March 22, 2011 at 1:30 PM ET
Being called a spacey artist isn't such a jab for the four winners of a design contest meant to celebrate NASA programs. The makers of the winning entry — the Northstar Table with a North Star button that opens a hidden drawer when pressed — will even travel to Florida to watch the next shuttle launch.
The "Space Craft" contest, a collaboration between NASA and the Etsy online crafts market, aimed to help inform Etsy's 5.8 million members, the majority of whom are women, about NASA's present and future exploration plans.
There were three categories — 2-D original art, 2-D art reproductions, and 3-D art including wearable items. More than 600 people entered an original handmade item or work of art. The entries were whittled down to 50 semifinalists, and voting was opened to Esty's members. Final judging was held March 18 by a panel of experts including former NASA astronaut Steve Robinson, artists and journalists.
The grand prize went to Colleen and Eric Whitely from Brooklyn for their detailed Northstar Table. The pattern on the table represents the night sky on the evening of the first moon landing. The one-of-a-kind table has a price tag of $2,800.
In addition to the all-expenses-paid trip to Florida to watch the space shuttle Endeavour launch on April 19, Colleen and Eric received a $500 shopping spree on Etsy. Winners of the categories each received a $250 Etsy shopping spree and a bag of NASA and Esty swag.
Rachael Barry Hobson from Austin, Texas, won the 2-D category for her $999 piece titled "High Texture Hand Embroidery of the Moon," which the judges said stood out for its breathtaking details.
Hobson, a self-described space geek who went to space camp when she was 12, notes that when she views the moon through a telescope, "I get weak in the knees."
The 2-D reproduction prize went to Nikkita Karsan Bhakta from Mobile, Ala., for her "Universal Thoughts." She says of the $35 reproduction: "My original goal was to photograph trails of smoke and succeeded doing so by experimenting with India ink and water. It was later that I discovered the uncanny, visual parallels between the ink trails and images I have seen from space."
Patrick Burt from Tempe, Ariz., won the 3-D category with a titanium ring embedded with silver, gold and diamonds titled "Brother Sun, Sister Moon." The jewels represent stars, the sun, moon, Mercury, Mars, Venus, Jupiter and an intricately cut Saturn. The ring can be custom-ordered for $825.
For more photos of the finalists and show your support for spacey artists, check out the contest page.John Roach is a contributing writer for msnbc.com. Connect with the Cosmic Log community by hitting the "like" button on the Cosmic Log Facebook page or following msnbc.com's science editor, Alan Boyle, on Twitter (@b0yle).