21st Century Makeover for Historic Instrument

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   Posted by: Joy Alyssa Day in art, press release

August 20, 2009


21st Century Makeover for Historic Instrument

CARMEL VALLEY, CA -- Artists B.E. Johnson and Joy Alyssa Day announced today the completion of a major art installation at the College of San Mateo, San Mateo, California. After over a year of design, development and construction, Celestial Gears, a working model of our solar system was unveiled in the new Planetarium building, bringing new form to the historic scientific instrument, the Orrery.

The Celestial Gears Blown Glass Orrery

The Celestial Gears Blown Glass Orrery

Chief Sculptor Day describes the project. "An orrery is one of those old fashioned educational models with all of the planets on arms above a table. Usually seen in museums or libraries, no one seems to make them anymore -- except us! And we've redesigned it to use space age materials, new techniques, and have computerized it to bring it into the 21st Century." Designer Johnson, says "Anytime science, art and engineering come together, it's a beautiful thing."

And for this art sculpture, it is true. The Sun and planets are made from blown glass, and each sits on a thin support arm crafted from jet-fighter grade carbon fiber. These extend out from a carved solid cherry futuristic finned rocket ship. The table itself is ½" thick cast crystal in 12 pie sections, each etched with a corresponding zodiacal sign. All rest upon a base of hand-crafted solid cherry wood in the form of a mariner's compass rose. Each cabinet panel on the eight-sided base is carved with data on a planet and its physical properties in relation to Earth. The planets are rotated by motors within the cabinet in properly timed orbits, 50,000 times their natural speed.

The Zodiac Ice Plates with the Planets Gliding Along

The Zodiac Ice Plates with the Planets Gliding Along

"It's beautiful, but highly educational as well. Making it useful to the Astronomy department of the college was our primary goal. That it turned out so pretty is our icing," says Day.

B.E. Johnson and Joy Alyssa Day operate their mountaintop art studio in Carmel Valley, California. Celebrating over 30 years in the art business, their company, Spherical Magic Corporation (sphericalmagic.com), specializes in large scale corporate installation glass sculptures and murals, often with an Astronomy theme.

For commissions or further information, contact Joy Alyssa Day at 831-659-4950 or joy-bj@sphericalmagic.com.


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