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Glass Artist Hangs the Helix Nebula in El Paso

Michele R Gutlove and her design firm, Studio GH, suspend a dying star system in the Irving Schwartz Public Library.
Images courtesy the artists

A stained glass sculptural rendering of the Helix Nebula, a large planetary nebula located in the Aquarius constellation, hangs over the lobby of the Irving Schwartz Public Library in El Paso, Texas. This is the new work from glass artist Michele R Gutlove and her design firm, Studio GH. Shout out to all my Aquarians, though.

According to the national Optical Astronomy Observatory, a planetary nebula is produced, “when a star can no longer support itself by fusion reactions in its center.” The emission nebula is comprised of ionized gas, emitted from old red giant stars late in their lives.


Gutlove's configuration of stained glass panels, varied in color and abstract shape, is suspended from the ceiling by string. The atrium of the library’s lobby has a soaring octagonal skylight, which the artist compares to an observatory. The atrium’s windows encircle the installation 360 degrees, allowing for sunlight to reflect off the glass creating exquisite multicolored impressions on the surrounding walls. The loose and open layout allows for the sculpture to change in conjunction with the time of day, and with the seasons as well.

Check out Helix Nebula in the images and video below, and notice the differences in the suspended sculpture during the day and night.

helix nebula from studio gh on Vimeo.

Click here to check out other works by the Michele R Gutlove and Studio GH.


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