Winning Space ‘Crafts’ Could Get a Ride on Shuttle

'High Texture Hand Embroidery of the Moon,' by Rachel Barry Hobson, which won the NASA/Etsy craft contest in the 2D Original category. Image courtesy of Rachel Barry Hobson


If you aren’t yet familiar with Etsy, it is an arts and crafts goldmine where you can find almost anything your heart desires when it comes to handmade art, jewelry, knick-knacks, photography, clothing, quilts, toys and more. Not surprisingly, space exploration and astronomy is an inspiration for many crafters, and NASA and Etsy held a “Space Craft” contest, where contestants entered an original handmade item or work of art inspired by NASA programs, such as the space shuttle, human spaceflight, aeronautics, science and exploration of the universe, and the winners have now been announced.

I was thrilled to see the winner in one category, the 2D Original category, was this beautiful hand-embroidered representation of the Moon (above) – because not only was it my favorite in the entire contest, but I also know the creator, Rachel Barry Hobson. Her winning piece may fly on one of the final space shuttle flights.

I asked Rachel how she felt about winning, and she said, “I am truly humbled. When I created this piece, I worked from a place of pure passion and love for embroidery and space exploration. I love having the opportunity to use this medium to inspire people to fall in love with space, and to be recognized by peers and such a distinguished panel of judges is a huge honor.”

One of the judges was astronaut Steve Robinson.

Grand Prize Winner, Best of Show. Northstar Table by Colleen and Eric Whiteley. Image credit: Etsy

Other winners include Colleen and Eric Whiteley from Brooklyn, NY, who received the Grand Prize for Best of Show for their detailed design of the Northstar Table. The table features a North Star design that, when pressed, opens a hidden drawer.

Winner, 2D Reproduction. Universal Thoughts by Nikkita Karsan Bhakta. Image credit: Etsy

For the category of Two Dimensional Reproduction, “Universal Thoughts” by Nikkita Karsan Bhakta from Mobile, Ala., won the top prize.

Winner, 3D Original. Brother Sun, Sister Moon Ring by Partrick Burt. Image credit: Ets

Patrick Burt from Tempe, Ariz., won the Three Dimensional Original category with a Titanium ring titled “Brother Sun, Sister Moon.” The silver, gold and diamond embedded ring represents stars, the sun, moon, Mercury, Mars, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn.

NASA said their goal for the contest was to help inform Etsy’s 5.8 million members about the agency’s present and future exploration plans. There were over 600 pieces entered in the contest.

Rachel said she was inspired to capture the gorgeous textures and geologic attributes of the Moon in hand embroidery, as “the moon has always served as artistic and scientific inspiration for humankind. It’s easily recognizable, and is a comforting, welcome sight in our sky. Its violently beautiful craters remind us what an active place our solar system is. When I observe the Moon through my telescope, I literally get weak in the knees.”

Like many of us, Rachel said when she was young she dreamed of one day flying in space. “My life ended up taking me down a different path, and for a long time I thought there was no way I’d be able to participate in the space program,” she said. “Connecting with a great community of space enthusiasts online and finding a way to use my art to express my passion for space has helped me realize dreams I’d almost given up on. I’m so thankful for both the space “geek” community and craft community supporting my work and the work of so many incredibly talented Space Tweep artists.”

The grand prize team received a $500 shopping spree on Etsy and an all-expense-paid trip with a guest to attend the next shuttle launch at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Shuttle Endeavour and its crew are targeted to lift off on April 19. The winning two dimensional art piece (and pictures of the others) may be flown aboard the flight, or perhaps STS-135.

The winner of each category received a $250 shopping spree on Etsy and a gift package of NASA and Etsy merchandise.

Congrats on to the winners and hats off to NASA and Etsy for recognizing we all have our own unique way of expressing our spaciness!