Opening Soon: Laser Cutter Cafe in Chinatown

Laser Cutter Cafe 4
o
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.
o
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.

o

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

o

Laser Cutter Cafe 2
o
Can you elaborate on what the laser cutter cafe is all about?
o
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.
o
fabcafe-masakiishitani
o
Tea and lasers! Delicious combo. Where did the idea come from?
o
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.
o
Can you describe what people can expect when they visit the cafe? Do you provide supplies?
o
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.
o
Laser Cutter Cafe 3
o
o
Why do you think the maker movement is going strong in Vancouver?
o
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.
o
Why’s it important to share skills and knowledge?  
o
It’s much easier than making all the mistakes for yourself (although sometime, that approach is quite educational).
o
_____
o
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!
o
o
Laser Cutter Cafe 1
o
o
Photos courtesy of Derek Gaw, except Fab Cafe photo, courtesy of www.spoon-tamago.com






Meet Your Speakers: John Biehler, 3D Printer Village and 3D604.org

     me-kk

o

3D printing has put rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing in the hands of many.  Nowadays, anyone with a few hundred dollars and an Internet connection can print their own three-dimensional objects.
o
As reported in the Guardian, customers may soon be able to walk into a shop and have their own jewellery, artworks or machine parts printed. We may even see 3D printing stores popping up like we see photocopy stores now.
o
The technology is popular, accessible and cheap. As the multitude of uses for 3D printing emerges, the implications have become more and more astounding.
o
Experiments are currently being done by:
•    NASA to potentially reduce cargo weight and volume in space
•    Doctors to print life-saving body parts
•    Scientists to construct fossil replicas and human heart cells
•    Fashion designers to create otherworldly, space-age garments
•    An American student who figured out how to print his own gun

o

Local photographer, blogger, gadget geek, teacher and 3D printer builder John Biehler co-founded 3D604.org, a club of 3D printing enthusiasts who meet monthly to share their skills and knowledge.
o
He’ll speak at a panel discussion on the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire Speaker’s Stage about the ethics of 3D printing. They’ll discuss recent developments in the printers’ manufacturing abilities, the media’s reactions, and the potential legislative effects on 3D print users in the short and long term.

o

7437660994_a346940b37_z

o
John is also part of the team that’s bringing the 3D Printer Village to Vancouver Mini Maker Faire again this year. Voted the most popular exhibit at last year’s Faire, the Village plans to showcase 15 or more printers of different models on-site over the weekend. The printers will be running all day, printing objects for visitors to take home as a sample of the technology’s capabilities.

o

7437606298_711c50b5bf
o
I caught up with John to find out more about 3D printing in the media, his talk and what he plans on showing off at Maker Faire:
o
3D printing is saving lives, and could also be used to take them. What are some of the biggest misconceptions people have about making their own 3D prints?

o
I think the media likes to focus on negative aspects of most things. 3D printing in my opinion is simply another tool in your toolbox to make things. Just like a hammer can be used for making things, it can also be used to break things. People are often surprised about how inexpensive 3D printing really is and it’s getting more accessible every day with better and less expensive printers. The software is also getting much better and now kids can design things with nothing more than their web browser.

o

8219468474_fc6518288a

o

You’ll be speaking at Maker Faire on the ethics of 3D printing. Can you elaborate for us?

o

We’ll have a panel of folks involved with 3D printing that will discuss some of the challenges with the technology. These include making items that are considered illegal like the 3D printed gun and the issue of copyright. For example, how are people dealing with the ease of copying 3D models for printing, instead of buying?

o

Can you describe what people can expect when they visit the 3D printer village? What sort of prints will you be showing off?

o

The 3D Printer Village is really a showcase of 3D printing technology. We’ll have a variety of different 3D printers on site, making stuff during the Faire. We’ll also have a pile of sample prints we’ve previously made that shows some practical and fun uses for a 3D printer in your home, work or life in general.

o

6044786792_7a8a3836a7_z

o

Why do you think the maker movement is going strong in Vancouver?

o

There are lots of very passionate people here that enjoy sharing their skills and their passion is contagious, which is why the movement keeps growing.

o

Why is it important to share skills and knowledge?

o

It’s partially about giving back and it’s also being able to share something you know with others. The rewards are amazing and it’s easy to do – just share what you’re good at with others.

o

8188025394_3f2e75c71c

o

Be sure check out John’s talk on the Speaker Stage from 3-4 pm on Saturday, June 1.

o

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

o

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!

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

 

Photos courtesy of John Biehler

0







Vancouver Mini Maker Faire Speaker Series

               o

Day 1 Saturday June 1

o

o

o

o

11:00-11:30 – Dethe Elza – Mozilla Foundation

o

Waterbear: Drag-and-drop programming on the Web

o

Dethe ElzaDethe Elza is a developer with the Mozilla Foundation, working primarily on the Collusion add-on for Firefox, which helps to track who is tracking you on the web. He is a geek dad, a subscriber to Make Magazine since the first issue, and learned to solder from his Grandpa when he was six. In his spare time he is developing Waterbear, a drag-and-drop programming toolkit for the web.

o

Waterbear is a toolkit for making programming more accessible and fun. Having a visual language means you don’t have to focus on learning a syntax to start programming. Waterbear is good for kids, artists, and anyone who would like to make their computer do something new without having to become a “programmer” (although it could lead to that).

o

o

11:30-12:00 – Andrew Bruce Lau – Zaber Technologies

o

DIY & The Maker Movement: Turning Your Passion Into a Business

o

andrewbrucelau1Andrew Bruce Lau is a co-founder of Zaber Technologies, a company specializing in precision motion control. He is also a Maker, dabbling in robotics, electric bikes, and gardening. Bruce believes that the spread of DIY culture is a “Good Thing.” It is catalyzed by curiosity, it is an outlet for creativity, and it is a driver for innovation. Bruce thinks that DIY can make your food taste better, make your bike go faster, and make your life more interesting.

o

At Saturday’s talk, Bruce is going to share with you the story of how Zaber was founded by passionate Makers, how we took the scenic and non-linear route to grow the company organically and sustainably, and ultimately how you may even make a living doing what you love.

o

o

12:00-2:00 – Panel Discussion with Chris McLean, Aric Norine & Kent Houston – Moderated by Dallas Luther

o

Making It Happen: Urban Invention and Crowdfunding

o

Crowdfunding has begun to change the way we create, purchase and interact with new products. It has enabled individuals to find a willing market for new ideas. With almost 100,000 projects launched on Kickstarter in the last 3 years, creators and entrepreneurs have raised over $500 million in funding to pursue their dreams and build new products.

o

Join us to hear three Vancouver entrepreneurs tell their story of going from inspiration to launch. Find out what it takes, how it’s done and what this new model means to a digital economy. See how design, rapid prototyping and online communities are creating a new marketplace for innovative goods.

o

Chris McLean - Espro Press copyChris McLean – Espro Press

o

Chris McLean is a design engineer who focuses on leading people through new product development programs using structured design methods. With over 15 years of R&D and commercial product experience in start-up companies, his goal is to grow companies through new products.

o

Launched in 2012, The Espro Press is a precision coffee brewer with a patent-pending two-stage micro-filter that lets in all the flavors and keeps the grit out of your cup! In February of 2013, a new size of the Espro Press was successfully crowdfunded in less than a week, eventually receiving over 7 times its funding goal.

o

Aric Norine - Stack Soap Bars copyAric Norine – Stack Soap Bars

o

Aric Norine is the independent inventor behind STACK soap, a waste-free stackable soap bar that was successfully funded as a Kickstarter project in 2012. In 18 months, he developed STACK from paper idea to sellable product on Amazon.com in the United States. Mr. Norine is an advocate of self-learning and experimentation in product design through a combination of computer design and rapid prototyping.

o

Kent Houston - Let's PatchKent Houston – Patch

o

Recently launched on Kickstarter, Let’s Patch makes growing your own fresh herbs and greens easy with a sleek and compact self-watering planter system. Founded by Kent Houston, a consummate entrepreneur with a passion for urban agriculture, in Vancouver in early 2013.
o

o

o

2:00-3:00 – Wendy Tremayne & Mikey Sklar – Swap-O-Rama-Rama & gaiatreehouse.com

o

The Good Life Lab: Radical Experiments in Hands-On Living

o

8459196294_91d1511ec1Wendy Tremayne was a creative director in a marketing firm in New York City before moving to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, where she built an off-the-grid oasis in a barren RV park with her partner, Mikey Sklar. She is the founder of the textile repurposing event Swap-O-Rama-Rama, which has spread all over the world; a conceptual artist; a yogi; a gardener; and a writer. She has written for Craft’s webzine and Make magazine and, with Mikey Sklar, keeps the blog Holy Scrap.

o

Mikey Sklar, is a digital homesteader and open source hardware developer. His projects have progressed from human implants and flame effects into planet saving projects such as: building a home from waste materials,  installing pv solar systems, recovering electric vehicles from the waste stream and advanced food fermentation with the help of microcontrollers. He enjoys foraging wild foods and caring for various types of bacteria and fungus cultures.

 

tinycoverWendy and Mikey prerelease Wendy’s new book (June 5, 2013, Storey) The Good Life Lab at the Vancouver Maker Faire. In this talk they share the inspirational story of how they ditched their careers in New York City to move to rural New Mexico, where they made, built, invented, foraged, and grew all they needed to live self-sufficiently. Alongside their personal story they present the discovery of a fulfilling lifestyle that relies less on money. They teach the art living from waste and from nature and teach how to make biofuel, DIY appliances for automating the homestead, build structures, gardens, and grow and forage food, and medicine. They present reasons for makers to share their innovations and ideas through open source and creative commons licenses.

 

 

3:00-4:00 – Panel Discussion with John Biehler, Eugene Suyu, Loial Otter & Dan Royer — Moderated by Dan Allard

o

The Ethics of 3D Printing

o

A panel of 3D printer enthusiasts will discuss the ethical implications of recent technical developments in the manufacturing abilities of 3D printers, the media’s reactions, and the potential legislative effects on 3D printer users in the short and long term.

0

John BiehlerJohn Biehler – 3D604

John Biehler is a Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada based photographer, blogger, gadget geek, mobile phone nerd, teacher, traveler, MakerBot operator, 3D printer builder, maker and all around curious person. He co-founded 3D604.org, a club of 3D printing enthusiasts who meet monthly and help share knowledge of 3D printing.

o

o

PrintEugene Suyu – Tinkerine Studio

Eugene Suyu is co-founder of Tinkerine Studio, a Vancouver-based company that specializes in 3D printing technologies and creative solutions, including rapid prototyping services like Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) and laser cutting, as well as designing and distributing their own 3D printing machines.

o

o

o

SAM_0448-300x225Loial Otter – Tesseract Industrial

Loial Otter is a 3D printing enthusiast and the driving force behind Tesseract Industrial, started in 2012 to develop adaptable 3D printers with enough size to build functional prototypes and production, combined with the strength required to do lightweight milling and speed to do 3D printing.

o

o

o

Dan RoyerDan Royer – Marginally Clever

Dan Royer is trying to make the future more awesome, one robot at a time.  He’s a veteran of the video game industry, a fan of That Thing in the Desert, and still believes he’ll make it to the moon. He is also the principal behind marginallyclever.com, a Vancouver based company that builds robotic educational toys for kids of all ages.

o

o

4:00-5:00 – Caitlin French

o

Flax to Linen and Other Homespun Projects

o

Caitlin FrenchCaitlin French spends a lot of time running around the woods collecting things to dye with. She dyes a line of yarn that can be found on her blog or Etsy.  She loves free-form crochet, and knitting most anything, weaving, spinning, felting and sewing. She makes most of the clothes that she wears. She is mostly self-taught at knitting & crochet, but went to fibre art school at the Kootenay School of the Arts and has a fine arts degree from UBC-Okanagan.

o

Caitlin will be discussing her work with fabric and textiles, as well as some of her adventures into other media for practical, aesthetic DIY solutions.

 o

oDay 2 Sunday June 2

o

o

o

 

11:00-11:30 – Wendy Tremayne & Mikey Sklar – Swap-O-Rama-Rama & gaiatreehouse.com

o

The Good Life Lab: Radical Experiments in Hands-On Living

o

8459196294_91d1511ec1Wendy Tremayne was a creative director in a marketing firm in New York City before moving to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, where she built an off-the-grid oasis in a barren RV park with her partner, Mikey Sklar. She is the founder of the textile repurposing event Swap-O-Rama-Rama, which has spread all over the world; a conceptual artist; a yogi; a gardener; and a writer. She has written for Craft’s webzine and Make magazine and, with Mikey Sklar, keeps the blog Holy Scrap.

o

Mikey Sklar, is a digital homesteader and open source hardware developer. His projects have progressed from human implants and flame effects into planet saving projects such as: building a home from waste materials,  installing pv solar systems, recovering electric vehicles from the waste stream and advanced food fermentation with the help of microcontrollers. He enjoys foraging wild foods and caring for various types of bacteria and fungus cultures.

 

tinycoverWendy and Mikey prerelease Wendy’s new book (June 5, 2013, Storey) The Good Life Lab at the Vancouver Maker Faire. In this talk they share the inspirational story of how they ditched their careers in New York City to move to rural New Mexico, where they made, built, invented, foraged, and grew all they needed to live self-sufficiently. Alongside their personal story they present the discovery of a fulfilling lifestyle that relies less on money. They teach the art living from waste and from nature and teach how to make biofuel, DIY appliances for automating the homestead, build structures, gardens, and grow and forage food, and medicine. They present reasons for makers to share their innovations and ideas through open source and creative commons licenses.

 

 

11:30-12:30 – Kim Werker – Mighty Ugly

o

Sometimes It Ain’t Pretty: How Mistakes, Failures and Hurdles Can Help Us Enjoy Making Stuff Even More

o

Kim WerkerKim Werker is a writer, editor, blogger, crafter, and speaker. Her biggest passion is Mighty Ugly, about which she’s writing a book and through which she facilitates hands-on and discussion-based workshops to help people confront their creative demons, experiment with new approaches to creative expression and problem solving, and just generally have fun making stuff. Kim is also editor-in-chief of The Holocene, a digital microzine for DIYers and curious people due to launch in late 2013. She lives here in Vancouver with a tiny human, a grown-up human and a mutt. Say hi and see what she’s up to at www.kimwerker.com and www.mightyugly.com.

o
Kim will deliver a talk and facilitate a conversation about making the best out of the mistakes, failures and hurdles that challenge every maker. Come with questions and anecdotes!

o

o
12:30-1:00 – Ryan Smith – Vancouver Hack Space

o

Vancouver Hack Space: Past, Present & Future

o

Ryan Smith (Goldfish)Ryan Smith, also known as Goldfish, is a Vancouver based hacker and noise maker. As a founding member of the Vancouver Hack Space, goldfish has seen the maker scene in Vancouver grow and share in the last five years.

o

With the recent move to 270 East 1st Avenue, the Vancouver Hack Space is finally in a position to realize the goal that it has been working towards for the last five years. Come and hear about the humble beginnings of the Vancouver Hack Space and the slow and steady growth of this local member supported community.

o

o

1:00-2:00 – Emma Irwin & Helen Lee – Mozilla Foundation

o

Introduction to Mozilla Webmaker: Building a generation of webmakers

o

Emma Irwin - Mozilla FoundationEmma Irwin is a Senior Web Developer  focused on open source collaboration in higher education, most recently at Royal Roads University.  Emma is an advocate for web literacy, and regularly spends time organizing youth hackjams in her volunteer role as a Mozilla Rep. Emma believes very strongly in the power of  ‘Learning by Making’, a focus which regularly powers her contribution to Mozilla’s Webmaker project.  Emma is mom to three girls, all with very individual maker-powers!

o

o

Helen Lee - Mozilla FoundationHelen Lee is an E-Learning Technician at Royal Roads University and a recent graduate of Teachers College Columbia University where she completed her MA in Instructional Technology & Media. She also has a BA in Communications from Simon Fraser University.  While completing her Masters, Helen interned with The Mozilla Foundation where she worked with Hive NYC on the Hackasaurus project teaching youth HTML, CSS and other web making skills.  As a Mozillian, she volunteers and collaborates with other Webmakers in an effort to #teachtheweb by hosting webmaker workshops at schools, after-schools and local festivals.

o

Webmaker includes a collection of tools to help people become Makers on the web. X-Ray Goggles allows you to explore and remix any web page. Thimble helps you to make and share your own web page. Popcorn Maker lets you supercharge web video.

o

o

2:00-2:30 – Reilly Yeo – OpenMedia.ca

o

A Fair Deal for Users & Creators: Reinventing Copyright for the Digital Age

o

Reilly YeoReilly Yeo is the Managing Director of OpenMedia.ca. Reilly is an organizer, facilitator and writer with ten years of experience in the not-for-profit sector. She joined OpenMedia.ca in 2009 with a diverse professional and academic background including work with Amnesty International, The Walrus magazine and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. She led the organizing team for the first Vancouver ChangeCamp (an unconference on open government and participatory politics) and spent two years facilitating national in-person and online dialogues to rethink foreign policy through the SFU Centre for Dialogue. Reilly has MAs in Comparative Politics (McGill) and English Literature (UBC). She is a specialist in communications on complex issues.

o

OpenMedia is a network of people and organizations working to safeguard the possibilities of the open Internet, working towards informed and participatory digital policy and empowering people to participate in Internet governance through fresh & engaging citizens’ campaigns. OpenMedia is most well-known for coordinating Stop The Meter, the largest online campaign in Canadian history, involving over half-a-million people and proving that the pro-Internet community can come together and make change.

o

o

2:30-3:00 – Holly Cruise – HollyCruise.com

o

FUN with Glass: How to Work with Fire and Not Get in Trouble!

o

holly_cruiseHolly Cruise began her career in the arts at the age of 19 working for UrbanGlass, the New York Experimental Glass Workshop in Brooklyn, NY. She then moved to New Orleans, LA where she worked in a production glassblowing facility. Holly came to Vancouver in 1999, and began working for New-Small & Sterling Studio Glass. During this time she continued to pursue her careers as both a hot glass & flameworking glass artist, making work ranging from giant glass robots, to tiny glass birds. She is co-founder and Program Director of Terminal City Glass Co-op, Canada’s first non-profit co-operative glass arts studio.

o

Holly will guide the audience through her experience using fire to create art while safely navigating the hazards of the industry, both physical and regulatory. She will show and explain different techniques in glass making, and highlight the tools and gear used in the process.

o

o

3:00-3:30 – Zee Kessler – Maker Mobile

o

The Maker Mobile

o

Zee keslerZee Kesler left the Ontario College of Art and Design with a B.F.A. and an urge to create an inclusive community-based space outside of a gallery setting. Zee has worked in a variety of capacities as an Artist Intern with the Vancouver Park Board’s Artist In Communities Program, and as a workshop leader and installation artist at festivals and large public events.  Her personal practice is exploratory and multidisciplinary, utilizing found objects, soundscapes, collage and site-specific installations to explore ideas of inter-connectivity, personal and public space.

o

The Maker Mobile is a cube van cleverly transformed into a workspace for up to ten people. In this cool mobile laboratory, participants will experience the satisfaction of discovery and learn to be a creator, rather than a consumer of products and technology. The Maker Mobile was created by four teachers who want to share their love for building creative projects and get young people involved in Vancouver’s maker community.

o

o

3:30-4:00 – Amber Haase – Element Botanicals

o

DIY Body Care Products

o

Amber Haase - Element BotanicalsAmber Haase is the creator of Element Botanicals, purveyors of fine hand made body care. Amber has had a lifelong passion and interest in natural therapies and has earned certificates in herbalism, aromatherapy, botany and anatomy among others. Amber really enjoys getting crafty and showing others how to create their own natural treatments with stuff they’ve probably already got in or growing around their home…She and her husband/business partner Hardy live in rural BC where they enjoy making things, growing things and raising animals and two kids.

o

Amber will be showing the audience how to create body care products from scratch at home. Swing by and learn about the impressive effects of every day ingredients and what makes them work wonders…’Cause hey, its just your skin and you’re totally covered in it!

o

o

4:00-5:00 – Sabrina Hauser and Markus Lorenz Schilling

o

Programming with vvvv, a hybrid graphical & textual programming language

o

Sabrina Hauser is an interaction designer and design researcher currently doing her PhD at the School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT) at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Canada. She is originally from Germany, where she studied Information Science and Design and worked in academic guidance in the interaction design dept. of the design university HfG Schwäbisch Gmünd and as a lecturer. Her research interest include sustainable Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), interaction design, design for change, design activism, sustainable DIY practices, everyday design practices, practice theory, research through making/design, and design fictions.In her free time Sabrina can be found hiking and camping with her dog and friends, gardening, playing ukulele, diving around the Hawaiian islands, and cooking or baking vegan goodies.

o

Markus Lorenz SchillingMarkus Lorenz Schilling is an interaction designer and design researcher who recently graduaded from Hochschule für Gestaltung (HfG) Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany, a design university influenced by Ulm School of Design and Bauhaus. He is currently a grad student (MA) at School of Interactive Arts + Technology (SIAT) at Simon Fraser University (SFU). He is interested in embodied interaction, tangible interfaces, sustainable interaction design, DIY practises, and design teaching.

When not studying, designing or tinkering Markus can be found doing sports, seeing friends, reading books, listening to music, taking pictures and doing even more sports. Oh – and he thinks sandboxes are just fantastic.

o

Sabrina and Markus will be talking about vvvv, a programming language for creative folks, its use for easy prototyping, and demonstrate a variety of applications.

o







Meet Your Speakers: Wendy Tremayne, The Good Life Lab and Swap-O-Rama-Rama

Mikey and Wendy

Mikey and Wendy, photo (c) Wendy Tremayne

o

Wendy Tremayne is an Alpha Maker with multiple identities: forager, builder, herbalist, engineer, welder… just to name a few. She also former creative director of New York marketing firm Green Galactic, conceptual artist, yoga teacher, and fearless DIY homesteader in a former trailer park in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.

o

But one of the most interesting things about Wendy is that she creates value out of garbage.

o

  • That old washing machine? A big colander for washing harvests.
  • Camp cooler? A fermenter.
  • Caution tape? A dress!

o

…say what?!

o

A strong voice in the maker community, Wendy will be speaking at this year’s Vancouver Mini Maker Faire, where she’ll share ideas on how to live a decommodified life while improving one’s connection to the self, the land, and to other people.

o

Wendy’s forthcoming book, The Good Life Lab: Radical Experiments in Hands on Living lays out her inspiring principles and offbeat ideas. Part memoir, part DIY manual, the book tells story of how Wendy and her partner Mikey Kylar moved from NYC to Truth or Consequences, N.M., where they bought a one-acre abandoned RV park and remodelled a 40-year-old mobile home using mostly materials from the waste stream. You can read all about it on their blog Holy Scrap.

o

Her book offers tutorials on everything from making your own toothpaste to hacking your appliances, and is a must-read for anyone interested in developing their self-sufficiency.

o

In addition, Wendy created Swap-O-Rama-Rama: a community clothing swap where people get together, exchange used clothes and deconstruct them to make new duds using sewing machines and crafting tools. People are encouraged to explore their creativity, cover up branding, and make new works of art from the mix. These workshops based on her model now happen in one hundred cities across the continent, with one held here in February.

o

As an avid clothes swapper and alterer myself, I am really excited by this idea! In fact, a lot of Wendy’s ideas appeal to me. She’s interested in living less like a consumer and more like a creator, which is really inspiring – particularly for anyone who feels burdened by the never-ending quest for accumulating stuff.

o

Mikey and Wendy

Wendy and Mikey, photo (c) Wendy Tremayne

o

I caught up with Wendy over email about her book, her projects, and what she plans on bringing to Maker Faire, and here’s what she had to say:

o

What’s your book The Good Life Lab: Radical Experiments in Hands on Living all about?

o

WT: The book is part memoir and part tutorials. It begins with my story and my partner Mikey’s, of leaving the career track in NYC by quitting our jobs and moving out to rural New Mexico to find a life that has less to do with money; a decommodified life as a maker of things instead of a buyer of things. We made pledges that lead the way. These include: to not make decisions based on money, to live from the waste stream and from nature, and to make everything ourselves. We share how we addressed fundamental things like the cost of living, how we created a cottage industry, home manufacturing, and rediscovering our connection to nature.

o

In your book, you teach the art of making biofuel, appliances, structures, gardens, food, and medicine. What’s the strangest or most interesting thing you learned in the process of making all your own stuff?

o

WT: We tried to solve problems based on the best knowledge available in the moment, so our solutions were unusual. For months we towed a homemade mixer around the neighborhood. Each day we filled it with phone books and newspaper, and water. A blade inside the mixer chopped the paper into a pulp when it was pulled by our truck. We poured the mix into slabs and made a 300+ foot privacy wall that we then mortared with another paper mix. We learned that the local prickly pear cactus had been used by natives to make a water resistant finish, so we threw that in the mix too. Of course there was other experimentation as well: a paper couch, hundreds of blocks that when drying in the yard looked like a cemetery, a paper building. In no time our property was a kind of spectacle to tourists. I’ve found that once I begin making something I’m immediately captivated and everything else fades away. Once connected to a problem to solve, we are in the present moment and it’s exciting.

o

Wendy and the paper concrete mixer.

Wendy and the paper concrete mixer, photo (c) Holy Scrap, excerpted from The Good Life Lab (c) Wendy Jehanara Tremayne. Used with permission of Storey Publishing.

o

Wendy - paper concrete wall - Holy Scrap

Wendy and the paper concrete wall, photo (c) Holy Scrap

o

You also present reasons for makers to share their innovations and ideas through open source and creative commons licenses. Why is it important to share knowledge?

o

WT: Copyrights, patents, the model of franchises are examples of ways that civilization promotes the idea that there is not enough to go around. Capitalism requires consumption and consumption is based on a belief in scarcity. If we believed there was enough of everything, we wouldn’t bother trying to possess things or ideas. These artificial modes of securing ideas have creative people believing in the concept of a last good idea. After all, if we believed we were full of great ideas we’d easily give them all away. If we buy into this model and horde ideas and knowledge, then we spend our lives defending and protecting ideas instead of having them. Alternatively, when we give our ideas away, we become evidence that there is enough to go around. When knowledge is set free, humanity becomes abundant. When it is hoarded, a few become wealthy.

o

Can you tell us what attending a Swap-O-Rama-Rama is like?

o

WT: Swap-O-Rama-Rama is a stunning bazaar of irregularity. At a swap there is fastening, unknitting, grommeting, zip tying, painting, sewing, silk screening and things you just can’t imagine. Glue guns, seam rippers, looms, and blow dryers mingle with board game pieces, shoes, snaps and feathers. It is a textile wonder world that produces beautiful hybridizations made from waste.

o

Swap-O-Rama-Rama also produces stories. What people make themselves contains memory, experience, a reminder of a friend made, echoes of laughter from a moment that led to a creation. For this reason what is made at Swap-O-Rama-Rama does not get kicked to the curb like the donated goods that are the foundation of the event. Little tricks embed in the structure of the event prod people in the right directions.

o

For example, there are no mirrors. This encourages everyone to turn one another and say, “how do I look?”  Swap-O-Rama-Rama’s are remarkably diverse. In the default world we have grown accustomed to being divided by brands which segregate us by socio economic status and lifestyle. People of all ages, both genders, and every ethnicity attend Swap-O-Rama-Rama where brands are covered over and everyone identifies by what we all have in common, our creativity.

o
What will you be discussing at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire this year?

o

WT: I’m excited to tell folks about my book The Good Life Lab coming out on June 5th. Our decommodified lifestyle has led our kitchen to be more like a lab, and so we thought we’d share that by making and sharing yummy popsicles made on a DIY anti-griddle that “cooks” using dry ice.

o

Mikey and I will also share stories, tell what we got right and did wrong, give tips, and also invite contemplative questions to be considered. For example, it’s time that we all ask questions like, “what is the cost of these jobs?” and “is there a life that can be lived without making money a priority?” We’ll also share our conclusions, and what we’ve learned from living seven years as full-time makers of things without standard jobs. Mikey won’t be on the whole tour, so this is a great opportunity to meet him. We hope to see you!

o

____________

o

So check out Wendy’s talk at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire on Saturday, June 1.

o

Also, her book The Good Life Lab will be available at Maker Faire, on Amazon, and in stores June 5th. It’s got a ton of valuable resources for the homesteader, builder, crafter and philosopher alike. Not only is it is the manual for life in a post-consumer age, it’s peppered throughout with the most beautiful artwork contributed by a community of artists and illustrators. Take a look for yourself:

 o

Last Good Idea, Illustration (c) Sasha Prood/Illustration Division

Illustration (c) Sasha Prood/Illustration Division, excerpted from The Good Life Lab (c) Wendy Jehanara Tremayne. Used with permission of Storey Publishing.

o

o

Everything I Love, Illustration (c) Gina Triplett/Frank Sturges Reps

Illustration (c) Gina Triplett/Frank Sturges Reps, excerpted from The Good Life Lab (c) Wendy Jehanara Tremayne. Used with permission of Storey Publishing.

o

o

GoodLifeLab_3D

o

The Good Life Lab

By Wendy Jehanara Tremayne

$22.95 CAN

Storey Publishing, June 2013

Distributed exclusively in Canada through Thomas Allen and Sons

0
o

With the advent of fast fashion more than 68 pounds of clothing and textiles are disposed of per person per year in North America.  Let’s try to turn this around from the ground up by using creativity and innovation! Drop by Charcoal Couture at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire with an unwanted T-shirt or two from your closet for their donation box and receive 10% off a purchase from their up-cycled kids clothing, eclectic button and jewelry selection.

o

Haven’t got your Vancouver Mini Maker Faire day tickets yet?

o

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!

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

0
o







MADE IN VANCOUVER: Meet a Sponsor, Zaber Technologies

Zaber L-R: left to right: Andrew "Bruce" Lau, Rob Steves, and Jesse Schuhlein.

o

In 1997, Andrew “Bruce” Lau (left, above) and a group of friends from engineering school dreamed of starting their own business. With diverse interests and knowledge of electro-mechanical systems, programming, and physics, the group formed Zaber Technologies. The company designed and manufactured a variety of products (a rowing machine and a 3D scanner to name a few) before settling on precision robotics.

o

In the late nineties, precision linear actuators used DC motors with gearbox and encoders. They required complicated motion control cards, bulky controllers, separate driver amplifiers and special power supplies.

0

In short: precision motion control was:
•    expensive
•    difficult to set up
•    and cumbersome to use.

o

So the group recognized the need for an inexpensive, integrated solution for motion control. They wanted to make motion control products that were easy to set up and ready to use right out of the box, so they created the world’s first precision linear actuator with a built-in controller. It was based on a stepper motor instead of a DC motor, gearbox, and encoder combination.

o

Now with more than 30 employees, Zaber Technologies manufactures motion-control products for a variety of uses, including bio-technology, optics, physics and industrial applications.

o

I sat down with Andrew to find out more about Zaber, what makes it an inspiring local company, and why they’re a strong supporter of the Maker community.

o

Who uses your products?

o

ABL: They’ve been used to find cures for cancer, for space-bound instrumentation, drug discovery, lab automation, a space elevator… even for tracking worms! Basically it’s a tool for people to use, like a very elaborate screwdriver.

o

Zaber - row of products on a shelf

o

You’re a Vancouver-owned and operated company. Can you tell us what this means and why it’s important to you?

o

ABL: We are fully employee owned, which means that all our shareholders are current or former employees, and all our employees get stock options. If you ask me, a business exists to support the people who work there — not the other way around. At Zaber, we treat everybody the same. Though we’re a growing company, we still have that small company feel, and in order to create this you need to care about the culture and the people.

o

Also, I think it’s really important to think locally when manufacturing products. Our customers are based all around the world, but the electronics we manufacture are created right here in Vancouver.  We don’t want to outsource overseas just because it’s cheaper. For example, when we work with a local supplier to manufacture circuit boards, we visited their shop to make sure they have high work-place standards. We understand every aspect of our process, and this includes the environmental impact.

o

Speaking of the environment, how important is sustainability to Zaber Technologies?

o

ABL: Very important. We do our own composting. We recycle everything. We have a secure bike shed. We’ve even won Bike to Work week for the past four years!

o

I think as a Maker it’s really important to understand the upstream and downstream of your products. You can’t ignore the fact that after you’re done making something, it will end up somewhere, so this is why all of our parts are replaceable. This means that a customer can return a product that was made 10 years ago and we will repair it and send it back to them. In fact, this just happened the other day.

o

Why did Zaber choose to sponsor Maker Faire?

o

ABL: The culture at Zaber is rooted in making things from scratch instead of accepting the status quo. Everyone here makes things in their spare time, and we all believe in DIY culture. We think it’s important to understand how things are made.

o

Also, at Zaber we think that Makers are really good employees. People who make things with their hands, they fit in well with the culture here. Vancouver Mini Maker Faire is a really good organization benefitting a lot of really smart, motivated and passionate people, so it means a lot to us to give back to this community. And we hope that in turn, Maker Faire will help us grow our community.

o

Zaber - Dave working with product
__________________________

o

So visit Zaber’s booth at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire on June 1 and 2 to learn more about the work they do and the company they’re creating. Oh, by the way Zaber is always looking for passionate makers. If you want a job, don’t forget to tell them what you make!







Early Bird Tickets Available This Month Only

VMMF 2012 01 - low res

 

Vancouver’s biggest show and tell is happening June 1-2, and early-bird tickets are on sale through the end of April!

0
Vancouver Mini Maker Faire will feature more than 100 makers who will demonstrate skills such as puppetry, electronics, computer hacking, music-making, quilting, farming and virtual reality. It’s where art meets science, craft meets utility, and farmer’s market meets backyard forum.

0
If you’re in the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island or the Fraser Valley, we encourage you to plan to spend at least one entire day, if not the whole weekend, at this event showcasing the ingenuity and creativity of people and groups from all over the area.

0
Weekend passes are $20 for adults, $14 for students and $10 for children. So grab one for you and your family to take part in the city’s biggest skill swap!

0
And, if you want to help make the event happen, volunteer signup is open too.

0
“There’s something for everybody at a Maker Faire,” says VMMF Creative Director Emily Smith (pictured above). “It brings together all of the local community groups to share what they are doing, while immersed in a spectacle of fun and excitement.”

0
See you all at the Faire!







Vancouver Mini Maker Faire + Mom = Bliss

Vancouver’s second annual Mini Maker Faire witnessed a sea of smiling faces two weekends ago, as local makers shared, entertained and inspired the city’s hungry minds.

 

Being a volunteer, I was eager to share the experience, so I invited my parents along.

 

There was plenty to see and do — but what first? 3D printer village? Perfume mixing? Soldering? Painting with bikes? Felted beads? Mushboo? Disaster Area?

 

More than 100 makers were busy tinkering, weaving, hacking, playing handmade horns, drawing with robots, and carving faces out of sand.

 

It was a thrill for the senses and a feast for the mind.

 

During a short break, and in between bites of scrumptious pakora, I asked my mom what she thought of the event.

 

“It reminds me of the mentality we had in the 60s and 70s, you know, getting back to the garden,” she mused. “Everybody wanted to make their own things — clothes, macramé, growing their own food, working with leather. Only people would do it in small groups. Nobody would have put an event together like this.”

 

Right on! A gold star from my mom! And she’s right on too. The event is organic. It’s educational. It’s loopy and it’s kooky, but most of all it’s fun. It’s a nerd’s paradise, no matter what kind of nerd you are.

 

As I listened to my mom speak, I looked inside my purse full of little handmade trinkets, some of which I made myself onsite. I felt so inspired.

 

“It’s the beginning of something,” she said. “I’m not sure what exactly. It feels like Circle Craft, deconstructed.”

 







Meet Your Makers: Al Roback of Grass Frame Works

 

Ever wanted a bike frame that’s completely sustainable and totally unique? Vancouver’s Grass Frame Works has just the thing: a bicycle made from bamboo.

 

Al Roback spent time researching the varieties and uses of bamboo and had the inspiration to start building bamboo bicycles when he was studying in Asia.

 

When he’s not on the production line, he spends his time finding materials and parts for Grass Frames’ bikes, sourcing them as locally and sustainably as possible. In fact, sustainability is one of Grass Frames’ top priorities. Their frames are manufactured from bamboo poles, hemp fibre, aluminium fittings and plant-oil derived epoxy. They constantly source out the most ethically grown bamboo and most eco-friendly products on the market, while also cutting down on waste in the production process.

 

Driven by a need for local, innovative, and sustainable manufacturing, they also offer a course teaching others to build their own frame. Here’s what Al had to say about his influences, the bike-making process, and what he plans to bring to this year’s Maker Faire.

 

 

How did you come up with the idea for making bamboo bicycles?

 

I was studying in Asia and noticed the way they used bamboo in construction of buildings and furniture. Being a cyclist and a woodworker, it got my mind going. What started a a side project ended up being a really great bike.

 

How important is sustainability to you, and how does this influence your product development?

 

Sustainability is one of Grass Frames top priorities. We constantly source out the most ethically grown bamboo and most Eco friendly products on the market while cutting down on waste in the production process.  It really results in better quality bikes in the end.

 

Are you the first company ever to manufacture bamboo bikes?

 

I wish I could claim that! Bamboo bicycles have been around for a long time. They were making them in England at the turn of the century and now in Australia, Asia and the USA there are companies that have been making them for a few years. But we’re proud to be the first company in Canada to making bamboo bicycles.

 

 

I gotta ask, how durable is a bamboo bike frame, and how much does one cost?

 

The bikes are incredibly durable. Because they are bound at each end, the bamboo will keep its structural integrity even if it were to crack in a situation like being hit by a vehicle. We do offer a 10-year warranty with each of our bikes. We’re extremely confident on their durability. The frame alone is $2000 and a full bicycle starts at $3000.

 

What do you plan on bringing / demonstrating at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire this year?

 

We will have the bikes out with us, be doing some fun demonstrations on the durability of bamboo, and showing people how we build our frames. We might even build a frame at the Faire to show our process.

 

Awesome!

 

Meet the Grass Frame Works team at Maker Faire tomorrow, or visit their website for product and ordering info.







Meet Your Makers: David Gowman – The Legion of Flying Monkeys Horn Orchestra

 

David Gowman, or Mr. Fire-Man as he’s better known online, is a prolific instrument-maker, performer, orchestra leader and culture creator.

 

Mr. Fire-Man creates events that allow viewers to become participators. He trains volunteers to act as ‘shills,’ or prepared performers hidden in the audience. He also creates physical artworks (horns made from local, natural materials), and composes song structures that allow simple interactions to happen – such as a ‘Call and Response’ song.

 

The result of such meticulous preparation is not only to make musical instruments, but also to create a cultural moment that sicks in participants’ memories. The result is a unique event where the barrier between performer and audience is removed, resulting in the union of creator and consumer.

 

From his Maker Faire bio:

 

“In 2002 I made a horn from a stick of elderberry wood. It took about two hours of labour to produce a sound. Nine years later, a band called the Legion of Flying Monkeys Horn Orchestra entertains with the descendants of that horn (there are over forty as of last count). Looking back, that simple act of burning a shaft through the pith to make a chamber was a turning point leading to a near decade of music, interactive art and instrument making.”

 

As I learned more about him, I became more and more intrigued. Homemade horns? More than forty of them? All made from natural materials? Combined to create a Horn Orchestra? And anyone can take part??

 

Supercool!

 

So I caught up with Mr. Fire-Man to find out more about his work, and hear what he plans to demonstrate at this year’s Maker Faire.

 

What’s the The Legion of Flying Monkeys Horn Orchestra all about? Can you describe your sound?

 

The Legion of Flying Monkeys is an interactive art project that happens to have an orchestra specializing in singalong music. We also have monkey puppets, parades of clowns, diabolical corporate geneticists and dangerously hypnotic lounge experiences, but perhaps for this interview I should focus on the orchestra.

 

Our sound is midway between Circus Sideshow and Zombie Apocalypse, though you should judge for yourself.

 

You make horns from local, natural materials such as old felt hats, hardwood branches, the dried stems of giant cow parsnip and papier mache. What are your favourite materials to work with, and why?

 

My current favourite material is empresswood because of its ease of carving, lightweight nature and speed of growth. Also, I am cultivating it locally at the Means of Production Garden with some success.  A well pruned empress will produce 18 feet of new, hollow growth in a season.

 

 

A neat thing about your live events is how they allow the viewers to become participants. Can you tell us more about how this works?

 

Most of our songs have an interactive element, meaning a part that the audience can sing (or yell as the case may be). Simple structures such as a call and response style facilitate easy entrance into the spirit of participation even for the uninitiated.

 

How can someone check out your events? When do they happen, and where  are they located?

 

My events are always posted on my website. Currently we’re playing Midsummer Fete at Colony Farms on Sunday June 24th, the Jazz Fest on Saturday July 1 in David Lam Park, the Railway Club on Wednesday July 18th (9pm) and Maker Faire before all of these, on the Saturday afternoon.

 

What do you plan on bringing / demonstrating at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire this year? How interactive will it be?

 

I’ll be bringing several horns for random visitors to try, many alcohol wipes to disinfect them in-between, and a huge selection of razor sharp tools for children to handle (just kidding). You can expect loud horn blasts to emanate from my booth throughout the day.

 

 







Meet Your Makers: Rachael Ashe

 

Rachael Ashe is an emerging Vancouver artist working in the mediums of altered books, photography and collage. She often works with recycled materials and found objects to create three-dimensional altered books and mixed-media collage.

 

As well, she plays with paper, paint, rubber stamps, reclaimed papers, and old book pages to create her work. This particular piece is my favourite:

 

 

Her compositions feature whimsical scenes inspired by the natural world, and she combines colour, texture, and striking compositions to create imagery that is personal and expresses a love of imagination.

 

Being a bit of a book nerd (not just in terms of reading, but in terms of collecting idiosyncratic, book-related things), I was excited to pick Rachael’s brain to find out what she plans to demonstrate at this year’s Maker Faire, and to learn more about her artistic process.

 

Your work is beautiful, and I am a particular fan of your altered books. Can you walk me through your creative process?

 

Opus Art Supplies recently did a video feature about my work, and gives the viewer a terrific view of my process:

 

 

My process is iterative and often spontaneous. I do my best work when I get out of the way and let the ideas flow. With respect to the altered book work I create, the compositions I come up with are either inspired by a particular material or object I’d like to incorporate into a book, or because I’m experimenting with a new way of manipulating the pages through cutting, folding, etc. Most of the books I use to create altered books end up with me because someone no longer wanted them.

 

 

You often use recycled materials and found objects to make your art. What is the most unique found object you’ve ever worked with?

 

The most unique found object I’ve worked with to date would have to be a crow’s foot. I was working on a series called, Forgotten Knowledge, which combined natural found objects with a set of encyclopedias. I just happened to come across it in a park, and decided to use the foot in one of the books after carefully preserving it. I’ve also used bones in my compositions a few times.

 

 

Who / where do you look to for inspiration?

 

I get inspired by the materials I work with, and by the challenge of coming up with new ways of working, but the content of my work is heavily influenced by nature. I also make a point of meeting up with my fellow artists and makers because I get inspired and energized by sharing ideas with others.

 

Your work has been shown in cities all over North America and in the UK. Is there something about your work that makes it distinctly Canadian, or West Coast?

 

I’ve managed to show outside of Canada because I sought out those opportunities. I don’t really feel my work is distinctly Canadian or West Coast. I actually feel my work doesn’t fit very well at all into the Vancouver art scene.

 

What do you plan on bringing / demonstrating at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire this year?

 

As with last year, I’ll be displaying some of my recent work. I’ll also have a second table set up for people to hang out and make things from books and book pages. I recently acquired a donation of materials from a law library decommissioning some of their collection, and I’m bringing some of these along for people to work with. I won’t be teaching a formal workshop, just offering suggestions and guidance if needed. I’m curious to see what people will want to make, as it can be difficult for people to get their heads around working with books as a material.

 

Stunning!

 

Check our more of Rachael’s work on her website, twitter, and Facebook.