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.”

Playful [Embroidered] Patches Created by Friends

Here at The Chicago Embroidery Company, we’re excited that the fashion patch craze shows no signs of abating, as evidenced by this recent Huffington Post piece , a profile of a Swedish band sporting patches on their denim and an Aimee Farrell story from last month’s NY Times Style Magazine:

Fashion 1  “Patches have always been symbols of identity,” says the illustrator Christabel MacGreevy. “They’re a way of marking allegiance and signing up to something, whether it’s your school, the band you like or a 1970s motorcycle gang.” MacGreevy, 25, is herself outfitted in patches on a recent morning in London: her black jeans are worn with a baseball vest that has the word ‘chic’ stitched onto the front. She is discussing the ethos behind Itchy Scratchy Patchy, the playful line of decorative patches — and now clothing — that she co-founded with her lifelong friend, the British model Edie Campbell, a year ago. Decorated with brightly stitched marigolds, toadstools, centipedes and sumo wrestlers, her leather biker jacket, which is nonchalantly slung over the back of a chair, is a vivid scrapbook of the brand’s embroidered iron-ons, which have become popular with Courtney Love and Gigi Hadid.

For today, the elegant kitchen belonging to Campbell’s mother, the fashion stylist turned architect Sophie Hicks, doubles as the Itchy Scratchy HQ. The minimal space’s white walls embroidered-patches-19-1200x800serve as a counterpoint to the irreverent aesthetic of the brand — which began on a whim, and without outside investment, as an antidote to the samey, normcore looks that have become so dominant. The marble-topped kitchen table is littered with laptops, phones and safety pins, all the accoutrements of their self-described cottage industry. Even Campbell’s nearby West London apartment has become a makeshift storage unit for the pair’s latest project: An 85-piece clothing collection of vintage Levi’s denim and Sunspel T-shirts, all lovingly embroidered, patched and painted in their inimitable decorative style, which goes on sale this weekend at London’s Dover Street Market. It’s the first time the pair have ever produced a capsule of clothes bearing their own iron-on designs — as a way to show how Itchy Scratchy patches can be worn and styled.

MacGreevy and Campbell first met as children at St Paul’s School in Barnes — and whether they’re scaling fashionAmountains of fabric at recycling plants in search of the perfect Levi’s jean jacket or touring the meticulous T-shirt production line at Sunspel’s factory in the north of England, a youthful energy pervades everything they do. For the last two months, they have been embellishing the pieces they hand-sourced — including Levi’s jeans from the 1980s and 1990s, denim jackets and plenty of reworked monochrome Sunspel tees. Picking the pieces, Campbell says, was simple: “If we wouldn’t wear it ourselves, it doesn’t get made.” She continues: “We’ve both studied the visual arts, so we’re decisive and confident about what we like. We know what works, even if we don’t know why. It’s not like we’re trying to push the future of fashion forward — this is about having fun.”

Campbell’s experience inside the industry (she was first discovered by the photographer Mario Testino a decade ago) allows her an innate understanding of fashion that comes in handy when shooting the collections, though she’s the first to admit that styling clothes is very different from designingfashion monki-denim-aw16-8 and producing them. “There’s no database, it’s a case of calling everyone you know and saying ‘help!’” says Campbell. She credits the British designer Henry Holland with helping to make Itchy Scratchy happen. “He let us sit in on a production meeting at his factory where we produced our first patches. We may never have done it without him.”

This week, between taking the Eurostar to Paris, where she opened and closed Chanel’s fall couture show, Campbell could be found in MacGreevy’s Camberwell studio sorting out logistics and stitching on labels (every piece is sewn with its own edition number, she says, proudly). Luckily, and somewhat unusually in fashion, they’re both early risers: “If I haven’t had a text from Edie by 7 a.m., it feels weird,” jokes MacGreevy, the originator of the brand’s trademark cartoony figures, who studied Fine Art at Central Saint Martins. At times of stress, MacGreevy often finds herself furiously pinning and cutting things out. Campbell takes a different tack, seeking solace in more surprising quarters: Excel spreadsheets. “I love them!” she says, her voice raising an octave. “When everything starts getting out of control, I find it soothing.”  Itchy Scratchy Patchy, $85-$325, launches at Dover Street Market July 9, doverstreetmarket.com
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But don’t fret fashionistas, you can create a contemporary look for your line for much less than you might imagine.  The Chicago Embroidery Company sews custom embroidered emblems, based on your design. Send image for free quote.  sales@c-emblem.com, http://www.c-emblem.com or call 312/664-4232.  NOTE: Individual patches are not sold, the company manufactures emblems in quantity.

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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Celebs Inspire Embroidered Fashion Patch Trend

Today we learn more about embroidered patches as a fashion accessory ,

thanks to Rachel Torgerson at US Magazine:

Embroidered patches are the latest detail to take the fashion world by storm, invading the closets of celebs everywhere.

From Margot Robbie’s out there embellished boyfriend Zoe Karssen jeans to Gigi Hadid’s DIY-inspired weekender bag, we’re seeing this trend infiltrate every degree of celeb street style outfit.

Emmy Rossum played up her Topshop trench with a red, patch-decorated crossbody bag on March 21 in L.A. Whereas Demi Lovato’s Zadig & Voltaire Tackl Army Overshirt did the opposite, and made her two-piece outfit a little more casual, on March 22.

The decals on Rihanna’s leather jacket added a pop of color to her otherwise all black outfit on March 26 in NYC. By contrast, Keke Palmer’s denim number by Levi’s toned down the bold red look of her bright Alessandra de Tomaso sheath at the 2016 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards.

The best part about this trend? It’s a cinch to update pieces you already own in no time flat. Just place an embroidered design (like the options from 3×1.us) on a pair of jeans, cover with a thin towel and press a hot iron over the area for 30 seconds — and you’re in on the trend too.

Would you wear the patch trend?
patches jacket guy
At The Chicago Embroidery Company, we’ll make dynamic customized patches for you and your group.  Visit www.c-emblem.com to submit your design for a free quote, or call us at 312/644-4232.

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.

Show Your Ride With Embroidered Patch

Idolized in American music, movies and television programs, the USA’s love affair with the automobile carchevrolet-parts-2Tand the open road is also well represented in embroidered patches. All of the major car companies,cardodge both domestic and foreign, can be found in embroidered artistry.

Part of the reason for this is the companies logos are some of the most iconic symbols on the planet. Just the outline of the “bowtie” design instantly conveys Chevrolet. Volkswagen’s V over W logo iscarBMW-1 immediately recognized around the world as the symbol of the German-owned car manufacturer, as is the Ferrari black stallion and BMW “propeller” circular design. carferrariEach car company has a medallion type logo for its individual brands. Usually a simple design, it is easily transferred to a distinctive embroidered patch.

And it’s not just brands that are depicted in thread and stitching. Individual carroadrunnercar models, especially the classic road cars of the 1950s and 1960s, can often be found on an embroidered emblem. Chevrolet’s time honored classic Corvette, the legendary Plymouth Roadrunner,carmustang-blue-2T Ford’s Mustang and Shelby Cobra are among the many models of automobile with their own distinctive logo, separate from the brand.

Even automobile service departments get into the patch game, with embroidered emblems adorning the shoulders, shirtsleeves and pockets of car technicians around the world.

Show your four-wheel loyalty with custom designed patches from The Chicago Embroidery Company. While there are usually hefty licensing fees

for specific brands, we can make your car rally club or auto racing team look sharp with distinctive, individualized embroidered emblems, ranging from two inches up to two feet across. Send us your design for a free quote or contact us at sales@c-emblem.com, 312/664-4232, or www.c-emblem.com

Look Sharp With Embroidered Blazer Crests

A different type of embroidery is the blazer crest. Usually worn on the left front pocket of a dark solid colored suit coat

Blazer-Sigma-Chi-Crest-2T

The blazer crest of Sigma Chi, the national collegiate fraternity.

(often with metal buttons), a crest is often associated with a school, club, military unit or other fraternal organizations. Blazer crests are especially popular in the countries of the United Kingdom — England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales– and nations of the British Commonwealth blazer custom-made-blazer-bullion-badgesuch as Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Another frequent user of crests are yacht clubs and nautical societies.blazer 55e1679c-eae1-b8c2

 

 

One of the most distinguishing features of a crest is the artistic and often extensive use of metallic threads to create a striking, vibrant image. These are actually very fine gold or silver colored wires that reflect light and give the crest a full, rich blazer the-royal-irish-regiment-blazer-badgesappearance. In addition to colored cotton or polyester threads, creative use of silk is also a fashionable component of a blazer crest. The image is usually sewn on a blazer naval squadron825_rcn_blazer_crestfelt backing and can be attached to blazers not only by stitching but also by tiny magnets imbedded in the material and corresponding pocket. This permits easy removal for cleaning and interchangeable crest images.

Many blazer crests are hand-made by expert craftsmen, usually of Indian or Pakistani descent. These emblems are labor blazer Club_Burgee_Blazer_crest__14425_1309020825_1280_1280intensive to produce, and with more costly wire threading and woolen felts, crests are more expensive than traditional embroidered patches.

However, The Chicago Embroidery Company has made some very sharp looking crest-style patches, blazer swift-72-72-sqn-raf-blazer-badgeusing a variety of colors and metallic thread, and they can give your group, team or other organization a professional appearance for a fraction of a traditional crest emblem. Contact us at sales@c-emblem.com , call 312/644-4232 or visit us on the web at http://www.c-emblem.com.

NOTE: Our friends at Wikipedia tell us that the term “crest,” when correctly used,blazer lauren-by-ralph-lauren-navy-blazer-with-crest-detail-product-4-13284450-300598116_large_flex refers only to a single element of a heraldic achievement, but in the everyday world, crest is commonly used to describe the entire image. “Coat of arms” and “shield” are also frequently, but incorrectly, used to portray these images.