Space Pennants: Bas Relief Badges

Posted on May 18, 2009


Some of these fantastic pieces are space pennants, which were created to travel aboard actual spacecraft as a sort of time capsule and proof of passage.  Both Soviet and American spacecraft carried such pieces, which were designed to survive planetary impact, even to the extent that they were carried in protective shells with explosive charges designed to slow their velocity.  Others among these pieces are medals, awarded by the respective governments. There may be a collectors edition piece in here too (I didn’t take notes on specific histories here–just gobbling up imagery across the web in search of inspiration).

Some of the pennants are fantastically crafted, with very convincing and beautiful bas reliefs.  Others are somewhat more crude, but I love them just as much.  There is something endearing about seeing the mark of the maker on a handcrafted medallion that was designed to refer to the highest ideals of our civilization as it was carried into outer space.

I’m starting to play around with some bronze clay, and I’m thinking that these pieces will make great source material for a few medallions.  It would take me a long long time to approach the bas relief skills displayed on some of these pieces, so I’ll start with a flat relief approach, modifying as I develop my technique to try and add a bit more layered depth.

One last note on metal clay, then the pics.  I just noticed as I write this post that Copper Clay is due to reach the market in just 4 days.  You can pre-order now.