Gazing Upwards


November 3rd, 2023

Major: Engineering with Industrial Design

Genre/Medium: Wood, Clay, Ceramic Glazes, Ceramic Lusters, Gouache Paint

About the work: This work is inspired by the long history of the human desire to look at the stars and try to capture and represent the beauty and wonder above as we now look to Psyche. It symbolizes the very human urge to gaze upwards and dream. This Orrery is a nod to a popular visual and tactile representation of planetary orbits and rotation. Made from Wood, Clay, Ceramic Glazes, Ceramic Lusters, and Copper, this work is intended to invoke the nostalgia of a historical Orrery while simultaneously centering the Psyche mission. Features include wheel-thrown hollow clay representations of the Sun, Earth, Mars, Psyche, and Jupiter, which are layered in a series of high-fire glazes and lusters, forming a not-to-scale representation of planetary objects and asteroids. These representations are mounted on a lathe-turned wooden base, held up by welded copper tubing. The sun is coated in a sunflower dark yellow matte high-fire glaze. The Earth is glazed with both Seaweed and Blue Rutile as well as a pearlescent luster over the mottled blue-green swirls, giving it a shine. Mars is coated in a deep firebrick glaze and Jupiter in Blue Rutile and Ancient Jasper. The model of the Psyche asteroid is coated in Ancient Jasper and topped with a gold luster to give it a metallic shine. Each celestial object is held up by a copper tube bent at 90 degrees and supported by a second welded rod parallel to the base of the first; these rods are then attached via a 3D printing collar. This work has dimensions of 17 in height, 10″ in width, and 12″ in height, the work weighs 3.4 pounds. This work allows for the rotation of the planets in a loose representation of their orbits via 3D-printed bearings attached to the copper tubing. The wooden base is stained with natural dyes and Gouache paint to achieve a deep, warm color. This lathe-turned wooden base features a mix of convex and concave curves and is attached to a base plate for stability. This work was made to capture the beauty of the celestial bodies above while also recognizing ourselves as part of a long history of dreamers who have reached for the stars. By centering Psyche and working to pay tribute to all who have worked to forward this mission, which will inspire the next generation of dreamers. This work would not have been possible without the help, knowledge, and support of Dyllan Nguyen, Dr. Jonathan D. Stolk, Genevieve Mancuso-Jackson, Jordan Spring, the staff of the Babson Ceramic Studio, and the Psyche Inspired team.

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Date Added: 11-03-2023

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