Denver artist designs NASA patch for Rodent Research IV mission

nasa_patch_7color_stickerHere at The Chicago Embroidery Company, we’ve written about space patches before, and really enjoyed the following article by  Tamara Chung of the Denver Post:

When Denver resident Doug Kacena was a freshman at the University of Colorado Boulder in 1994, his older sister, Melissa, asked for a favor.

“I needed a whole bunch of hands to take measurements of bacteria every two hours,” recalls Melissa Kacena, who was working on her master’s degree at the same school.

The bacteria project wound up on Space Station Mir and Kacena went on to get her Ph.D. in aerospace engineering at CU Boulder and did post-doctoral work at Yale University. The younger Kacena? He dropped out of the molecular cellular developmental biology program to major in art. He’s now a ground-breaking abstract artist who recently challenged traditional artists to give him paintings so he could paint over them.

More than 20 years later, Melissa Kacena asked her brother for another favor.

The siblings reunited on a project that is headed for space on Saturday. Melissa Kacena is currently in Cape Canaveral, Fla., prepping 40 mice for a trip to the International Space Station. They’ll be studied as part of a bone recovery experiment. She tapped her brother to design the official patch for the team’s space mission, the Rodent Research IV.

“It was an incredible honor to be asked to do it,” said Doug Kacena. “I did it before anyone had a chance to rethink it.”

Embroidered patches with personal stories have been a part of NASA’s history since 1965. But most patches don’t make it into the public eye — or even NASA space stores — and no one seems to know how many patches exist.nasa-apollo

“I would estimate about 200 to 250 total, and that doesn’t take into account the patches designed by the customers (military, commercial and NASA) that rode on those launches,” said Robert Pearlman, editor at collectSPACE, which is full of key moments in space history.

The space agency lets mission participants design their own patches for team-bonding purposes, according to Bill Barry, NASA’s chief historian. But NASA only keeps track of patches from official trips, which include all manned missions, shuttle launches and select others — or about 160 since the first patch was used in 1965. NASA makes the taxpayer-funded designs available to the public, so anyone can create one. NASA prefers to stick to its blue and white logo.

“NASA’s view is that multiple images dilute the brand,” Barry said. “We use the NASA logo for all communication purposes.”

But Barry understands the affinity for space mission patches.

“When I was a kid back in the ’60s, I had a complete collection of all the Apollo mission patches,” Barry said. “And I was crushed when I learned as an adult that they weren’t real. …The crew-sized ones were bigger.”

The custom began in 1965 with the Gemini 5. Astronauts Gordon Cooper and Charles Conrad were preparing for an eight-day orbit around Earth and wanted “a Conestoga wagon and stenciled on the side, ‘8 Days or Bust’,” said Barry. “Both of those guys were fun-loving characters. Let’s put it that way.”NASA's first official patch to commemorate a trip to space, the Gemini 5.

NASA didn’t want to risk criticism if the mission was shorter or longer than eight days. They approved the patch, but not the wording. That was covered up by a piece of white cloth. And from then on, space mission patches became a thing — as long as NASA gave its approval.

But unofficial patches don’t have to follow any guidelines since they are not used for official NASA communication, Barry said. There could be multiple patches for the same launch if multiple parties are involved.nasa-8-days

Private companies like SpaceX and United Launch Alliance have made their own mission patches. spacex_f1_001_first_flight_splOther government agencies that have launched satellites also have created patches, including the elusive U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. Theories abound as to what the secretive satellites were intended for, with mystery patches to boot. One patch for the NROL-35 mission has a purple-haired wizard holding a trident and ball of fire. Another, for a 2011 launch, shows a bird engulfed in flames with an American flag in the background and Latin words that translate to “Better the devil you know,” according to the Smithsonian.

One popular patch was worn by the crew that launched the Spirit and Opportunity Mars rovers in 2003. Entertainment company Warner Bros. worked with the Air Force to create patches for each rover, one featured Marvin The Martian, the other Daffy Duck as Duck Dodgers.

Even astronaut classes have their own patches, like the astronaut class of 1990. The 13th class played on the unlucky number by picking a black cat and calling themselves, the Hairballs.

Research teams like Rodent Research IV have jumped at the chance to design their own patches.

That brings us back to Melissa Kacena, now a professor of orthopaedic surgery at Indiana University School of Medicine. She’s been working with her students for more than three years on a method that helps bone fractures heal while a person is “weightless,” via crutches or recuperating in bed. That’s hard to test with mice, who don’t like to stay still even when asked nicely, she said.

Bone fractures actually heal better with exercise, which increases bone strength. But walking on a fracture doesn’t help the bone-healing process if a metal or hardware implant is involved.

“If all your body weight goes into the implant, it will eventually fail. You need the bone to start growing before the implant fails,” she said.nasa-russ

With support from the U.S. Department of Defense, the project becomes the fourth to send mice into space. Astronauts at the space station will help with the research before sending everything back to Earth after four weeks.

“We’re going to learn so much about the bone-healing process,” she said, important because “there’s a really good chance that astronauts will get a fracture if they go to Mars.”

“Astronauts lose about 1 to 3 percent of bone density each month in space,” she said. “A person with osteoporosis loses 1 percent a year. … If you lose (bone mass) going to Mars, there’s an increased risk of fractures. We need to know how to heal.”

After asking her team to come up with patch designs, they turned to her brother, Doug, who created a fairly straightforward design. The Rodent Research IV patch shows a nasa_patch_7color_stickersilhouette of a mouse, its tail tucked underneath a strand of DNA. A galaxy of stars is in the background while the SpaceX Dragon capsule floats near the patch’s edge.

The embroidered patch is scheduled to hitch a ride Saturday on the SpaceX Dragon during its CRS-10 cargo resupply mission to the ISS, a trip originally set for last summer.

Before the group packed up its gear and headed to Florida, Melissa Kacena talked to her team.

“I told them that not everyone has these kinds of opportunities to work with NASA,” she said. “I reminded them when I was a grad student, working with NASA really inspired me and opened doors. …Hopefully they will solve the problems of tomorrow.”

Embroidered Patches Are Always In Fashion

Our friends at Gucci have discovered something we’ve always known at The Chicago Embroidery Company, embroidered patches are a unique, customizable fashion accessory.

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http://www.instyle.com/news/gucci-diy-project-dionysus-purse

Thanks to Andrea Cheung at InStyle:

Gucci’s ready-to-wear is drool-worthy, for sure, but it’s the accessories that have turned us from sane, functioning adults to crazy bag (and loafer) ladies. Of course, we wouldn’t expect anything less from Alessandro Michele, the current Gucci creative director and former head accessories designer. When he presented his debut fall 2015 collection, he did so with a whole new range of accessories, including an introduction to the soon-to-be (if not already) classic Dionysus handbag. This masterpiece serves as a time warp between the past and the future, capturing the brand’s heritage with the iconic double-G “Supreme” monogram, but with a modern touch (an indicator of Gucci’s new direction with Michele at the helm) through hand-painted florals and whimsical embroidered patches.

Boxy in shape with a slim build, complete with a double tiger head-ended horseshoe closure (a reference to the Greek god Dionysus, btw, who transformed into a tiger to carry a nymph across the river), the Dionysus has been reinvented multiple times over since its debut.purse patches

Now, Michele has taken it one step further with the launch of a DIY service, in which die-hard Gucci fans (cough, us) can personalize their Dionysus purses (only large and medium) with a buffet of embroidered patches (including but not limited to: butterflies, bees, dragonflies, snakes, and peonies), trims, hardware, and monogrammed initials (with the option to bling them out with Swarovski crystals). It falls right in line with Michele’s design philosophy, which is “that the way you dress is how you feel, and that men and women should feel authentic and free in the expression of themselves.”
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With endless combos, placements, and possibilities, it’d be hard not to express yourself. The do-it-yourself attitude is also a nod to punk, a sub-culture that stems from freedom of expression. As of now, the service is only available at the brand’s flagship store in Milan on Via Montenapoleone, but it will be rolled out to major cities around the world (and fingers crossed, hopefully online). Eventually, you’ll also be able to happily customize Gucci’s Ace sneakers, the loafer slippers, and ready-to-wear pieces for men and women.

Ugh, we can’t wait. If you happen to be in Milan (lucky!), stop by the Gucci flagship store to personalize your Dionysus purse. And if you’re not, well, the least we can offer you is a scroll through some major Gucci-laden eye candy: the Dionysus purse customized in infinite ways.
— Create your own fashion statement for your clothing or accessory line with custom embroidered patches from The Chicago Embroidery Company.  While we don’t sell individual patches, you can design and we’ll produce quantities of your own emblem for less than you think. Submit your image to http://www.c-emblem.com , or contact us at sales@c-emblem.com or call 312/644-4232.

The Growth of Embroidered Patches

The key element of “gimme caps,”( as in “Gimme one of them caps,” as the farmersAG hat 222009489397_1 would ask their seed or equipment dealer for free promotional headwear), agriculture and related industries have long relied on embroidered patches to advertise their products and services.

Most popular are the corn and other seed producing companies, who have been AG vintage-dekalb-seed-corn-advertising-patch-farmer-cap-trucker-style-1stopretroshop-k53079-4emblazoning hats, jackets and other items with beautifully embroidered artistry for years. Primarily corn (for which there are many hybrid varieties), but also other agricultural producers realize the inherent promotional value of an embroidered patch in raising and maintaining company visibility.ag 5203-3_5-2T

Of all the agricultural equipment manufacturers, John Deere has AG john Deere $T2eC16VHJHoE9n3Ke5TSBRYK-mGUr!~~60_35probably grown the highest profile in the ag patch community, but many other companies take advantage of embroidered patches to create visibility for their products.ag s-l225

State agricultural inspectors can be readily AG department-of-agriculture-embroidered-patchAg US_Forest_Service_CAidentified by embroidered patches on the shoulders and pockets of their uniform shirts. Even the U.S. Forest Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, can be counted as part of the ag patch universe.AG WISH,LA,LOUISIANA%20DEPARTMENT%20OF%20AGRICULTURE%20AND%20FORESTRY%201

You don’t have to be a farmer to like embroidered patches.AG jacket You can outfit any group with a custom stitched emblem from The Chicago Embroidery Company. Contact us for a free quote by submitting your design; visit www.c-emblem.com, sales@c-emblem.com or call 312/644-4232.

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Spring [Training] Is In The Air… With Embroidered Patches

Nothing says spring is coming more than Major League Baseball’s spring training in spring_training_fl_sample_d082515Florida and Arizona.  The Grapefruit League and Cactus Leaguespring_training_AZtpu_sample_d082515 are in full swing, spring training games complete with embroidered patches.
There’s even an official logo patch for each of the spring training leagues in the Sunshine State and the Grand Canyon state.

Baseball has a long and colorful springtrainingpatchDETROIThistory that can be traced through embroidered patches and spring training plays a special part. Individual teams create their own spring training patches, based on location or even venue.  Embroidered patches have been created to commemorate a team’s final season at a spring
training facility and are valued by major league collectors.  In 2015, the Arizona Diamondbacks wore a black KAYLA patch during some spring training spring philsgames in memory of Kayla Mueller, Spring Kaylathe young Arizona woman who died in captivity in Syria.  That same year, the Philadelphia Phillies wore a spring training patch marking the centennial of Clearwater, Florida, their spring home.

The original idea for have a baseball pre-season was the brainchild of Chicago White Stockings (today’s Chicago Cubs) team President Albert Spalding and Cap Anson. In 1886, the White Stockings traveled to Hot Springs, Ark. to prepare for the upcoming baseball season. Practicing at the Hot Springs Baseball Grounds, the White Stockings had a successful season; otspring6her teams noticed and spring7began holding spring training in Hot Springs, including the Cleveland Spiders, Detroit Tigers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, Brooklyn Dodgers and Boston Red Sox. The Philadelphia Phillies were the first of the current major-league teams to train in Florida in 1889; spring training in the Sunshine State began in earnest in 1913 with several teams.

SpringcactusleagueBill Veeck purchased the Cleveland Indians in 1946 and decided to buck tradition and train the team in Tucson, Arizona; he also convinced the New York Giants to give Phoenix a try, creating the Cactus League. Florida and Arizona now host all Major League Baseball teams for spring training,

Alberto Rosario

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Alberto Rosario wears a spring training patch.

but over the years, cities in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico have hosted, as have locales in California and other states.

Create your own baseball themed patch with The Chicago Embroidery Company.  Check out our new website, www.c-emblem.com for a quote, email sales@c-emblem.com or call us at 312-664-4232 and we’d be happy to help with a design to produce a dynamic embroidered patch for your team this spring.

Wintertime Is A Great Time For Embroidered Patches

usarmy-unitpatch-06When the thermometer drops, interest in embroidered patches may not exactly rise, but it certainly doesn’t plunge like the frigid temperature readings.Fashion Canada

Winter brings a whole new outlet for patches, including a wide variety of thread-based images displayed on warm down-filled parkas, ski jackets and even hats and other accessories. Many winter coat manufacturers are 20150122_135413incorporating embroidered emblems into the design of their outdoor winter wear. Walk down the street of any cold-weather major city these days and fashiob gift-guide-lifestyle-5you’re apt to see people wearing popular Canada Goose Arctic Program parkas. These highly functional and fashionably trendy winter coats feature a distinctive embroidered patch on the shoulder. Such other leading designers as Abercrombie & Fitch, Ralph Lauren and Moncler include patches on various models of their winter coats.Fashion Canada-Goose-Citadel-Parka-for-Men-in-Coffee

Winter sports are popular markets for patches. Whether it’s members of the Snowflake Clubs ( local skiing organizations aimed primarily at helping youngsters learn to ski) wearing a patch on shoulder of their coats to help identify members of the club on the fashion S1706_wintersurvivalslopes, or figure skaters proclaiming their allegiance to the United States Figure Skating Association, or a wide variety of young Mite, PeeWee, Squirt, Bantam and other junior ice hockey win eatures20111010-NHL-Kids-Hockey-Practice-CP-02014596-Sanford-Myers-676x450players scrambling across the rink chasing a puck, vibrant embroidered emblems are a key part of their uniforms, equipment bags and winter wear.

Embroidered patches are always popular with the scouting movementwinter-camp and there’s special uniform patches for winter snow camping below 32 degrees freezing or one awarded to the intrepid youngsters who have slept outside in sub-zero temperatures.

Ski resorts are popular outlets for embroidered patches and many enthusiastic participants of the Alpine and Nordic Ski patchesbranches of the sport collect patches from all of the snowy mountains they have visited. The Chicago Embroidery Company has created many thousands of patches for the skiing industry. Even the branches of the U.S. military

The addition of a rocker patch to the unit insignia pleased members of the US Army's 10th Mountain Division.

have winter- themed patches signifying troops who are members of the rugged Arctic Ranger battalions or the storied 10th Mountain Division.

While it may be cold outside, people still have a warm spot in their hearts for winter patches. Learn more about patches by visiting the Chicago Embroidery Company at www.c-emblem.com , email us at sales@c-emblem.com or call 312/664-4232.

Anchors Aweigh With U.S. Navy Embroidered Patches

Different branches of the U.S. Navy often have their own patches.

Different branches of the U.S. Navy often have their own patches.

The sailors and officers of the United States Navy share a special bond that can only be created by a tight knit group that spends months alone together on a ship during naval deployment. Many ships, task forces, carrier battle groups and even naval bases show their pride and unity with specially designed embroidered patches.

Some of these patches are part of the official Navy uniform, while many others are designed and worn on an informal basis on hats, jackets, bags and other gear.  Train militarybest_2271_1458371347 There are many truly creative images featuring some beautifully intricate designs and the limited production runs make these patches valuable items for the patch collecting community. Sailors often trade patches among themselves and with others interested in embroidered artwork and U.S. Navy history.

Other naval patches feature logos for a particular service branch of the Navy,untitled (14) for instance the Seals or submarine service. Naval aviation has many different embroidered patches for individual types of aircraft, squadrons and naval air stations.

Commemoration of a sailor’s first crossing of the Equator  and thus achieving status as a “shellback” often calls for a patch.  A rarer status is the Golden Shellback, a person who

Crossing the Equator at the International Dateline qualifies a sailor as a Golden Shellback

Crossing the Equator at the International Dateline qualifies a sailor as a Golden Shellback

has cross the Equator at the 180 degree meridian, the International Date line, or Royal Diamond Shellback, crossing at the prime meridian , 0 degrees longitude.  When a ship must cross the Equator reasonably close to 0 or 180 degrees, typically the captain will plot a course so the crew can achieve this special status.embroidered-patch-06

The Chicago Embroidery Company has manufactured millions of patches for the U.S. military and can make custom patches for all sorts of groups, teams and companies. For more information on what we can do for your organization, contact us at sales@c-emblem.com , visit www.c-emblem.com or call 312-664-4232.

Navy

Keep On Track With Railroad Embroidered Patches

With a long, rich heritage of railroads in this country, the United States has had many legendary rail companies with names that are part of American history — Union Pacific, Santa Fe, Burlington Northern, Rio Grande, Great Northern, and the many regional lines including Illinois Central and the B&O. ccbfacd6-efd7-4d8a-bd55-fbe1711b6648The Chicago Embroidery Company made patches for these railroads, and many others, over the past 60 or more years.

Rail companies used embroidered patches to identify railroad employees to passengers and the public. Railroad patches include many for the various carriers that served regions of the country, and even ones for specific rail routes and destinations.

Railroads also use patches to show specialization and the roles of their various employees.fvUG-v8A

The easily recognizable engineer’s cap features a prominently displayed embroidered patch. Most railroad employees wear a uniform or coat with a shoulder patch or lapel patch. Railroad police embroidered patches are prominent among patch collectors favorites.

140From their peak until the advent of inexpensive commercial air travel in the post-WWII years, railroads were the fastest way to travel, quickest way to ship freight. Many carriers CNW%20RAILWAY%20%20-%20%20%2010584-1operating during the heyday of rail travel in the United States simply no longer exist, having been sold, merged or bankrupt. Embroidered patches for these rail carriers are popular collector’s items among rail buffs and enthusiasts.

But you don’t have to be a railroad to have custom embroidered emblems; learn more about creating a unique patch for your group or organization, visit the Chicago Embroidery Company at www.c-emblem.com , email us at sales@c-emblem.com or call 312/664-4232.misc-p-rrxr