Friday, March 26, 2010

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A new leafy bag

I've been mentoring 2 high school students for their senior projects. Emily has been focusing on lampwork and Christine has been focusing on fashion. Christine came over today so we could continue to make her prom dress. She's got a new sewing machine, and not a lot of experience with it yet. I sewed a simple bag to figure out how to use her sewing machine, while she pinned and cut pattern pieces.
I lasercut theses felt leaves a few weeks ago while monitoring the lab. Today I airbrushed them and sewed them to the bag in layers.
This is what the quilted strap looks like.

This is what the old bag looked like, pretty tattered. The new bag will get more colorful as I use it and see what it needs.
Mom, please show this to Dad. I know you'l both be happy to see this.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dense Spaces

I grew up in a house that became crowded later in my childhood. Maybe because of that influence, I mostly like being surrounded by information and stimulation. I think this visual affinity is reflected in most of the things that I make. That busy aesthetic also reflects how I feel. A sentiment of this necklace is "feeling overwhelmed with joy or beauty."

Where I sleep, the walls are white and bare.

My desk

My glass desk

Some bookshelves (there are more now)

A wall of mirrors for dancing (all mirrors salvaged from when the college students leave)

This photo was taken by Nadav Benjamin in our old space, Valhalla.

I kept a guest bed in my room in the old space. Touring bands always stayed with us.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A soldering tutorial

I demonstrate soldering components onto a step response circuit board that was milled on a Modela CNC router. My technique is informed by my soldering experience in silversmithing.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Painting a little

I found a beautiful set of 60 poster paints in the trash at RISD. This is exactly the kind of thing that's too expensive for some people to ship home. That, or they don't really think about money at all.
I hadn't painted anything in a while. It wasn't my intention to paint a weirdo self- portrait, but it turned into that by the time I got to the nose. I can already see where changes will be made, but I have to do more observation. Those are my feet for scale.

Friday, March 19, 2010

I belong here.

Standing in front of a door in the Fab Lab

I recorded a video tutorial on my method of soldering components to circuit boards. My technique is informed by my experience with silversmithing and soldering jewelry with torches. The first camera wouldn't focus on close- up shots, as pictured above.
Brandon had the great idea of placing a magnifying lens in front of the camera. This setup worked wonderfully! I spent eight hours editing the video, and then I couldn't upload it from the offline computer. I hope to post it on Sunday, when I'll be back in the lab.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Future Archaeology

Me with a hydraulic dinosaur robot in Roger Williams Park

When archaeologists work their way down to excavate our layers (if museums are still in existence in that future) I don't envision that curators will choose to exhibit Hirst installations and Warhol posters. I can imagine glass bongs and handguns, maybe high- heeled shoes as the new coprolite. Perhaps mannequins will be the new mummies and car carcasses will be like dinosaur skeletons.

P.S. Hey Chris Rabbit, no offense intended about the bongs. I'm saying that they'll be in museums, not that they're as worthless as animal poop.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I'm teaching at Craftland tomorrow!

CLASS: Textile Techniques for Jewelry
CLASS: Textile Techniques for Jewelry

Course fee: $45 | Materials fee: $15

• Discover how to create a variety of adornments using soft textiles. Forms like pom poms, ruffles and flowers can translate into fun jewelry. Leave with a several pieces and ideas for embellishing them with sewing and embroidery techniques.

Instructor: Jenine Bressner / Fireworks!
Wednesday, March 17, 6pm – 9pm

Monday, March 15, 2010


I've been too busy to get to a computer for the past few days, but I milled and stuffed an entire circuit board today in the lab, and I just added some photos to my flickr account.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Note Bene

I attempted to drill some holes in neodymium coin magnets. I taped four magnets to a small piece of wood to secure them for drilling. I knew I would need to work carefully because it's a brittle material, so I lowered the arm of the drill press EXTREMELY s l o w l y to bore through the 1/8" thick magnet. In my first attempt I drilled 2 holes (like a button) using a bit that was 1/64". This bit broke as I finished the second hole. My next try was to use a 1/8" bit to drill one hole through the center. Because the bit had so much surface area it created a lot of heat and friction on its way through-- enough heat to melt the tape that held the magnet in place. This is also how I learned that heat will undo the magnetization.

I began to feel unwell, and then my classmate found this online:
Neodymium compounds, like all rare earth metals, are of low to moderate toxicity; however its toxicity has not been thoroughly investigated. Neodymium dust and salts are very irritating to the eyes and mucous membranes, and moderately irritating to skin. Breathing the dust can cause lung embolisms, and accumulated exposure damages the liver. Neodymium also acts as an anticoagulant, especially when given intravenously.
The lesson is this: If you're going to create dust or fumes of any kind and you care about health (your own as well as the health of other people in the same building), just look it up before you begin. The internet can tell you an answer for most questions, it's usually quick, and mostly free. You may have to do more research to find satisfying answers, but the important part is to remember to try.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Tour of Handmade Dolls and Puppets with Lampworked Glass Eyes

Before I demonstrate three ways to lampwork simple glass eyes, I'll show you some projects in which I've used them.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Big Hoodie

To the many people I have met, of all the wearable things I have made, my "Huge Neck Party" glass necklace is the most memorable piece. Second place goes to the big hoodie. People may never remember my name or my face, but never forget the necklace or the hoodie. I started occasionally wearing this in 1998, and I began to decorate it in 2002.
This picture was taken in 2002 at Valhalla, our warehouse in Providence.
This picture was taken at the Maker Faire in Austin, Texas in October of 2008. I was photographed by Joaquin Trujillo and Brian Paumier for this article.
Laura Maguire photographed the piece on a mannequin. It evolved a lot over time, and is now more hole than shirt. I wear clothing hard. You may notice here that a sleeve and the zipper have been replaced. On the mannequin is a second generation rufflebeard that I made around 2004.
This is a detail of lampworked- glass form studies, worn as a brooch. To the left are glimpses of Japanese- inspired applique and embroidery. To the right is part of an embellished patch of leafcutter ants by the Beehive Collective. Above are transit tokens from San Francisco, New York City, and a Japanese 5- yen coin.
The back of the sleeve is covered in hand- cut felt leaves, and 2 densely embroidered patches are prominently displayed on the arm. The bird on the top patch was hand- embroidered by Liz Harris, and I embroidered over the Providence Critical Mass patch that was drawn and screenprinted by Jean Cozzens. This side of the hood is covered in individually placed heat- set studs and a few prong- set cone spikes.
This is a detail of bead and thread embroidery I did on the small of the back. The light blue text across the bottom reads, "CRAFTCORE". The larger pink beads are Japanese miracle beads. They're highly reflective and they make me more visible to drivers when I'm biking at night.
The patch inside the hood was drawn by Sunny from Chicago. I embroidered over his words. The back patch is a stencil made by Friedel from Gainesville.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Warm necks

"Warm Ndebele Winter Necklace" and "Ruffle Décolletage Top"- spandex, fleece, thread, metal hooks, all hand sewn
machine and hand knit "Scale Shift" scarf