Commission for Her Majesty The Queen, Photosynthesis

I was honoured to be commissioned to made this piece for Her Majesty The Queen on the occasion of the opening Diamond Light Source, the UK's national synchrotron science facility,at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire. As part of the opening tour, I was introduced to Her Majesty and presented the WI project 'Designs for Life" textile hangings for which I had been Lead Artist and Project Manager. The design for the gift is a representation of the photosynthesis protein molecule (see below left, image courtesy of Wellcome Trust).

This molecule is responsible for taking carbon dioxide and water together with light and combining them to produce glucose and oxygen. As carbon dioxide is a byproduct of respiration so oxygen is a byproduct of photosynthesis. For this reason green plants are essential 'producers' of the oxygen required to maintain almost all other forms of life. The ability to mimic this process, as artificial photosynthesis, would enable us to split the molecules in water to release oxygen into the air and use the hydrogen to replace non-renewable sources of energy.

This panel (see below centre and right) is a collage of metallic and silk fabrics stitched onto a transparent background and framed within layers of perspex, etched with the title, artist's signature, date, venue and occasion of the event.

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