Hello! The Magic Trout Imaginarium is a mobile curiosity cabinet, classroom and brand dedicated to inspiring curiosity and wonder for the world around us.
We offer unique workshops, locally produced educational kits as well as innovative professional development and resources for educators.
Oct. 8 Tin Can Lantern Workshop. Ages 3+ $7 Reg here
Together parents will help guide their child learn how to use tools in order to create a lantern out of recycled tin cans. Workbenches, tin cans, lights and tools will be supplied. Workshop happens outside the Imaginarium.
Learn to needle felt your own mask. Use your imagination and become an animal or creepy creature for the Parade of Lost Souls! Children under 8 must be accompanied by and adult. Please pre-register as space is limited.
Oct. 22 & 29 Soft Circuits:Monster Stuffy w/ Light Up Eyes! $75/ 2 sessions Reg here
In this workshop young imagineers will learn to how to hand stitch their own creep monster stuffy using conductive thread and will learn the basics of how an electronic circuit works!
I was aware of the craftivist movement for at least a couple of years before I took action with my own project, “The Minimum Wage.” It all started a few years ago, after I closed my small business and started looking for work in the arts, and eventually beyond the arts. Employers wanted my educational credentials and work experience in exchange for only $10.25 per hour—the current minimum wage in BC (the living wage in Metro Vancouver in 2014 is $20.10 per hour). It is impossible to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle in Vancouver when earning the minimum wage.
While this was frustrating for me, it also got me thinking of the struggle that others in more challenging situations experience: single parents, students, seniors, persons with disabilities, even two parents earning the minimum wage. I decided that the best way I could add my voice to the issue was by crafting messages and putting them out there for people to think about. I use yarn to cross-stitch short phrases onto large wire mesh panels and hang them on city fences around my neighbourhood. I envisioned people glancing at my messages while walking to work and back and starting a conversation in their head about their own situation and forming questions about the issue. You never know who is going to be looking at your work; it could an employer, a policy maker, a minimum wage worker, a child. Using craft to communicate an idea, a feeling, or your view on issues is what craftivism is all about. Craftivism offers an alternative way of contributing your voice to issues you care about. When you decide to take action, you increase your involvement in an issue with body and mind. The mere act of working on the project propels you into further thought on the issue.
While there are other types of craftivism, the one I practice at the moment is text-based and comments on a social issue I care about. The workshop I’ll be leading at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire focuses on this type of craftivism. I’ll lead you through a brainstorming session, and then you’ll learn how to cross-stitch your message on fabric (see image below), so that you, too, can add your voice to issues you care about. And if you’re not feeling political, that’s OK, you can express any sentiment you like. Stitch it and share it with your neighbourhood.
The Stitching with Purpose workshop happens June 8th at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire. All materials provided; please pre-register here.
About the Author:
Laura Bucci is an artist whose work includes an ongoing project in craftivism as well as investigations in the practice of art journaling. Her craftivist project has been seen in her Grandview-Woodland neighbourhood and explores facts and feelings about the minimum wage/living wage. Laura believes that creativity is an important part of everyone’s lives and to this end she has taught workshops for non-artists as well as having organized a mail art exhibition (2013) that was open to anyone at any age. She recently presented at Pecha Kucha Richmond. See more of her work at www.laurabucci.com.
The recent and relatively unknown contemporary art form of graffiti knitting is the act of installing yarn-based products in a public space in ways that may gently provoke sociopolitical and cultural dialogue.
What happens when male and female teenagers are taught how to yarn bomb as part of their high school arts curriculum? This was my qualitative research as a graduate student at Boston University.
Students each designed their own graffiti knitting installations, and were required to write artist statements. Classroom discussions blossomed while students knit. Topics included self-reliance, consumerism, graffiti and knitting sterotypes, gender roles, community, installations, the history of knitting and graffiti, empowerment, and the perception of the role and value of craft art in society.
I look forward to further explaining my research as well as my findings at the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire Speaker Series on June 8th at 2:00 pm. Bring your questions!
Jessica Glesby is an artist educator who works to make cold spaces warm by producing and strengthening communities and empowering individuals. Her artworks build on the experiential knowledge of participants and facilitate discussion through collaborative craft. Jessica has a Bachelor of Media Arts from Emily Carr University, a Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia and a Masters of Art in Art Education from Boston University. She currently works as a freelance community artist while teaching high school for the Vancouver School Board. Say hello and discover more at womanundone.com
A few months ago I saw a post on Tumblr that showed an “Electr-O-Matic Book Fortune Teller” that used an Arduino (a computer similar to a Raspberry Pi) to print book recommendations onto receipt paper when people pushed a button. This seemed like a relatively easy project for myself and some other students to use to get experience working with a Raspberry Pi.
The first step was setting up the Raspberry Pi itself. Raspberry Pis run a version of Linux that’s a lot less scary than you might think. We messed up our installation, but you don’t have to do that!
Next we had to set up the mini thermal printer (we bought ours from Adafruit). This involved cutting and stripping some wires, then screwing them into a DC power adapter so we could plug the printer into a power source. Then we installed the printer driver onto the Raspberry Pi.
Once we did that we connected the printer to the Raspberry Pi’s GPIO pins using the included wires and printed off a test page.
Actually, first we wondered why nothing was working once we’d hooked everything up. Turns out you need to plug the HDMI cable into the Raspberry Pi in order to have anything show up on the computer screen. Despite being supposedly intelligent, tech-savvy graduate students, we forgot to do this at least four five times (so far) during this project.
Once we had the printer working we started work on hooking up the button. This is a complicated process that involves:
1. Acquiring a button that doesn’t actually have the necessary connectors.
2. Purchasing the wrong resistors.
Of course you can choose not to follow our steps directly and just get the proper pieces the first time. Either way, you then wire everything into a breadboard and connect it to your Raspberry Pi. (Your breadboard doesn’t have to be quite so long, but we ended up using ten resistors instead of one because we originally had the wrong type.)
You’ll then have to install or create a program on the Raspberry Pi that understands when your button has been pushed and tells the printer to print a review. We’ll hopefully have one available on our blog soon! The reviews for our machine are ones that we wrote and include title, author, and a brief description. You could choose to include other information such as ISBNs or call numbers.
Once all of that is done you’ll have a working machine that will print off book recommendations! You’ll probably want to get some sort of box to put everything in, but we’re still working on that.
We haven’t completely finished this project yet, but we’ll be posting updates (and eventually complete instructions) to the ASIS&T at UBC blog! In the future we might expand the machine so that it will have more than one button to allow readers to pick from different genres, moods, or other qualities (books with covers the colour of the buttons?)
We’ll be showing off our machine at the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire on June 7th-8th at the PNE, you should come by and check it out!
About the Author:
Matthew Murray is currently completing a Masters of Library and Information Studies at UBC. He’s a member of ASIS&T at UBC (without whom this project could not have happened!) and is excited about bringing technology like the Raspberry Pi into libraries. He’s probably working on too many projects right now. He also really likes monsters and comic books.