Smithsonian's Women in Science uploads, pt. 3: DIY

Mar 12 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

My first post at Scientopia Guest Blogge was titled "Try Art," which was the phrase a physics TA wrote on one of my freshman-year quizzes. For my last post, I'm going to return to the phrase. If you have enjoyed the images from the Smithsonian's Women in Science uploads to Flickr Commons, here are some ways to enjoy them more--you can "try art."

First, the whys of these projects. They're fun, yes, but they also start conversations. When you take an image of a pioneering woman scientist into your everyday life--into Starbucks, into the post office, into the neighborhood park--you will attract comments and questions. Who was she? Wow, so women were scientists back then? Must have been tough, huh? What made you choose that woman? Once I was carrying a purse with images of a suffragette on it. The guy behind the counter said "Hey, 'Votes for Women,' like in 'Mary Poppins'!" I replied with a smile, "Yes, like in real life too!" I'm not sure he'd considered before that suffragettes weren't only colorful characters in a Broadway musical. But now he has.

I have made purses with some of the Smithsonian's Women in Science images, for example this one, featuring neuroanatomist Elizabeth Caroline Crosby (1888-1983):

Smithsonian Institution


These take a few days to make, but if you're game, here's my online tutorial for the process.

Something simpler? When I was at THATCamp So Cal, earlier this year, I ran a craft table--kind of an analog remix lab--and a lot of folks made pins using wooden craft shapes, paint and collage. The same shapes can be used to make magnets, or glued to spring clothespins for paper organization. Here's an example from the Smithsonian uploads, featuring Florence Bascom (1862-1945), geologist:

Smithsonian Institution


Those are two ideas--let your mind roam for more. With this colorful post, I conclude a very fun stint at the Scientopia Guest Blogge. Thanks for all the good comments and links and tweets.

4 responses so far

  • Peggy says:

    That purse is awesome. I wonder if I could figure out how to decorate my computer bag that way.

  • penny says:

    If it's squishy like most computer bags, maybe try stencil instead. Paper collage prefers a very stiff surface, but you can stencil pretty much anything. I blogged about a Flickr Commons/women's history freezer-paper stencil project here:
    (Was hoping to get a science-related version of that project ready in time for this post, but I didn't quite manage it.)
    Someone at THATCamp made this tote bag with a cardstock stencil and some sharpies:
    There are also some good iron-on printer papers--even a muslin sheet you can feed into a printer--might be some applique options there.

  • A bag that says brains... now this is something that I can get behind.

    Thanks so much for blogging with us, it has been a pleasure to have you.

  • RS Trindle says:

    I am the lucky owner of that awesome EC Crosby "Brains" bag -- always a hit to carry to neurologist appointments and the like ; ) Penny's workmanship is fabulous too.