The Universe


The textile artwork for the newly restored Vonsild Church is inspired by a visualization of the birth of the universe as we see it today. The Planck satellite’s measurements from 2009-2013 of the universe’s cosmic background radiation underscore this visualization which has been adapted and used as a motif on the altar’s antependium.


Long before the Earth, Sun, stars, and galaxies existed, the universe was a dense cloud of hot plasma and violent energy. No atoms existed, only free protons and electrons. Darkness was absolute. Yet the ur-universe is expanding and the dense mass spreads out and cools down. After approximately 300 000 years the universe has cooled to roughly 3000 degrees Celsius, so that now electrons can begin to bond with protons to create the first atoms – hydrogen. Light can begin to escape as heat radiation, and it is this radiation that the Planck satellite registers, roughly 13 billion years later, as the cosmic microwave radiation with a current temperature of 2.7 degrees Kelvin (- 270 degrees Celsius).


This sequence envisaging the birth of the universe is thought-provoking and fascinating. It places humanity and our own short life-span in an infinite perspective and reveals just how small we are. Using the scientific visualization of the universe as a starting point for a tapestry in a church places this artwork in a fruitful zone of tension between the religious and scientific narratives of the creation.


The universe is rendered as an oval form, just as the Earth is rendered when a sphere is represented in two

dimensional form. For the front of the altar, the Planck satellite’s registered temperature measurements are

transposed into a white/golden motif. The illuminated white centre, which has a faintly-drawn organic pattern in golden tones, dissolves gradually and transitions into a shade of gold. The transitioning of colour continues toward a deeper golden tone attuned to the church’s colour.

he motif of the antependium was inspired by a visualization of the universe as we see it today. The visualization is based on the Planck satellite's measurements from 2013 of the 'Cosmic Microwave Background' radiation originating from 300,000 years after the Big Bang.

The front of the altar has a white shining centre of oval shape with a faintly drawn organic pattern. The white shape dissolves into a golden colour and the colour transition continues towards a deeper golden colour on the sides of the altar. The white and golden shades are matched to the colours in the church.