see the new Webb Telescope image of the same thing. Lenker could not wait to stitch the same piece with bolder, more vivid colors.

Milky Way

This image shows an illustration of the Milky Way Galaxy. The round frame is black and circular. As you move inward, a white dotted pattern appears. Continuing to the center, a black background appears with white dots showing stars.  Five rings appear in a circular motion colored in threads of blue white and red. The center of the Milky Way Galaxy is white and oval shaped. Credit: Darci Lenker/Darci Lenker ArtALT

Darci Lenker of Darci Lenker Art was inspired by NASA’s imaging of the Milky Way Galaxy. Credit: Darci Lenker

In this piece, Lenker became inspired by the Milky Way Galaxy, which is organized into spiral arms of giant stars that illuminate interstellar gas and dust. The Sun is in a finger called the Orion Spur.

The Cosmic Microwave Background

This image shows an embroidery design based on the cosmic microwave background, created by Jessica Campbell, who runs Astrostitches. Inside a tan wooden frame, a ccolorful oval is stitched onto a black background in shades of blue, green, yellow, and a little bit of red. Credit: Jessica Campbell/AstrostitchesALT

This image shows an embroidery design based on the cosmic microwave background, created by Jessica Campbell, who runs Astrostitches. Inside a tan wooden frame, a colorful oval is stitched onto a black background in shades of blue, green, yellow, and a little bit of red. Credit: Jessica Campbell/ Astrostitches

Jessica Campbell obtained her PhD in astrophysics from the University of Toronto studying interstellar dust and magnetic fields in the Milky Way Galaxy. Jessica promptly taught herself how to cross-stitch in March 2020 and has since enjoyed turning astronomical observations into realistic cross-stitches. Her piece was inspired by the cosmic microwave background, which displays the oldest light in the universe.

This image shows the oldest light in the universe, the cosmic microwave background, captured by the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, also known as WMAP. At the center of the image is a colorful oval that is speckled with the seeds of galaxies, which appear as blobs of dark blue, light blue, green, yellow, and a little bit of red.ALT

The full-sky image of the temperature fluctuations (shown as color differences) in the cosmic microwave background, made from nine years of WMAP observations. These are the seeds of galaxies, from a time when the universe was under 400,000 years old. Credit: NASA/WMAP Science Team

GISSTEMP: NASA’s Yearly Temperature Release

This image shows an embroidered art piece based on NASA’s yearly temperature release. To the bottom left, two fingers hold up the circular piece. A round wooden frame holds it in place. In the center, a map appears of the different content. It’s outlined in black. Most of the map is covered in yellow stitching to show a warming pattern. To the left and right, the stitches change to an orange color and are scattered on the map. In the top left- and right-hand corners, the color changes to a dark red to signify another temperature change.ALT

Katy Mersmann, a NASA social media specialist, created this embroidered piece based on NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) global annual temperature record. Earth’s average surface temperature in 2020 tied with 2016 as the warmest year on record. Credit: Katy Mersmann, NASA

Katy Mersmann is a social media specialist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. She started embroidering when she was in graduate school. Many of her pieces are inspired by her work as a communicator. With climate data in particular, she was inspired by the researchers who are doing the work to understand how the planet is changing. The GISTEMP piece above is based on a data visualization of 2020 global temperature anomalies, still currently tied for the warmest year on record.

In addition to embroidery, NASA continues to inspire art in all forms. Check out other creative takes with Landsat Crafts and the James Webb Space telescope public art gallery.

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