We had over 20 people participate in the creative workshop breaks over the month and everyone seemed to enjoy them very much.
On Monday after work, we had an opening party and over fifty people showed up to have a look and a glass of excellent Chilean wine and some nibbles. It was great fun and everyone had a good look at my work-in-progress and their own work as well as the work of their colleagues. My portraits of the people who work at Gemini were of great interest, as were the photo essays on Padre Picetti and the sketches from my being up at the telescope overnight with the astronomer and special operations team.
The person who embraced the sho-do instruction most closely in a very ‘zen’ meditative fashion was David Krogsrud. He produced a piece of work which everyone coveted — ‘Outer Space’ is worthy of special mention. Djazi Ladjal’s and Blair Conn’s cyanotype prints were also strong and striking. Because they used small idiosyncratic items, the prints are very specific to them and their lives. Joanna Oslip did the same, with her collection of personal jewellery.
One of my favourite stories of the creative break workshops is that of Ma.Antonietta Garcia, who works in Outreach. She was shamed as a small child by a monstrous art teacher who would line up all the children’s work from ‘best’ to ‘worst’ and poor Tonia would always come in near the end of ‘worst’. This experience had marked her but she was able to overcome this emotional block to create some absolutely exquisite sho-do and sumi-e paintings, which were featured in the exhibition.
It has been a riotous month — from the first week’s honouring of Padre Picetti and everything he has done for Chilean astronomy education, the Mr. Toad’s wild ride of the Rosetta comet project’s successful landing of a spacecraft on a comet, the thrills of watching science being done in the moment overnight at the observatory and the quiet moments watching the sun go down over Coquimbo Bay, while sipping on a Pisco Sour. A truly rich look at the scientific community of Gemini Observatory.