Last August I helped my Doer colleague, Sabrina Roach with her National Radio Day event in Seattle by facilitating the build of an 8′ light-up “Radio Tower.” The prototype was made almost entirely from reclaimed materials and some borrowed electronics. It turned out so awesome that the prototype became the finished product, and in the process, the idea for the Art+Tech+Trash Meetup Group was born.
Second Use has graciously hosted our meetups on the last Saturday of the month since January. At our first meeting, we discussed what we might like to achieve as a group. By March we’d settled on an interactive board game made from reusable materials, and “Space Oddity: The Art+Tech+Trash Escape Game” started to take shape.
You can find us on September 17 and 18 at Seattle Mini Maker Faire, under the Big Top at EMP. We’ll have a 20′ booth with plenty of room for the game and our “ReMake It Station” where you can create obstacles for the game, or your own treasures to take home.
Author’s Note: That’s me wearing Eureka (more about that later). As I mentioned in a previous post, I got to help out at Maker Faire Kansas City. Rather than telling you about my experience as a maker, I’ll leave it to Chad, a business student who attended the faire and calls it a cross between a Renaissance Festival and Comic Con. If you’ve never been to a maker faire, this first-hand account will tell you exactly what to expect.
I attended Maker Faire Kansas City (MFKC) at Union Station on Sunday, June 26, 2016. This report is in response to the assignment to attend Maker Faire and write about the experience. I enjoyed MFKC and plan to go again next year. There were many exhibits that appealed to children, science/engineering “nerds,” and art/craft aficionados. (I would consider myself a member of the latter two groups.) In many ways, the event felt like a cross between a Renaissance Festival and Comic Con. There were contests, such as First Robotics and the Egg Drop – where kids used plastic materials to design contraptions to save an egg from a 3-4 story fall. There were costumes with various themes, including Captain America, a pirate and several medieval-looking outfits.
One costume in particular caught my attention. The costume, called “Eureka” (see photo), was being worn by Ms. Tamara Clammer, a doer with Brown Paper Tickets. Eureka features a GE Mazda hand-made lightbulb and was entered into the Second Use Art & Design Challenge in Seattle.
MFKC was a showcase of entrepreneurship in Kansas City. The vast majority of booths at MFKC were local small businesses. A few examples that I perused or purchased from included Built KC, a custom woodworking and design firm owned by two brothers and located in Shawnee, Kansas; Reinke Arts, owned by twin brothers that create photo-real artwork based on movies, TV and comics; and Nether Fable Designs, a 3D-printing service company based in Kansas City, Missouri that offers pre-printed items as well as custom printing and designing.
Additionally, there were booths sponsored by larger entities, such as Radio Shack and UMKC, and one small business that I saw, Poly’s Pleasures custom chainmail jewelry, hailed from Brighton, Colorado. Many of the products were interactive, and the show gives entrepreneurs a chance to interact closely with many potential customers in an entertaining atmosphere. Kids and adults alike were captivated by 3D printing and robotics, artwork, hands-on creative activities, virtual reality and science demos, such as a man-sized Faraday cage beside an actual operating Tesla coil that generated streaks of lightning that would arc to the cage or to the beam above.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Faire, both from consumer and entrepreneur student perspectives. I have already shared the experience with some of my friends I think would enjoy this show, and I plan to get them to go with me next year. And I purchased a couple of art pieces at MFKC and may have a custom board-game table designed, so friends may need to be forewarned that the Faire can be a bit dangerous for impulsive shoppers.
From June 17-23, people across the U.S. will join together to teach, learn, share and inspire with hands-on projects of all kinds. I will show people how to turn Brown Paper Tickets‘ discontinued print materials into notepads and sketchbooks using basic bookbinding techniques from this Instructables tutorial. I will also show how to turn the materials into paper clay.
Maker Faire, Kansas City
My National Week of Making wraps up at Maker Faire Kansas City, where once again I will help build the Power Racing Series race track from 1,000 re-purposed tires.
On Saturday, June 24, from 11:30-12:30pm, I’ll join an educator-only panel called “Maker-Inspired.” Regional and national maker educators will discuss topics including the importance of hands-on, project-based-learning, incorporating making in the classroom, inclusion, collaboration, budget considerations and more. If you are an educator interested in attending this session, RSVP now as space is limited.
Saturday evening from 5-5:45pm, you can find me at the Maker Couture Fashion Show. If you would like to meet me in Kansas City during June 23-25, let me know.
It’s hard to say what color my hair will be by then, but I can assure you I’ll be visiting Cafe Gratitude every chance I get.
Afterward, someone in the crowd asked me why I decided to give my talk…
A few years ago I discovered, rather by accident that an event was happening in a parking lot/outdoor cinema space around the corner from Brown Paper Tickets’ office. The event was Ignite Seattle and their tagline is: “Enlighten us, but make it quick.” I borrowed a chair and joined the audience.
And it was amazing. Incredibly inspiring, sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, but always informative. With 16 speakers, each allotted a total of 5 minutes and 20 slides that advance automatically; it really was a quick way to become enlightened. Ignite Talks began in Seattle in 2006, and now they are hosted worldwide.
A couple years after my initial discovery, Ignite Seattle began hosting some of their quarterly talks at Town Hall Seattle, a vibrant performing arts space I worked at when they were just starting out. I’d been on that stage hundreds of times, but only to set up the lectern for a speaker, arrange chairs for a spelling bee, add music stands for an orchestra and to occasionally say, “Test 1, 2” for the sound engineer.
The open submission format of Ignite gave me an idea: I could propose a talk. If selected, I could actually speak fromthe stage in the Great Hall, that grand room I had spent much time preparing for others.
But what to say?
Last January, I read, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. After I finished clearing out my closets and paperwork, I applied the techniques I had learned to my finances. And then my relationships. And finally, to my job. I set out to find true purpose.
Even before becoming a Brown Paper Tickets Doer, I was already actively encouraging others to learn. Reflecting on what matters most to me, I realized that learning is a vital aspect of my life, but that it hasn’t always been easy. My school years were a nightmare.
The book also caused me to realize there were painful things I was still carrying from my past, but I didn’t know how to unburden myself from them. It’s not like I could just drop them off somewhere, as I had with my excess clothing…
Or could I?
At the beginning of this year, the Call for Proposals for Ignite Seattle #29 crossed my Facebook feed. Suddenly, I knew that if I could tell my story, in that beautiful space where I was already comfortable, I could fulfill my goal of someday speaking from that stage while simultaneously leaving behind the weight of my past. Perfect. I applied and my talk was accepted.
Through the process of writing my talk and locating corresponding slides, an interesting thing happened: I stumbled upon an article, “The Catch-22 of Gifted Underachievement.” Since I was already thinking back to my early years, I read the article and recognized myself in the writing. My “condition” has a name: “Twice Exceptional,” or 2e. Gifted, but with a learning disability.
Underachieving? Lazy? Worthless? Sure. I’d heard these my entire early life. I was a failure, and it was all my fault. I was too sensitive. Too squirmy. Too day-dreamy. Too curious. Too weird.
I was too misunderstood.
Now there are people who understand and they are spending time and effort to research and improve the systems, so that children like me can not only survive, but thrive.
Through the process of writing my Ignite talk, I discovered the 2e Newsletter, SENG and a renewed sense of purpose. Yes, Ignite, you did enlighten me – and it was quick.
Eighteen hours from now, I will be hanging pieces at my first solo art show in over five years. My artwork: 20 masquerade-style leather art masks currently in various stages of completion. And my studio? After an all-nighter to get everything sculpted so it could dry in time, my workbench was buried.
Was. Last year I would have shoved everything aside and struggled to work in a bare corner. But it’s a new year and I’m developing new habits.
Here are four simple ways to increase productivity and organize your space:
1. Put everything in its place. Even if I knew I would need it again, it went back in its drawer, on its shelf or wherever it goes when my studio is “clean.” It seemed overwhelming and time-consuming at first, but only took 15 minutes or so. Now the entire work surface is available and I know where everything is, which will save precious time later. I also took a moment to sweep up yesterday’s scraps, making today’s work feel like a fresh start.
2. Separate the art into categories. I made little groupings of the pieces that still need paint (all of them). Realizing this wasn’t going to help, I further categorized them by how they’ll be arranged on the wall tomorrow. Five traditional Mardi Gras styles, four birds, four dragon-like creatures, five gargoyles and two so odd they don’t even have category titles.
3. Choose a subset to begin with. At first I thought the Mardi Gras styles would be best, but quickly realized these will require the most time to paint. I set them aside and painted all the birds first. This gave me a sense of accomplishment early on and filled me with excitement to work on the next batch. I wanted to see how my dragon would turn out, so I painted that next.
4. Take (healthy) breaks. I drank two glasses of water instead of the second cup of coffee I craved. My body needed water more. (Technically, as I write this, I’m still on break, but I wanted to share these thoughts while they’re fresh).
Past art shows taught me that if I can’t finish all 20, no one will know what’s missing from the display except me. And if I don’t finish all of them, it just means I have a head start for next time.
Take it from me: Start fresh. Break the work into smaller components. Take care of yourself. And don’t panic.
Brown Paper Tickets‘ Doer: Maker Advocate Tamara made the super-cool owl mask above. She’ll be sharing more tips, thoughts and words of advice from her life as a leatherworker and her involvement in maker communities.
Hello, I’mTamara Clammer Brown Paper Ticket’s Maker Doer. I’m a leatherworker, specializing in wearable art masks and hand sewn leather cases and a self-proclaimed ‘hand tools type.’ I never expected that I would use 3D or laser technology. However, recently, I went to Maker Faire Detroit and met Jesse and Hans from Autodesk, a company specializing in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software.
Meeting them peaked my interest in 3D design and I was anxious to learn more at the Bay Area Maker Faire. While I was there, I checked out the new laser cutter at TechShop, a membership-based workshop that provides its members with access to tools, equipment, instruction and a community of creative and supportive people. TechShop could also be called a hackerspace, where like-minded individuals can get together, collaborate and bring their visions to life. Read More…