Category Archives: Vancouver Mini Maker Faire 2013

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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Photos courtesy of Derek Gaw, except Fab Cafe photo, courtesy of www.spoon-tamago.com
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Meet Your Crafters: Lisa Cinar, Draw Me a Lion

Like most of us, Lisa Cinar got her start as a maker at her family’s dining room table.  Armed with a crayon, colouring books, fresh white paper and her vivid imagination, she began to illustrate the stories in her young mind.  Seated next to her mother, she’d ask “Mom, can you draw me a horse?”, “Can you draw me a mermaid?” and “Can you draw me a lion?”

 

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Fast-forward to 2008, when Lisa’s first children’s picture book The Day It All Blew Away was nominated for the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize.  Her second book Paulina P. for Petersen was published in 2009, followed by a full-length comic called A Murder of Crows.  In 2011, she launched her shop Draw Me a Lion, offering up irresistible colouring books, art cards, colouring posters, stickers and limited edition prints.
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Now, when she’s not writing picture books or dreaming up new designs for Draw Me a Lion, Lisa writes a blog on the art of picture book illustration – aptly titled I Heart Picture Books – and teaches a course on Illustration for the Continuing Education Department at Emily Carr University of Art and Design.

 

Draw Me a Lion is part of the mini Got Craft? at Maker Faire this weekend, so I asked Lisa for the scoop on her delightful creations and what we can expect to find at her booth.

 

Can you tell me a bit about the how and why you started Draw Me a Lion?

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I have always loved Children’s products of all kinds from toys to activities to books. I noticed that I could have a lot of fun making things with kids in mind and that this was something that I was sort of naturally drawn to and good at. I wrote up a little business plan in 2011 and then launched the shop at the the end of that year. Now that I’ve been in business for over a year and a half I’m really happy with where I’m at. I love doing this!

 

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Where do you find inspiration for your books, illustrations and stories?

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I like to think back to my own childhood a lot when I come up with stories and images, and I don’t have to try hard to remember. There are a lot of things that just sort of stayed with me. You know how in Calvin and Hobbes Calvin always daydreams in math class about going to some alien planet? That was me sometimes, and…that is still me today sometimes too!

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What advice would you share with the little makers and crafters who experience your work?

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I always try to leave space for kids to really make the activities and items theirs. I leave lots of extra space in some of the Colouring Postcards for kids to add to the scene rather than just colour in. In my colouring posters there are speech bubble so that you can decided what animals are saying or to draw anything else you want in there. In the Colouring Mask Book the masks are two sided and one side is a more traditional colour-in-the-lines type of style while the other one is way more loose and open to interpretation and adding to.  So I guess my main message to kids is always that they are all artists just by way of being a child. I want them to know that there are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ ways to draw anything! What’s important is that they have Fun while they’re being creative.

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What can we expect to find at Draw Me a Lion at Maker Faire next week?

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I just finished making some brand new Flower Bouquet Button Packs that I’m pretty excited about. It’s Summer and I have a little bit of a thing for flowers so I thought it would be a cool idea to make a sort of ‘everlasting bouquet’. And they’re not just for kids by any means! There are two different sets of buttons to choose from as well as our also still pretty new  Colouring Party Invites and Colouring Stickers Packs! It’s always super nice to meet people who are interested in my work so yes, please come on up to the Mini Maker Faire and visit the Draw Me A Lion table! See you there!

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For more treasures, visit the website and snag a free download, like Draw Me a Lion on Facebook or stop by Lisa’s personal site for a peek at her impressive portfolio. Or better yet, meet her at Maker Faire!

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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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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

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Meet Your Crafters: Steven Enns, Hand and Sew

Amongst the talented crew of artists you’ll discover at the mini Got Craft? at Maker Faire is leatherworker Steven Enns, an industrial design student with a penchant for minimal aesthetic and smart design.

 

Self-taught, Steven started his leather products company Hand and Sew with a desire to create simpler designs for goods he knew were in demand but could not be found in stores.  He now crafts leather wallets, lanyards, sketchbooks and custom items out of his Vancouver studio for sale at markets and local shops around the city.

 

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Can you tell me a bit about Hand and Sew?

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Started in late 2012, Hand and Sew was created after unsuccessfully searching for a simple, thin wallet made from natural materials. I picked up an amazing book, “The Art of Hand Sewing Leather” by Al Stohlman (pub. 1977) as well as a few tools and started experimenting. All of the products are made using no machinery, I cut, sew and finish everything by hand.

 

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What inspires you as a maker?

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In the leather working community there seems to be two main styles, Old country style leatherwork, and new age ultra modern leatherwork. I’m trying to fit between the two; taking the finishing and bulletproof construction of the old, and combining it with the minimalist smart design of the new.

From Dieter Rams’ Ten Principles for Design:
– Good Design is long-lasting
– Good Design is as little design as possible

 

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When you’re not crafting for Hand and Sew, what kinds of projects would we find you working on?

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I am an Industrial Design student going into my fourth and final year at Emily Carr University in Vancouver, where I experiment with soft goods, wood, furniture, programming and electronics.  I am also apprenticing at a local company, Palmer and Sons doing design, production and customer service.  Nik Palmer taught me a lot  about working with English bridle leather (a very thick, and structural leather), crafting a solid product, as well as building a business. He’s definitely someone I look up to.

 

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I took a peek at your blog, and saw a prototype for a sweet women’s envelope clutch. What else is on your list of things to make for Hand and Sew in the future?

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I actually finished the final prototype for the Envelope clutch here.  I started out small, making wallets and accessories, but really want to expand my product line to include larger items such as tote-bags, duffel bags, backpacks, and purses. I’m also very interested in using other natural materials such as cotton canvas, for some more cost-friendly product alternatives.

 

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What can attendees expect to find at Hand and Sew at Maker Faire next week?

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I’ll be there with all of my wares, including a full line of wallets and accessories  I’ll be there doing some live demonstrations of how to sew by hand using a saddle stitch, as well as showing some of my new and unique items that you’ll only see on my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages!

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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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