Author Archive

How to Wear a Cabochon with an Irregular Shape

beaded-cabochon

WP-White-Bar-550x10

Now that members have made a bunch of fused glass cabochons this week, what can we do with them? You can make several cabochons and mount them on your own Medieval style gemstone covered book, hot glue it onto your stapler at work and really establish that one is yours, make some really shiny refrigerator magnets but jewelry is the most common application.

I encased my cabochon in a mount by free form hand weaving seed beads. This piece used different stitches and a strong nylon mono-filament thread. The beads are 11/0 size Czech glass and 15/0 size Japanese Miyuki glass. I encased the whole cabochon because the back of the fused glass was rough and uneven.

WP-White-Bar-550x10

beaded-cobochon-back

WP-White-Bar-550x10

Other methods to make jewelry with a cabochon with an irregular shape are:

  • You can stitch bead embroidery around the cabochon securing it onto a backing of leather or heavy fabric. This will be similar to my example but simpler in its execution.
  • Glue on a bar pin back to wear it as a pin.
  • Glue on a bail to wear it on a chain or cord. There are many colors, sizes and shapes of ready made jewelry bails.
  • Wire wrap the cabochon with jewelry wire.

Given the resources we have at the space, someone could even 3D print a setting for their piece and then cast it in metal!

 

 

 

 

 

28

07 2016

The Joy of Melting Glass in a Microwave Oven

microwave-glass-kiln-2016

WP-White-Bar-550x10

Samuel and Sylvia Sion brought in to last night’s member meeting an amazing impromptu class on fused glass. Glass usually has melting points higher than metal, yet there are these new miniature kilns that work inside of a conventional microwave oven! This makes fused glass work far more accessible and affordable from past days of using a larger plug-in electric kiln for hours. The time to melt an art glass cabochon was usually under five minutes with about 45 minutes needed for cooling. The larger kiln fit several pieces at once.

The microwave being used for glass fusing needs to be dedicated to art use only and never used for food again. (Cadmium and other pigments used for colorants are toxic, so this is a needed safety precaution.) Care needs to be taken to not overheat the microwave and destroy it, so letting the door stand open and the unit cool off between rounds of fusing glass is needed. Also, microwave kiln shelf paper needs to be placed on the base of the kiln to keep glass from melting onto the surface the kiln and destroying it. Heavy weight welding gloves worked as oven mitts to transfer hot kilns and the kilns rested safely on our ceramic fire bricks to cool.

Glass specifically made for fusing needs to be used for projects, like the brightly colored Dichroic glass example I made below. Dichroic and fusing glasses are the shiny, beautiful art glass pieces you always see in jewelry at art fairs. The price for making them yourself is very reasonable with this new method; you can buy enough to make several pieces for $20-$30. The kilns and tools to get started are being added to the small metals area and will be available within the following weeks.

WP-White-Bar-550x10

microwaved-dichroic-glass

27

07 2016

Yes, You Can (Document Small Projects)!

light cube

WP-White-Bar-550x10

Mohamed Dardiri took a professional looking photograph of a laser cut design he made and it was getting likes on Pinterest within minutes. You can do this, too! Photographing small projects using one of our light cubes gives you a nice, even lighting without any harsh shadows.

Read the rest of this entry →

30

05 2016

Creative Celebrations at the 7th Birthday Party!

Cake-is-not-a-lie-01

WP-White-Bar-550x10

People trickled in through the evening and participated in events for our 7th Birthday Party last weekend! Grilled meats, snacks and vegan pizza were served up to the mingling masses. Lockpicking with TOOOL.us went down, a group mural went up, games were played, dyes went into fabric and a familiar face returned to our space…

Read the rest of this entry →

05

04 2016

Event: Confectionery Combat! Chocolate VS Shelly and Gerald

shelly-and-gerald-vs-chocolate-smaller

 

What:
Confectionery Combat! Chocolate VS Shelly and Gerald:

When:
Friday February 12, 6:30-8:30 pm

 

We will start with a discussion on the evil ways of this culinary foe and tactics to successfully wage war against it.

We will be making truffles, roasting nuts, coating lots of things with chocolate, and “practicing” our feeble double boiler tempering skills.  Practice is the word! Just as in war there is no guarantee of success but at least in this we will have chocolate.

This event is open to PS:One members and their guests who want to watch, sample, and participate as the space allows. (There will probably be a cap at 10 people in that small kitchen) If you know you are coming give us a holler on the member group here so we can prepare excess supplies and plan our battle strategy.  The cost is free but donations to fund our efforts will encourage more such campaigns.

06

02 2016

Hack a Replacement Wacom Tablet USB Cable

usb-cable-hack

 

WP-White-Bar 550x20

Did you lose the USB to USB Micro B cable that connects your Wacom pen tablet to your computer? Don’t panic! This is not necessarily another propriety piece of equipment you can only get from the manufacturer. There is a quick fix.

The cable that comes with the Wacom may alarm you to have lost it; it looks unique, since the smaller Micro B end has a 90 degree angle turn. This is a design element possibly for aesthetics and maybe to prevent the cable from pulling out easily from the tablet while it is in use. You do not need a replacement cable exactly like the one that shipped from the manufacturer. What you need is a replacement cable that fits.

This is where cable replacement gets tricky because the Micro B port on the tablet is deep and very narrow. Most cheap, off the shelf cables have both ends encased in a massive brick of rubber that will not fit the tiny 6 mm tall by 12 mm wide Wacom Micro B opening. You can take any old cable and make it fit by whittling down the rubber as close as you can to the metal. A box cutter with a sharp, new blade works well. I tried to improve the look of this hacked cable with a single wrap of electrical tape, but had to then remove the tape as that still made the Micro B end too thick to attach.

If you want a neater cable to use for the long term, beyond this DIY quick fix, step away from the cable aisle in your electronics store and head over by the cell phone accessories. The Micro B cables marketed for smartphones tend to have a sleeker design, more color choices and smaller rubber grips which will insert into the Wacom. Bring your pen tablet with to make sure the cable you select will fit before you leave the store. Also, be sure you get a combined data and charging cable, since charging only cables that look similar are usually in the mix of products for cell phones.

03

09 2015

B.Y.O.T. Tie Dye Summer Event, Friday, 7/3/2015

tie-dye-WEB

Bring your own t-shirt, or other white item, and fill it with fabric dye! B.Y.O.T. Tie Dye Summer Event with be Friday, 7/3/2015, from 6:00 – 9:00 pm in the upstairs arts and crafts area, a free event for members. A 100% cotton item works best such as a clean t-shirt, socks, a hat, apron., etc. Washing items is helpful if they are newly purchased but avoid fabric softener, which is oily and repels dye. Twelve bright colors in easy applicator bottles and all other materials will be provided for you to hand color your item.

27

06 2015

Laser cut some simple masks for Halloween

Masks-graphic-WEB

 

There are a lot of online mask patterns that can be printed and cut out with scissors, but it would be much nicer to laser cut one. Let the laser do the hard work. I did these four mask designs tonight; they are perfect for a last minute costume for makers on the go or their kids. Now you can put the roll of toilet tissue back and do better than being a mummy this year. Download the patterns on Thingiverse here. 

11

10 2014

Laser Collage version 2.0: The Eric Carle Method

Squid Attack by Shellie Lewis, paper, acrylic paints, gel medium, Micron pen, vector design and laser, 7.5 x 9.5 inches, 2014.

Squid Attack by Shellie Lewis, paper, acrylic paints, gel medium, Micron pen, vector design and laser, 7.5 x 9.5 inches, 2014.

The next logical extension of the Laser Collage process is something I call The Eric Carle Method. Children’s book author Eric Carle is known for his collage are using his hand painted papers. The main difference is that you are adding paint to the process rather than using ambient papers or recycled materials for the collage art.   Squid Attack 02   I had a clear idea of what I wanted in this design and drew the squid and submarine in Adobe Illustrator using the pen tool. That step took me at least three hours. I used a Gelli Arts soft monoprinting plate to roll acrylic paints onto and made the color combinations I wanted for scene, aiming for a red / blue /yellow primary color scheme. This version pops out and seems more playful. I may try a version with darker colors and low intensity hues to see if it looks more realistic. Today, I was just aiming for a fun picture. My paper was an 80# weight cardstock with a hard, smooth finish. This paper held the acrylic paints well with little to no warping and dried fast. I used the Epilog Mini laser to cut and etch my drawings. The vector cutting was at speed 20 / power 25 / hz 500. Only the slightest edge of the design had a sign of the laser, literally just the plane the thickness of the paper; viewed from above there was no visible scorch. The acrylic paints had some resistance to being etched and I used speed 100 / power 50 to etch the eye and a few lines.   Squid-Attack-03   Matte acrylic gel medium glued the arranged layers together. Boards and wax paper were helpful to press the art flat. I used a Micron pen to fill in the etched lines on the body and for the eye and some thinned white acrylic paint for highlights and reflections. I’m really happy with how my giant squids came out. This was unfortunate for anyone who was at the space today because I went around with them when they were done. It’s not often that someone comes up to you and asks, “Have you seen my squids?” File that under the heading “Because: Hackerspace.”

30

08 2014

Laser Collage: An art form for and from the hacker/maker community

Art-Sharks-Shellie-Lewis-2014-WEB

Art Sharks by Shellie Lewis, paper collage and laser technology, 6×8 inches, 2014.

Every artist hopes to come up with an original idea, to be on the forefront of the next big idea or movement. This is hoping against the odds as the past two centuries have seen an explosion of movements, styles and schools of thought that rained down in Western art like a meteor shower.  Fauvism, Cubism, Futurism, Surrealism and many other modern movements would originate, peak and dissipate rapidly, lasting a few decades or less. World Wars arose and crushed other movements like Romanticism or Der Blaue Reiter. There are many forms of art that we can reach into the past and mine: appropriate and carry on with. In fact, schools of American Impressionists are still working in different lineages since the 19th century from William Merrit Chase, John Singer Sargent and other painters. Waves of more recent artists have imitated Picasso and Warhol. For the contemporary artist hoping to create something unique, there is very little chance of inventing something new.

Current technologies are opening the door for innovation. Many times, I am seeing where maker technologies are being used to vary production of traditional physical media arts and crafts. Laser cutters are being used to etch intaglio printmaking plates, textiles are incorporating electronics and lights, robotics are animating sculpture, and digital media is widely available. Video, animation and interactive arts are now accessible to most of the general public. It’s an exciting time to be involved in the hacker/maker culture.

Laser-collage-01-Shellie-Lewis-2014-WEB

 

I may have come upon an idea that can become an art style uniquely ours: Laser Collage. I have always enjoyed collage for drawing on images and materials readily available around people. At its most basic level, the only thing needed to create collage art is some form of glue or paste. Good scissors, a razor blade or hobby knife are helpful. Throughout art history, most fine art collage works have followed their siblings in painting and drawing, largely staying within the bounds of a rectangle or square. Contemporary painters such as Elizabeth Murray, Frank Stella and Ellsworth Kelly set their abstract works free from the tyranny of the rectangular border. Now artists in the hacker/maker community can liberate the collage from the rectangle.

Laser Collage innovates through using two things well loved in the hacker/maker community: digital vector art and laser cutters. By using a vector design, the exterior borders of a collage art can take any form. Art works can have further elements by using raster etching as well as the vector cutting abilities of the laser. Artists can utilize recycled materials. I am excited by the possibilities for this medium. Functional and three dimensional designs are possible beyond flat two dimensional art works. Laser Collage is an art style that frees the collage art to be any size and shape. This is an art form that can be uniquely ours.

Laser-collage-02-Shellie-Lewis-2014-WEB

 

My experiments with these samples were basic in materials. I used recycled chipboard (i.e. common food packaging like cereal boxes) and a simple glue stick. I avoided PVA [polyvinyl acetate] “white” glue since it is similar enough to PVC to be a possible problem with dangerous fumes from a laser. Any glycerine and wheat-based adhesive like glue sticks, YES! Paste or acrylic-based adhesive like gel medium should be safe for laser cutting.

Using the Epilog Mini 30W laser, I got an excellent cut through the variable thickness layers of paper and chipboard using a vector setting of speed 15 / power 100 / hz 2500. The edges have a little scorch, so you may want to adjust your cutting power or increase the speed. Raster etches were at speed 40 / power 100. Etching has interesting potential for etching your collage in a fashion that lower layers reveal different colors in the design. My approach was to cover the chipboard surface first in collage elements with my glue stick and then place it in the laser cutter for cutting and etching. The artist controls the materials used, color palette, range of colors, form of the collage pieces, flow of the collage design, number of layers cut by the laser, laser etching elements and the ultimate size and shape of the border.

Creators without access to a laser cutter could use vector designs using an electronic cutter like a software hacked Cricut, a Silhouette cutter or similar machine. I have often seen owners of these tools cut elements to incorporate into collages, artist books and paper arts, yet still retain the linear borders of a square or rectangle. Shaped collages would be restricted by the width of the cutting machine which is usually around 12 – 15 inches, whereas laser cutters tend to have larger cutting dimensions. I am most excited by the potential for the medium through laser cutting technology because a laser cuts details a lot finer than a metal blade can and etching adds more depth to the design.

 

Inspired by Shark Week 2014!

Inspired by Shark Week 2014!

 

Laser Collage is my humble offering to the continuum of Western art history. Maybe I will be the only one interested in this form but I am putting the concept online hoping other people will want to try it. Mixed media elements including paints, markers, pens and pencils can also be easily incorporated. Feel free to experiment with the process on your own and please respond if you want to show your work in this medium, if you have any discoveries or develop a variation of the technique.

22

08 2014