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.
Canstruction is a unique world wide charity which hosts competitions, exhibitions and events showcasing colossal structures made entirely out of full cans of food.
Canstruction Chicago (under the umbrella of Canstruction) is a design/build event which benefits the Greater Chicago Chicago Food Depository. Teams comprised of professionals from the AEC industry fundraise for, design, and build structures composed of non perishable food items. These “Cansculptures” are housed in the first floor of the Merchandise Mart and are on display to the public as a giant art exhibition. The “Cansculptures” are judged in various categories by a celebrity chef and prominent members of the AEC industry. Canstruction Chicago culminates in an awards presentation and cocktail party at the Merchandise Mart.
Working to eliminate food waste and reliEVE hunger
In our world today, 40% of all food goes to waste. Fast forward 700 years and we might find WALL-E, a hardworking and lovable robot, all alone on Earth, compacting debris into solid block structures. WALL-E knows all too well what waste looks like, yet remains hopeful that life may again be sustained on Earth. Upon meeting an advanced search-droid named EVE, WALL-E discovers companionship and how, together, they can nurture Earth back to a healthy balance and sustain all living creatures. With the help of our sponsors, WALL-E and EVE are working to educate humans about food waste and reliEVE hunger.
I am making a coloring book. The way is fraught with fears, doubts, and time eating mechanical failures. Fears of being unable to make my goals. Doubt that my art is worth the investment of strangers. Battles with an old scanner not being compatible with my computer. Then a crashed computer bios that corrupted my RAID drive. I lost a lot of files. But I am winning. I am winning thanks to very good friends who encouraged my talents. I am winning with the support of my very wonderful family that helped me in times of need. I am winning because of my tenacity in the face of problems. It is only a matter of time in this book battle of attrition. “Today I Draw Dragons” will be a thing.
I will encourage you too to tread the path of book making. Be not daunted by the endless tasks before you.
This project began when I started to draw dragons before work and then after work. I began to count them. I told myself that when I made thirty five of them I would pursue making them into a coloring book. I ended up making one hundred and fourteen of them.
I shopped around for publishers. It is a sea of frustration. You have your easiest ride if you can wrestle the support of a professional publishing company, but they will have a say in your product and it is hard to convince them that you are worth it. So I decided to pursue self publishing, at least for now. If I prove myself with a successful project, then I will show them what I can do.
None of this is the way to wealthbut it is the way of artists.
I learned many things. I learned that even if I print only 30 dragon images it will be considered a 60 pages plus book to a printer even if I don’t print on both sides of the sheet of paper. If you have a place to store 1000 books and the cash to buy and ship them then you might be able to get them printed for a competitive price. ISBN numbers are expensive if you buy just one.
Advertising matters. My Kickstarter shows a definite lull in support when my computer crashed and I could not reason out how to advertise without my scanned and worked drawings. My friends and family took up the slack then. I continued. I made business cards and flyers to paint the town. I wish I had done more. But I am still winning.
Cleaning up and re-working scans for print TWICE is annoying.
I have an external hard drive now so I can back up the back ups.
Learning all the programs for formatting everything for print is a huge pain in my pinky toe.
I still have many tasks ahead. I need to subscribe to a download service so that I can deliver my PDF. files. I need to secure a high quality printer for the prints I have sold. I need to prepare to wrap and mail out my books. I need to make all the custom sketch cards and commissioned art sold to fund this endeavor. I will need a plan in place to sell the extra copies I am going to order. And I need to draw more, lots more.
This will not be my last publishing adventure, by far.
There are still a few more days if you want a copy of the book yourself:
After months of work, hours of troubleshooting 3D printers and lasers, as well as a lot of patience, I’m proud to present my completed cosplay mask of gynoid Drossel von Flügel. My friend Jaina helped me take pictures at Katsucon last weekend in National Harbor. (Yes, the sameconvention center, unfortunately)
Note: almost all images can be clicked for full size.
I have received no shortage of help from various people. The CNC department at Pumping Station: One has been great at supporting those who want to make things. Twitter user @ByNEET released a full model of Drossel which my friend Faraday (she does 3D work! fortunafaradaze at gmail dot com) helped disassemble for conversion into 3d print friendly STL files. My friends who spent countless late nights with me while I worked on this project. My mom, who was very helpful in assembling the mounts to hold it on my head at the last minute. My friend Amir, who introduced me to Pumping Station: One which has made a huge impact on me. Lastly, the PS:One community itself, for maintaining such a wonderful place to create and share as a community.
Below the read-more is a fairly detailed explanation on how I created the mask and what tools I used for those who are interested in pursing similar projects. Feel free to contact me (Skylar) with questions at SKY at TUNA dot SHor find me at the space! I also have a (photography) website, http://hexbee.net.
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.
A good friend of mine had the vision to make a memorial to lost cats at Burning Man 2016. It would be a whimsical project with a deeper side to it to honor our fallen feline companions. To see more of what is behind the project can go to see the Spacecats Indiegogo at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/art-installation-for-burning-man-spacecats#/ . I was asked by her to assist with creating the rocketship part of the project for the intrepid spacecats. I just starting doing CNC work this year and leaped at the opportunity to further improve my skills with a big project. Over a period of 2 months many models were created to arrive at the final form. I will detail the workflow for this and share some of the iterations!
It all started with Fusion 360, a great program for makers, to create a basic rocketship model. Well, I thought it was basic but my inexperience made it a bit harder than expected and went through many hours of “learning time” to arrive at a model I was happy with. From making the 3d model in Fusion 360, I then took it to 123d Make to have it piece together in radial slices so that it can be put together in real life! With the parts generated from 123dMake I was able to create some laser models to show my friend and get her input for her vision. As you can see it took about 4 times to get it right. These models were done 1:10 scale then 1:7 scale. it really helps to have something in front of you to decide what will look best.
After finally arriving at a model that was good it was time to bring it to the shopbot for a 1:2 model (that is also one of the indiegogo rewards!). There was much dialing in to make sure that the slot fit was tight but not too tight to be able to fit the pieces together. Found that adding in .01 helped immensely to get the perfect fit. I did many test notch pieces to ensure the fit. One problem I had was making the test pieces too small so it did not get the full effect of sliding all the way into the wood. I found that making them larger really helped. It paid off to prototype and make test pieces , saved me from wasting many materials , especially when I moved to the more expensive wood! Finally, we had something that the Spacecats seemed somewhat happy about – other than that orange tabby Floyd at least!
Also learned how to use a V bit for this project , very challenging to get the right font in so that it looks nice but was not too thin. This is the plate with the names of departed cats.
And finally , was able to do the full-size model that will go out to burning man! They were displayed at an event last weekend that was a Hawaiian luau, they seemed pretty pleased with it if I do say so myself!
Thanks to everyone at PS:One for the patience to answer many of my questions and excessive use of the shopbot to dial this project in 😀
If curious about the indiegogo project and the other elements of the installation can check out the page at Spacecats . And if going to Black Rock City this year, look for some spacecats in the deep playa!
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.
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!
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.
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.