Sundials - World's Oldest Clocks

North American Sundial Society

Quilt of USNO 26-inch RefractorSundials are often created at the instersection of science and art.  Quilting has made its mark as well.  For example in Burnsville North Carolina is the Quilt Block Sundial, painted in bright quilt blocks on a 8x8 foot board above the entrance to the Yancy Common Times Journal Building.

Now comes Altazimuth Arts, an enterprise established by Sara Schechner, well-know historian of science who is curator of Harvard's Collection of Historic Scientific Instruments.  But Schechner is also active in the Studio Art Quilt Associates, Quilters' Connection of Watertown MA, and member of Quinobeguin Quilters guild. As she explains, "Recent quilts are inspired by history and the night sky, the built environment wet within nature, and by the many-faceted meanings of tangible things."

Illustrated is the US Naval Observatory 26-inch refractor made by Alvan Clark & Sons in 1873.  "The inspiration for my quilt was an engraving from a newspaper story celebrating the work of the telescope. The print shows astronomer Simon Newcomb (at the eyepiece) and Superintendent Rear Admiral Benjamin F. Sands (standing) in the dome with the brand new telescope in late fall 1873. The engraving was based on a photograph of the same scene." Visit Schechner site at www.altazimutharts.com