Category Archives: Meet your Makers

New for 2014: Maker Faire Marketplace!

The Vancouver Maker Foundation and Vancouver Mini Maker Faire are proud of our ability to provide an incubation ground for new Makers, and support for established Makers who are looking for new ways to grow. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that this year we’ve got a whole new area of the Faire dedicated to just that! The Maker Faire Marketplace is your spot for finding unique and interesting handmade goodies, many of which you won’t find anywhere else in town.

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new-vendors

Many of our Marketplace participants are brand new to the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire, and we’re really excited to welcome them to our little club! Elgin Vine is bringing his handmade bags and leatherwork items, and Kukubee will be there with their zipper pouches, paper goods, and accessories. Stop by the eBoy booth to check out their  modular Blockbob toys and their city posters, built of modular pixel elements. Strathcona 1890 will be at the Faire with their carefully-curated seed collections, perfectly suited to growing in any Vancouver garden.

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marketplace-clothes

Is your wardrobe looking for a little pick-me-up? Stop by the Blu Pixie, Devil May Wear, and DRIFT booths for gorgeous and unique finds. If you need something a little more casual, Locomotive is back this year with their awesome collection of t-shirts, just in time for summer.

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VMMF-Food

As always, we’ve got an awesome group of food trucks lined up to keep you fed at the Faire -but don’t forget to stop by our Marketplace and grab some treats for later! We’re delighted that Living Lotus is back this year, and excited to welcome Chickadee Family Bakery. In true Maker Faire spirit (and for those of you more patient than hungry), Make Cheese is back with their cheese-making kits.

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marketplace-jewelry

Need a little treat for yourself? Alie & Droid is back with their quirky, handmade items for everyone’s inner geek, and PHRESHA is bringing their 2014 line of jewelry and accessories, ON THE PROWL. Also back this year: Parrotphernalia, with their feather-based jewelry and accessories – as far as we know, the only place in town to get humane feather jewelry. Jewelry makers Umbrella Bird and Dalliance and Design are both joining us for the first time this year, and on Sunday, June 8th only we’ll be joined by Sublime Sisters, a Young Maker team of two sisters.

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giving-back-vendors

Two of our Marketplace vendors give as good as they get. The African Fair Trade Society produces organic shea butter-based soap, shampoo, and skin lotion in an environmentally sensitive manner and without animal testing, and  then uses the profits of their shea butter sales to channel micro-aid to small, impoverished communities in Western Africa. Enterprising Women Making Art (EWMA) works with emerging women artisans in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside to develop an alternative form of business or employment that is grounded in the needs and realities of their participants. Look for their jewelry, paintings, art cards, headbands, dream catchers, and pottery in the VMMF Marketplace.

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holiday-headstart

Maybe you think June is too early to get started on your holiday shopping? Think again! Glass artist Heike Kapp, steampunk artist Professor Whovianart, and local collective Queen Bee can all help you with those hard-to-shop-for people that you’ll be fretting about in December.

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Stop by the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire Marketplace and feel good about indulging in a little treat for yourself or someone you love!

Opening Soon: Laser Cutter Cafe in Chinatown

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Ever had your tea with a side of laser cutting? You’ll soon be able to at Vancouver’s newest (red) hotspot, The Laser Cutter Cafe, popping up June 26 on Columbia Street in Chinatown.
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Inspired by similar ideas in Tokyo and San Francisco, owner Derek Gaw wanted to bring the accessibility of public-space laser cutting to Vancouver. With his Full Spectrum Laser Cutter, Derek can make everything from business cards printed on wood veneer to etched glass, puzzles, sculpture and signage. He can take photos, text or graphics and etch them onto plywood or glass, and cut through wood, plastic or cardboard. Derek demonstrated The Laser Cutter Cart at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire this year, and had a slew of visitors come by to see just how easy it is to do their own laser cuts.

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Intrigued, I caught up with Derek to find out more about this unique project that’s sure to bring a smile to our city.

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Can you elaborate on what the laser cutter cafe is all about?
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The Laser Cutter Cafe is a cafe (we serve tea and stuff) that has laser cutters for anybody to use. Come make something and have some tea while you’re at it. In addition to our namesake tool, we’ll also have other things to play with, like 3D printers, a CNC router, a vinyl cutter, a textiles lab, and an electronics lab.
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Tea and lasers! Delicious combo. Where did the idea come from?
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The Laser Cutter Cafe was inspired by equal parts FabCafe in Tokyo (above) and TechShop in San Francisco. When I moved back to Vancouver, I missed having ready access to laser cutters, so I decided to get some myself to share with everybody.
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Can you describe what people can expect when they visit the cafe? Do you provide supplies?
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When you walk in, you’ll probably see someone using a laser cutter right in front of you. You’ll smell a hint of of campfire from the plywood they’re cutting to make a coaster for their tea cup. And then you’ll notice a whole slew of laser cut products for sale and display. First time visitors can take a quick safety and usage tutorial, and be laser cutting their own stuff in half an hour. We’ll have an inventory of ready-to-laser materials, or you can bring in your own, assuming it’s safe and approved by us.
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Why do you think the maker movement is going strong in Vancouver?
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Vancouver’s maker movement is growing strongly in part because it has a ways to catch up to more established maker cities like San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland. Our west coast siblings are great role models, and we get to learn from their failures and successes.
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Why’s it important to share skills and knowledge?  
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It’s much easier than making all the mistakes for yourself (although sometime, that approach is quite educational).
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So check them out on or after June 26! Until then, you can start plotting your newest laser-cut project. See you at the Cafe!
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Laser Cutter Cafe 1
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Photos courtesy of Derek Gaw, except Fab Cafe photo, courtesy of www.spoon-tamago.com

Meet Your Makers: Cymata, 3D printing and Generative Coding with Music Analysis Data

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Cool is a word that, perhaps by definition, resists definition. Cymata focuses on this adjective by restoring our lost physical and social interactions with the medium of music. The software initially produces physical objects from music by leveraging 3D printing and generative coding in processing. Songs are then interpreted using a combination of user input and music analysis data.

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Music has lost many of the physical aspects of its experience. CDs, records and tapes all had a physical medium and album art that could be held and shared. But now, by experiencing music in its digital form, this appreciation has become fleeting. Our attention is spread thin in that space.

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Active on Art Not Ads and Facebook, I spoke with Tim Rolls, one of the creators of this open-source project, which is available on Github if you’d like to experiment with its latest build.

 

How did you get started with making/creating for Art Not Ads?

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It actually started as a street art project. I went to New York and witnessed the amazing/horrific site that is Times Square. I’d never really thought about how invasive advertising was in our lives. Public space is supposed to belong to everyone, so why is it illegal for most artists to use that space, while advertisers can use it for any message they choose? I have a history in graffiti and street art, so my initial concept was to engage local artists in a campaign to attack the ads directly, turning them into works of art that encouraged participation. At the same time, I realized this was all quite illegal, which was never a problem for me personally, but it starts to get sticky when you’re including others. Ultimately, I chose to go with more non-destructive routes that offset negative corporate messaging with positive, radically inclusive artistic ones.

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How did you get started developing Cymata?

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We went through at least a month of thrashing on ideas before Cymata started to take shape. Something we’ve wanted to explore more is generative code and data visualization. A lot of the work in that space takes place digitally, on screen so we knew early on that we wanted to bring those concepts to built objects. It wasn’t until a couple months later when we had a proof of concept working that music came into play. It was one of those rare “Eureka!” moments, and has been driving the project since.
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Walk us through some of your creative process.

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I’m a Designer, Artist, DJ, Producer and general technology nerd, plus I like to cook, ha ha. Those things probably seem unrelated, but it’s helped me realize that creative process is agnostic to what you’re creating.
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Typically, the phases look something like:

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  • IDEA/CONCEPT
    The main ingredient is always the concept. Having a central vision helps with making decisions and keeping focused as a project unfolds.
  • RESEARCH
    Seeing what’s already out there, and being done well. Just be careful not to compare your work to others…that’s a slippery slope.
  • SYNTHESIS
    Combining elements and ideas into something new, working towards the initial concept.
  • ITERATING TO REFINE
    Taking feedback or observations and applying them to the project to make the final product or next version better.

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The whole thing is fairly loose, and doesn’t always happen in that order. That’s part of why I love creative work…it keeps you on your toes.

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CYMATA
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Is there anyone specific that inspires you?

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So many people inspire me, and lots of them aren’t even artists, but I’ll try to keep this short.

  • Probably my favorite visual artist is Justin Maller. I’ve been following his work for years, and he never fails to make me feel like a beginner all over again.
  • Joshua Davis and Matt Pearson have both done a great job of practically applying generative art, and doing it well.
  • Daito Manabe is inspiring because he’s a tinkerer like me, and his Nike Music Shoe project is still one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.

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Is there anyone specific that you would like to work with in the future?

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Anyone who has the imagination and motivation to make ideas happen. We’re working on opening up Art Not Ads to collaboration by detailing our process on the new blog, and offering our code on github for anyone what wants to play with it.

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In the future, we plan to organize creative meetups focused on constructive criticism and communication with like-minded people, which we crave but can be hard to come by in paid work. Combined, we hope those initiatives will help us build a community of passionate creators who are as excited as we are about creating positive change.

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Cymata will experiment with turning your music into a 3D printable sculpture today at Maker Faire, so come on by and check them out!

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Meet your Makers: Terminal City Glass Co-op

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Did you know that Vancouver’s Terminal City Glass Co-op is the first non-profit, co-operative glass arts facility in all of Canada?

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Ideally located in artist-friendly East Vancouver, Terminal City provides access to high-quality glass making equipment and resources for new and experienced artists and offers classes in glassblowing, flameworking, beadmaking and sandblasting (for ages 16+). The Co-op also tries to engage the community through special events, like the Eastside Culture Crawl, that promote glass as an art form.

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I spoke to co-founder and Program Director Holly Cruise and here’s what she had to say about why Vancouver is such a great place for co-ops, the city’s reaction to it, and what people are getting up to in their classes:

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What makes Vancouver a good place for Canada’s first glassblowing co-op?

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Vancouver is very co-operative friendly city. We live in a place where we have to maximize our use of space and resources, and so it makes sense to share work space, materials and equipment.

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Has the city embraced the co-op since it started up?

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The people of the city have. Everyone who comes to Terminal City is a little awe-struck by our space. It’s big and we make a lot of magic here, plus everyone is very supportive and friendly. We’re also in an ideal neighbourhood for creativity, as we’re at the epicentre of the Eastside Culture Crawl in the Mergatroid Building which has 55 artists studios. We couldn’t ask for cooler neighbours!

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What’s the most popular class?

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Our Glassblowing 1 class is always full! But really it’s about even between Glassblowing, Flameworking, Beadmaking and Sandblasting. Anything at the beginner level is always busy.

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What kind of people come to your classes? And what do they typically make?

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We have such a broad range of students, from 16-year-old kids to 70-year-old retirees, and everyone in between! A lot of people who come here want a creative experience, to do something fun in their spare time. In Glassblowing 1, students learn to make glass paperweights, small cups and bowls, and in the Beadmaking class, they learn how to craft a variety of colourful beads. Flameworking students are taught how to make small sculptures, pendants and marbles using borosilicate glass, and in Sandblasting, they learn how to apply surface decoration to flat glass and other glassware.

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Are there any fun facts that people are surprised to find out about glassblowing?-

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You don’t have to have strong lungs to blow glass!

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I got to visit a workshop on the tiny island of Murano, just north of Venice, to watch glassblowers at work. Sitting there watching little molten blobs of glass become beautiful works of art – with just someone’s breath – was riveting. And while doing my research for this feature, I was amazed to learn that that the glassblower was using the same technique, and practising in the same place, as a glassblower in the 13th century!

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The history of glassblowing actually dates all the way back to the 1st century BC. Invented by the Phoenicians during the rise of the Roman Empire, glassblowing is glassforming technique that involves inflating molten glass into a bubble using a blowpipe and shaping it to make glass vessels. Glassblowers “free blow” short puffs of air into a molten portion of glass called a ‘”gather” which has been spooled at one end of the blowpipe. This produces an elastic-y “skin” on the interior of the glass blob that matches the “skin” on the exterior (which happens when you remove the glass from the furnace). The glassworker then quickly inflates the molten glass and works it into whatever shape they want.

During the middle ages, Venice became the go-to place for blown glass after artisans learned the secrets of glassblowing through trade with the Middle East. In order to maintain their monopoly in the industry, the government forced all the Venetian glassblowers to move to the island of Murano in 1291, where they practised in exile. While in exile, the Murano glassblowers perfected the craft and developed an incredibly clear glass called cristalo, and new colors like deep blue, amethyst and emerald. Despite the fact that leaving the island was punishable by death, many glassblowers managed to escape and shared their new techniques and colors with other craftsmen throughout Europe and parts of Asia.

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Untitled-1Through all this, glassblowing techniques remained unchanged, and it’s neat to know that we can still learn the exact same techniques today at Terminal City Glass. If you want to get a little taste of what they do, check out their booth at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire where they will be doing flameworking and beadmaking demonstrations.

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Holly Cruise will also be at the Maker Faire Speaker Stage from 2:30 – 3 pm on Sunday, talking about different techniques in glass making. Her talk is called FUN with Glass: How to Work with Fire and Not Get in Trouble! Definitely something you don’t want to miss!

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Haven’t bought your Vancouver Mini Maker Faire day tickets yet? They’re cheaper if you buy them in advance!

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Stop by The Hackery and  Lee’s Electronics for a special promo code. The Hackery and Lee’s also still have paper ticket weekend passes available at EarlyBird prices. Get ‘em before they’re gone!

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Lee’s Electronics  — 4522 Main Street
The Hackery  — 304 Victoria Drive @thehackery

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Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glassblowing; http://www.seattleglassblowing.com/glass_history.html

Photos: Terminal City Glass Co-op