Laika Tribute

‘Custos Stellarum’ (Guardian of the Stars), woven tapestry, 2021.

Role: Design, Illustration, Typography, Textile

This is an homage to Laika, part-terrier part-husky mongrel picked up off the streets of Moscow and was the first animal to orbit earth. She was part of the Soviet space program and on 3 November 1957 was launched into space in Sputnik 2. When you google Laika the first suggested questions is “Is Laika the dog still in space?” and as a kid ever since learning about her at the age of 10 (via the 2002 Gorillaz album ‘Laika Come Home’) I always thought she was somewhere out in orbit still somewhere. I titled it Custos Stellarum in this idea that she’s still out there somewhere even if her body came back to earth no longer alive. My late grandfather’s sweet clumsy Rottweiler was also named Custos and I wanted to make a nod to that as well. Aesthetically I wanted to reference old space exploration graphics so used variations of dithering and bitmap conversion. Hopefully the graphics would translate well into to the same grid-style / procedural nature of weaving. RIP Laika our Guardian of the Stars watching over us 🕊