SPACE / 宇宙

Scanning the mysteries of the heavens (Ode to Mina Fleming)

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Original gold (24-carat gold leaf Cyanotype, Handmade Paper
Ø 385 mm diameter x 30 mm frame dept, by artist Chloe McCarrick


This artwork was inspired by Scottish stargazer and Harvard Computer Williamina Fleming. During her career, Fleming pioneered in the classification of stellar spectra, cataloguing over 10,000 stars and other astronomical phenomena including her discovery of the Horsehead Nebula in 1888.


Scanning The Mysteries Of The Heavens (Ode To Mina Fleming) was created by constructing a hand-cut collage using female photographic portraiture, photograms from antique glass slides of interstellar clouds, a horsehead nebula and hand-printed surface textures of lunar craters.

After coating the handmade paper with light-sensitive chemistry, it is left to dry in a dark room. The large scale negative is contact printed onto the paper by exposure to daylight (UV rays). The print is then processed by thoroughly washing in water to remove any unexposed solution. It can then be hung to dry, developing to full density Prussian blue after 24 hours. Once the image is fixed, the piece is hand finished with 24-carat gold leaf.