Framed Memorabilia - Millfield School Space Project
In 2011, Millfield School had an amazing coup given to them by the American Space Agency NASA by having one of their Shuttle Astronauts, in the very last flight of any Shuttle, take up with them one of the School's tie and tie pin, and actually photograph the pin floating in space! After the Shuttle's safe return to earth, all six of the astronauts visited the school for a day, spending the time chatting to the pupils and staff and inspiring the next generation. They presented the school with the returning tie and tie pin, together with a certificate and photograph signed by them all in June 2011.
Early in 2012 I was approached by the school to find some interesting way of presenting this for posterity. A sketch with basic ideas had been sketched out (literally on the back of an envelope!) and after I had finally been restrained enough through excitement of actually being able to touch something that had actually been floating in space, I sat down and thought up some ideas of my own.
Because it had been such an amazing coup for a local school I wanted to draw attention to the fact that they had been visited by the very last Shuttle crew ever, so I asked the school to send me some extra photos of the event to include in the finished display. I also reasoned that the event was pretty well unbeatable, so I felt that to go slightly 'over-the-top' in my ideas was probably in order!
Over the next couple of weeks I mocked up a couple of ideas. I wanted to show the tiny pin off to its best and mounted it in concentric ovals of black core board to give the impression of it floating in a black hole. The tie I stitched onto black board to also try to show that it too had been into space. I also re-mastered the NASA logo using both free-hand and my computerised mountcutter to be able to show it off to stunning effect in the centre top. The certificate and signed photo was included, as were 3 photos of the astronaut's visit together with again the help of my mountcutter which wrote an explanation of the visit on the bottom.
The colours chosen were the colours of the school - blue for the main colour (which also suited the space theme) and red and green picked out as double mounts. The silver stars just HAD to be tried, totally over-the-top, but as I said, if you can't for this job, then when could you? I had considered using the shape of the Space Shuttle itself as it is so iconic, but finally decided against it - enough was enough!!
It was all framed up in a plain black frame with silver edges that just picked out a little sparkle and I had to say goodbye as it was whisked off to its new home.
Although I had kept the school up to date with what I was doing, and John from the Old Millfieldian Society had been over to give it the final OK, I was quite nervous as to how they would view the final piece. However, they were thrilled and even sent a box of chocolates - gratefully received - as a thankyou! The card read;
"Many thanks Ruth for all your hard work with our 'Space Picture'!! Its amazing!!
Best wishes, John and the OM Society"