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Ancient Technology Adorns 'Apollo' Artwork

Art and science frequently intertwine. My artwork primarily features enameling – fusing glass and metal. This technology goes back to the earliest civilizations. Around 1,300 B.C., artists inlayed glass onto gold to create jewelry. I imagine one of the first applications was for a man to stand out against a crowded field of suitors.

 thumbnail_Profile-Houston-Llew.jpgWhile enameling began as a decorative indicator of social status, its durability is what makes it so endeared to engineers. In the Middle Ages, it expanded to supply cultures with everyday objects that timelessly endured. Modern advances in technology and application make enamel coating the go-to method to protect the core structure of our newest machinery. That colorful coating on your stove isn’t paint, it’s glass that was fused to metal.
 
When considering evolutions born through combining scientific and artistic inspiration, I am left pondering: What new discoveries can we have by blending these two education fields?
 
This year, as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of NASA’s first moon landing, I think about the teamwork and innovations required for such an endeavor. This team of big dreamers, creative thinkers, engineers, technicians, doctors, mathematicians and so on came together for one noble cause: to go to the moon.
 
Dig a little deeper into the motive and ask, “Why set that target?” The answer is best provided by President John F. Kennedy, who famously said, “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”
 
All of Earth was watching and proud of this accomplishment. Together, we Americans, won her heart.
 
Today, the world still reaps benefits from our noble goal. We have home insulation, computer chips, CAT scans, water filtration, solar panels, heart monitors – all discovered thanks to Apollo programs.

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To honor all participants in the NASA program, I created my 237th Spiritile design: “Apollo.” The piece, featuring an astronaut and the American flag on the moon, has NASA’s motto and mission statement inscribed around the sides in timeless enamel: “Pioneer the future for the benefit of all.”  
 
Landing on the moon wouldn’t be possible without solid STEM educations. To make new feats of ingenuity possible, it’s essential to support high-quality education for the next generation.
 
NMSI’s mission to advance education for all American youth aligns with that dream. I’m particularly moved by the nonprofit’s Military Families Mission – an underserved and overlooked population that needs our attention and support. Combined with NMSI’s dedication to administrative transparency, I decided to donate all proceeds from my “Apollo” Spiritile to NMSI. The artwork is available to purchase through Sept. 2.
 
I sincerely thank NMSI for allowing me to show the opportunities that lie ahead for art and science when we work together.
 
Houston Llew is an Atlanta-based enamel artist who creates work to inspire and uplift.