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#SciArtSunday with Elizabeth Koprucki

We met Elizabeth at DPS53 and we’re so impressed with their work that we asked Briley Lewis to interview them for our blog!

Technology and art go hand-in-hand, and Elizabeth Koprucki’s work illustrates that beautifully. 

I make wire-wrapped and strung jewelry using semiprecious stones, glass, shells...and sometimes 3D prints,” they say. 

Copper necklace with white 3D printed square pendant and round copper pendant below.

Image: Mars necklace including a 3D printed pendant of Gale Crater, with a hand stamped pendant, created for University of Chicago’s Art and Science Expo. Image courtesy of Elizabeth Koprucki.

As a kid, Elizabeth made jewelry with her late grandmother, getting into it by discovering a book on beaded jewelry at a yarn sale and receiving bead kids for her birthday. “I liked making things with my hands…” Elizabeth says. “Basically, I haven't stopped since then. I'm interested in many things and I kind of cycle through hobbies, but jewelry is one I keep coming back to.” 

Elizabeth’s work is inspired by astronomy and planetary science, and they created many pieces inspired by the Hubble Space Telescope while pursuing art and communication. They’ve been interested in space since childhood, where an elementary school field trip to Huntsville Space Center sparked her interest. She also uses many stones in their jewelry and likes to know where these minerals come from and a bit about them, connecting to an interest in Earth Science, and has experimented with some cyberpunk-themed art as well.

Copper twisted wire bracelet with stones of varying colors of orange, yellow, cream, and beige.

Image: A hammered wire and stone bracelet inspired by the Curiosity rover’s announcement of conglomerate pebbles on Mars, an indication of flowing water. The beads were chosen as “an imaginative take on a long-ago river on Mars” and include jasper, hematite, turquoise, red hair quartz, agate, mookaite jasper, picture jasper, and carnelian. Image courtesy of Elizabeth Koprucki.

Twisted copper wire bracelet with brown, yellow, and tan stones and a black y-shaped wire in the center, with a large triangular yellow-ish stone at the end.

Image: A bracelet inspired by the Cassini mission to Saturn, specifically a Synthetic Aperture Radar image of Titan showing a “mini Nile delta.” The aquamarine stones represent Titan’s blue-ish haze, and the jasper and aragonite chip beads are reminiscent of images of Titan’s surface from the Huygens probe. Twisted black wire makes up the shape of the delta in the center.  Image courtesy of Elizabeth Koprucki.

Since 2014, they’ve also served as a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador, “presenting image processing, robotic spaceflight, and the history of the Jet Propulsion Lab to many audiences, including the maker community.” Space isn’t their only interest, though — Elizabeth also created a series of 3D prints and jewelry pieces for an art show about cyborgs from the Chicago Art Department, showcasing Elizabeth’s interest in technology. She’ll soon be the science/maker guest of honor at Windycon, the longest running science fiction convention in the Chicago area.

Not only does Elizabeth make their own art, but they’re also “passionate about getting people interested in science, technology, and art, and especially in their intersection.”

Elizabeth’s first career was in graphic design, but she eventually pivoted to become a professional maker when she was captivated by 3D printing at an exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry. They have since worked as a maker educator at the Art Institute and the Chicago Public Library, and now at the University of Chicago. As the Assistant Director of University of Chicago’s Fab Lab in the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, she oversees many makers, entrepreneurs, and researchers prototyping their own creations. 

You can check out a whole selection of 3D printed goodies in the STARtorialist shop, and follow more about Elizabeth’s work on their Twitter!

Circular pendant with blue white stones in the center and small strings of stones at the bottom, all on a black cord on a black background.

Image: An Enceladus pendant created right before Cassini’s end of mission, and inspired by the photos of Enceladus’s plumes. Image courtesy of Elizabeth Koprucki.

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