All posts by shellie

Art area: new for 2019!

Hello, everyone!

Here is an overview of what is incoming for the Art Area in 2019. I expect to have everything in place hopefully before the end of January to early February. Thank you to everyone that responded to the annual usage and needs survey.

Make t-shirts on demand

Color printing! This has been a while in the making. Many t-shirt printing systems I have looked into had no actual third party reviews, usually are dedicated units of questionable functionality, lack any information on ink permanence and are super over-priced. The ‘direct to garment’ units look super shady. After looking at option after option for years, I am going with an easy solution. We have a mid-range Konica Minolta CMYK color laser printer coming. We will be able to affordably refill its toner thanks to member Latrice Dixon; she tipped me off to inkowl.com and their great deals. Transfer films for printing color will be available to use with a heat press. If you want to make MAD amount of t-shirts, Neenah Paper Techni heat press transfer paper films for laser printers films are as low as $31 for 50 films on Amazon. This brand has two types for light or dark color t-shirts. Members interested in zines and self publishing will be happy to know this unit accepts a pretty wide range of paper weights and finishes. Printing patterns and instructions will be easier. Manufacturers do not claim full-bleed (edge to edge) page printing in the specs that often as OS, software and users are all a factor: so I am not sure if we can manage full-bleed printing on this unit until we have time to check it out. Konica Minolta has an overall good reputation with the graphic design community for out-performing HP or Lexmark similarly priced printers.

Dye sublimation has been upgraded

The prior gravity feed system gets air bubbles and the flow is poor. Members got some use but it under-performed. This gravity feed system has been replaced with a refillable cartridge system for the Artisan 1430 printer. Dye sublimation works for transfer sheets to put images on synthetic fabrics, glass and metal projects. Make your auntie that cat pillow for 2019. =^-^=

More paintbrushes

Please wash paintbrushes you use with soap and water and heckin put them back. If you are using an oil-based media, please use a proper solvent and then wash brushes with soap and water. More brush soap has been ordered. Also, it is bad to leave brushes sitting bristles down in liquid; they warp. (I have a set of watercolor brushes that I have been consistently using for 28 years.) Brushes are not a single-use item. Do your part. Be kind to the brushes. A clean brush is a happy brush!

Swivel headed heat press

This is a smaller 9×12″ unit but may be easier and safer for members to use as you can keep the heat element away from your hands. If you think a clamshell heat press is kind of scary, this new one is kinder and gentler.

Noise suppression

Heavy weight fitness center rubber mats are going under the Singer 20U industrial machine and the work bench that has the heat presses. Hopefully this will muffle any whomping and hammering sounds that carry through the floor to CNC below. Thanks to Ray Doeksen for advising me that this was happening.

Upgraded lighting

Two new LED daylight tabletop task laps are coming and the overhead daylight light bulb tubes are getting replaced. LED lighting for the printmaking bench will replace the old halogen lamp.

Pro model button maker

You LOVE LOVE LOVE button making! You literally wore out the small button press; the plastic slider warped. This budget unit has been replaced with an all-steel pro model. We have a 1.25″ and 2.25″ button making presses and new pro circle cutters for each. IF you want to make insane amounts of buttons, I can refer you to sources to buy parts; Amazon also has vendors for button making parts.

New leather working tools

Leather working tools are replaced. Please return any leather crafting hand tools when you are done using them and do not take them home. I have needed to replace every single item this year. Share the tools, please!

Power strips and extensions cords

New and not frayed. Please do not remove these from the Art Area. If people need to plug in a piece of equipment at a particular table, I want them to easily be able to grab an extension cord or reach a power strip. Do not take them down to the other shops as they will get dirty.

Sewing machines

A new electronic Brother CE8100 with automated button holes is here, replacing the prior Husqvarna machine. The Brother has many more stitch styles. There is also a pro bobbin winder for the Singer 20U that I just have to install. Also, on the white book shelf is a small tin box with these new plastic fabric clips to use instead of pokey pins. These are helpful for delicate fabrics you do not want to put holes in or thick fabrics like fleece that are not easily pinned. Less stabbing, more sewing!

Let’s be tidy!

Lemon disinfectant wipes, Simple Green and window cleaner are in stock; see the drawer under the black and white printer. There are dusting cloths. I also discovered and ordered a mega box of paper towels to help with spills and stuff that gets on tables. Please do not leave your projects laying around and do not stash your project materials in nooks around the space.

New light boxes for photography

The old photography light tents tore and the frames broke, the tripod lamps wore out or broke when they tipped over. The new units are hard bodied boxes that collapse easily, so you do not have to be an origami master to put them away. The new light boxes fold out, snap into place, and have LED lighting built into the photo box itself. A 12″ and 20″ light box with sweeps are incoming. Heavy weight colored artist drawing papers make better background sweeps if you want a particular color. Document your projects for blogs or portfolios, get product images for online sales, or make weird 3D clay animations. The potential is huge.

Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud is on both PCs for you to use; both the Artastic PC and the one with the Wacon Cintiq HD22 pen tablet.

Soliciting class ideas

Partner with me for planning and the art area can fund needed materials. If there is money and enough interest, let’s get some classes running. I have ideas for zero cost / free classes for 2019 which will be easiest to run in the summer when school is out.

As always, touch base with me in open office hours or by email if there is anything I can help you with or if you feel there is a need that could be met. Please help by putting hand tools away in their labelled storage containers; which has been going very well so keep it up. If anything is broken or not working properly, please put a sign on that piece of equipment and email me right away.

All the best to everyone being creating and making stuff for 2019!

Share this!

Free Class: Leatherworking with Common Household Objects

In this free one hour make & take, you’ll explore ways to add texture and shape to vegetable tanned leather using common household objects! The class will be Thursday, November 9, 2017 upstairs in the Arts & Crafts Area at 7:00 – 8:00 PM.

The instructor, Tamara Clammer, is a Seattle based leatherworker and the Maker Advocate at Brown Paper Tickets.

If you can’t attend this class, you can also join her at Maker Fest at the Niles-Maine District Library from 12:00 – 3:30 pm on November 11th.

Share this!

Block Rockin’ Knits

The arts and crafts area has a sewing table with a pinable canvas surface for pattern design, and this is also great for blocking hand knitted items. 

Blocking means stretching the knitted item and steaming it to get a better shape. Acrylic, wool, alpaca and pretty much any fiber used to make a knitted item tends to roll at the edges and be floppy until it is blocked. Factory knitwear is blocked as well as hand knits.

I discovered a new tool called blocking wires which I used on this large lace shawl I recently completed. The wires can be run through the edges and pinned. Using the wires allowed for needing less pins and getting tension faster for the rectangular shape. I steamed the whole piece with a sewing iron and could see it adjust, tightening and relaxing, along the pattern.

Many people wash an item and block it into shape to dry, then steam it. A hat can be blocked on a large party balloon or a Styrofoam head form like the kind sold in beauty supply shops. Steam alone does a good job of getting a crisp shape for your knitted item. Just be careful to hover a steam iron a few inches above the item to not scorch or melt the fibers.

 

Share this!

Free Workshop: Earring Exposition

bead-strands

wp-white-bar-550x20

 

When: Saturday, October 1, 2016, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Where: Arts Area (upstairs) Pumping Station: One 3519 N Elston Chicago, IL 60618

Drop in and make a pair of earrings for yourself or as a gift for someone! This is a very basic form of jewelry assembly, no prior experience is required. Learning this skill may help you financially as the “winter holiday gift season” of various faiths approaches.

Beads and findings will be supplied in nickel-free gold and silver costume metal. Bringing a pair of basic round nose pliers will be helpful if you have your own. Expect total time commitment to be in the range of 10 to 20 minutes. Please limit one project per member so the maximum number of people can participate.

Share this!

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!

 

 

 

 

 

Share this!

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

Share this!

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…

Continue reading Creative Celebrations at the 7th Birthday Party!

Share this!

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 PS1 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.

Share this!

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.

Share this!