At the Michigan Science Center, Noel Night is an exciting opportunity to share our passion for science with thousands of Metro Detroiters who may not consider themselves science enthusiasts. We love showing our guests that science is in everything!
Noel Night is Midtown Detroit’s annual “open house” event featuring holiday-themed activities and free admission to area cultural institutions, including the Science Center. This past December, we were pleased to partner with the Metro Museum of Design Detroit or MM-O-DD on a unique attraction blending science and art.
MM-O-DD is a new “local-to-global” venture started by Detroit entrepreneur and designer Leslie Ann Pilling. Underlying all of Leslie Ann’s work is what she’s dubbed STEAM-ed. Many people are familiar with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), but Leslie Ann has added an “A” for art, “e” for edutainment, or educating through entertainment, and “d” for design. In 2016, MM-O-DD’s focus will be focused on “bio-mimicry,” an element of design that uses nature as an inspiration. Clearly, Leslie Ann sees the “big picture” in her work, recognizing that science and art are integral components in the design world.
With this approach in mind, Leslie and her team produced a wildly popular attraction that highlighted the science behind the magic of the holidays. The result was the Frost Fairy Queen, a character who attracted as much attention as the Noel Night staple Santa Claus.
The Frost Fairy Queen’s dress was created by hand using chiffon and a couture manipulation technique that took hours to create. The result gave the impression that the Fairy Queen was floating on snow drifts. Her crown was created by master milliner Celeste Smith (in collaboration with Eric Beamon Jewelry) who has designed Kentucky Derby award-winning hats. She sat against a video backdrop designed by FYT Productions. The images were created by filming winter scenes and then duplicating them up to 15 times to produce a snowflake or kaleidoscope effect.
“Science was a big part of the process in creating the Frost Fairy Queen,” Leslie Ann said. “Chemistry is behind all of the material that we work with, the physical tools we use are part of the engineering field, and math is a central component for the backdrop video. Critical thinking is essential in our work and science-minded people often excel at this.”
On Noel Night, hundreds of Science Center visitors of all ages lined up to have their photos taken with the Frost Fairy Queen, to study her gown and watch the backdrop video.
To learn more about Leslie Ann and her work with MM-O-DD, visit the organization’s Facebook page and look for more MM-O-DD and Science Center collaborations coming soon!