One Small Stitch for Man: The Best and Worst of the Etsy/NASA Crafts Contest

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The space shuttle Discovery touched down for the last time at the beginning of March, ending the thirty-year career of a legendary space craft. Last fall, NASA announced that they would be partnering with a surprisingly low-tech ally, the Brooklyn-based crafts website Etsy, to honor the end of the shuttle missions with an alternate form of space craft, a contest to determine the best handmade item that references stars, planets astronauts, satellites or really anything in the night sky.

Last month, the finalists were chosen by the Etsy community, and tonight their crafts will be judged by a distinguished panel of science journalists, designers, teachers, bloggers and one honest-to-god astronaut to determine the most quality space craft. The grand prize is a trip to the final space shuttle launch in Florida, and the possibility that the craft will be flown into space.

The contest included categories for both two and three dimensional designs, including paintings, photographs, jewelry, clothing, sculpture and headgear. The results were as you might expect: highbrow, lowbrow, whimsical, and regretsy. Let's take a look at some of the best and worst of the finalists.

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Michelle Legro is an associate editor at Lapham's Quarterly and the web editor of laphamsquarterly.org. Her writing has appeared online at The Second Pass, The Rumpus, and The New Yorker Book Bench.

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