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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Terminal City Glass Co-op-

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







Meet Your Makers: Dan Royer, Makelangelo

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On May 3rd, I brought my camera and visited Dan Royer, who will have a table again this year at Maker Faire. He will be displaying Makelangelo: an art robot you put together yourself that produces 2D renderings of any image using a single line.

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Dan is a member at our local hackerspace, VHS, and he’s been diligently prototyping his kits all year. His dream is to see these being built by 6th graders.

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In this video, Dan talks about making robots for a living, what he will be bringing to Maker Faire this year, his next big robot-making project. He also shares some advice for people who want to get started making things and building robots.

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“It’s really easy to get started in robots these days. All you need is cardboard, hot glue, servos, Arduino, and a 9 volt battery, and you are off to the races.” – Dan Royer

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Dan sells his Drawbot kits online. The kit includes a 3D printed pen holder, 2 stepper motors, a 12v2a power supply, 2 3D printed bobbins, an Adafruit Stepper shield, and (optionally), an Arduino UNO. The kit requires no soldering or wire cutting, and is perfect for use in a classroom.

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

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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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Vancouver Maker Foundation connects Educators, Librarians, Makers and Enthusiasts

In line with the Vancouver Maker Foundation‘s mission to build a strong and vibrant community of makers in our city, we hosted a meet-up last Thursday the 9th- to connect families, leaders, educators, mentors and organizations in order to start a dialogue around the impact of integrating more of the Maker Ethos at the level of education and community programming.
 
The event was a great success! We have decided to turn this into a monthly thing. If you are interested in coming to future meet-ups, please sign up to our Meet-up group. A big thanks to Mozilla, who sponsored the evening, and future meet-ups to come!

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Meet Your Makers: Colin Johnson, The Emperor’s Cabinet

Wooden AT-AT

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If you’ve passed by 6th and Main recently, then you may have noticed the amazing Wooden AT-AT in the window of Hot Art Wet City Gallery & Shop. Woodbutcher Colin Johnson is the artist responsible for this eye-catching piece of wonder, and it’s coming to Maker Faire!

 

May LaForge Be With You: A tribute to Star Wars and Star Trek

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It’s also being featured at an art show called May LaForge Be With You, dubbed “an epic art battle between two sci-fi favourites: Star Wars and Star Trek.” The opening reception is tonight from 7-11 pm (details below).

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I haven’t even gotten to the best part—it’s a fully functional liquor cabinet! Booze and Star Wars: two things that make me the life of the party. I asked Colin a few questions about the liquor cabinet that I would happily sell a kidney to own.

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DY: You must be a huge Star Wars fan. What made you decide to turn it into a liquor cabinet or was that your idea all along?

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CJ: Yes, I am a huge SW fan. I didn’t know it was going to be a wet bar when I started, but I did know I wanted it to contain something. (I was toying with the idea of a diorama of some kind.) I would like to say I had a lofty reason for making it, but I made it for notoriety.

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DY: How long did it take you?

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CJ: It took about 600 hours (give or take 100).

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DY: You describe yourself as a Woodbutcher. Has this always been your preferred medium?

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CJ: I started making things with Lego. When I found Lego to be too limiting I started using paper. Now I mostly work in wood. It is my preferred medium but have dabbled in plastics and some metal.

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DY: When I was at the gallery today, everyone who was waiting for the bus was totally into it. What kind of reactions have you gotten from people?

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CJ: People love it! Some of the reactions have been very animated.

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Colin Johnson will be at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire on June 1 and 2, but catch him tonight at Hot Art Wet City for the opening of May LaForge Be With You.

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Hot Art Wet City, 2206 Main Street, Vancouver
Thursday May 9 – Saturday June 1, 2013
OPENING RECEPTION TONIGHT: Friday, May 10 from 7-11pm

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Meet The Crafters: Heidi Liao, My Secret Cravings

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After searching high and low for the perfect cake topper for her wedding cake and coming up empty, Heidi Liao decided to make her own using the clay molding skills she learned in pottery class. It was such a hit with family and friends that she decided to try her hand at making clay jewelry. Now Heidi specializes in handcrafting tiny food in jewelry form. I contacted her for a Q&A before her very first experience in the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire. Here’s what she had to say about her craft.

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SV: First off, why food? Are you a big foodie and wanted to bring that into your crafting?

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HL: I was never a foodie growing up so it’s ironic that I decided to make food-themed jewelry. But I thought food is appealing to everybody, and it can be made to look so delicious! Making non-edible food is almost as good as making real food!

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SV: Where do you get your inspiration?

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HL: I get my inspiration mostly from bakery shops and Pinterest.

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SV:  Once you decide on the treat, how long does it typically take you to make a piece? What’s your process?

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HL: Initially, it takes me around 15-20 minutes to make each item. As I get more familiar with the colour and texture of the piece, it takes less time. I start each piece by mixing the colour of the clay. Then I start molding the clay to the shape I want and continue working at it until I get the proportion right. Once I’m happy with it, I send it to the toaster oven to bake. After baking, I let it cool and then put on toppings, if any, and then let it dry. Lastly, I finish with a glaze to seal the colour and apply any findings (if it’s a pair of earrings). Once that’s done, it’s packaged and then ready to be shipped to the customer.

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SV: What’s your favourite piece in your collection?

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HL: The mint chocolate ice cream cone stud earrings (below). I love the way the colour really stands out and I think they’re perfect for summer!

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SV: Of course I have to ask — what’s your favourite secret craving?

 

HL: Even though I’m not a huge foodie, I really do love ice cream. My favourite ice cream flavours are matcha green tea and black sesame. And I also love anything potato, especially sour cream & onion chips and fries, of course!

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Make sure you visit Heidi’s booth June 1-2 to check out all her adorable wares. You can also find her sweet treats on Etsy. Oh and don’t forget to get your tickets for Vancouver Mini Maker Faire!

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*photos courtesy of Heidi Liao






Visiting Vancouver Hack Space: 3D Printer Night

People gathered around 3D printers at Vancouver Hack Space

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Have you ever been to Vancouver Hack Space? VHS is a self-organized, inclusive collective of makers, AND a space to collaborate on projects, that will be coming to Maker Faire again this year! I visited VHS for the first time this past Wednesday, May 1st, and it was a really cool time to be there, because it was their second monthly 3D printer night!

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A 3D printer at work

A 3D printer at work

 

Close-up of a 3D print being made

Close-up of a 3D print being made

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While I signed a simple safety waiver to be in the workshop space, people were setting up 3D printers they brought from home. Armed with long spools of ABS plastic to print things out of, they were ready for some requests!

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After an hour or so, the crowd had settled down, smaller conversations had broken out, and it was a lot more social while people helped each other out with technical challenges.

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It was exciting and overstimulating for me, and the space was pretty tight for the crowd of almost 30 people. However, our host for the evening, Dan Royer, made a special announcement: VHS is officially moving to a new space!

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Dan Royer hosts 3D printer night

Dan Royer hosts 3D printer night

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VHS is presently stationed at 45 W Hastings St, with an entrance that opens from the ground floor in a low-lit back alley leading up a set of rickety stairs. It can be a bit of a scary experience for some people.

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The inside is well-lit, but tight, and densely packed with maker tools and supplies, shown below.

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VHS at the end of the night

VHS at the end of the night

 

Machine tools at VHS

Machine tools at VHS

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In the new space at 270 East 1st Avenue, VHS will have an extra 2000 square feet to fill, which they plan on dividing into two areas, with one room designated for CNC machines and power tools and other equipment, and another room for collaborative learning and other quieter projects.

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Below is a photosphere I shot of the new VHS space on Friday March 3. You can click and drag around in to see the space, and use your mouse’s scrollwheel to zoom.

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(View full screen photosphere of the new location for Vancouver Hack Space in a new tab)

 

VHS aims to complete the move in 30 days, just in time to invite everyone who sees them at Maker Faire to visit them in their new home.

 

Learn more about VHS’s move and find out how to help.

 

Donatio(n) at VHS







Maker Music: Meet Your Artists: Legs

‘Legs’ (Frederick Brummer)

Since the beginning of 2012 sonic mastermind Frederick Brummer has been working on a new musical project.
It’s called Legs.

 
 

In a nutshell Legs is live electronic dance music. He plays beats and bass on an array of hardware.

 
 

Legs has it’s very own website here:
http://legsss.com/ 
 

and more tracks online here:
https://soundcloud.com/legsss








Meet Your Makers: The Robots of Dan Royer

 

Hannah Miller interviewed Dan Royer

 

 

Dan Royer is coming to VMMF 2012 with a robot entourage. In this video, he talks about the moment he realised he needed something more fulfilling to dedicate himself to – and why robots are it for him.

 

 

 

 

What’s the first thing you can remember making earlier in life?

 

The first popular moving device that I made was a small mechano rotary fan that looked like a scale model of a windmill that I brought into the portables at my grade school in grade 5 or 6. I was the only kid who had a fan in this blistering hot little sweat box so I was quite popular. It was one of the few times that I was!

 

 

What is it like to be part of the Maker community at Vancouver Hack Space?

 

There are definitely minds here that think differently from mine. The projects that I work on tend to be big and complicated and they take a long time and a lot of patience. I see some people here who come up with simple things that can be done in minutes, that are beautiful to look at and just the concept alone – everyone gets it right off the bat. I just go, wow, because I don’t think that way. I’m so focussed on my goal and there was this beautiful thing off to the side and I wouldn’t have seen it, even if I was looking at it.

 

 

Since this is your second Vancouver Mini Maker Faire, what can we expect this weekend?

 

As a maker, expect to be standing on your feet for two days, expect to lose your voice, bring your water and your lunch prefaced and you will be smiling from ear to ear the entire time.

As a person who is visiting the Faire, pretty much the same thing. The few times I took a break and said watch my table I’m going to go around, I was just…I didn’t know where to look next, I was all over the place! There was a giant crab that walked. There was a woman making glass beads outside and you could participate and make your own glass marbles. There were paper planes that were flying around. There were all kinds of things that were lit up and moving that responded. There were sounds. There was some kind of thing you danced in front of and on a screen it showed you dancing there, but it was funky technology changed around…I don’t know how to put it. There were people with CNC machines – there’s a whole 3D printer village this year! Last year there were two 3D printers and a laser cutter. It’s grown enormously and it’s just going to be fantastic. I expect to be thoroughly awed.

 

 

 







Meet Your Makers: Barry Shell of Perfumes by Hido

 

Hannah Miller interviewed perfumer Barry Shell.

 

Barry Shell Amateur Perfumer

 

A organic chemist turned perfumery hobbyist, Barry Shell will be bringing his extensive collection of natural essential oils and other odorous compounds to VMMF. Barry introduced me to olfactory stimuli I’d never even heard of, let alone smelt – including something made from whale poop! Look for his booth this weekend so that you can make your own custom perfume sample, instead of just listening to me smell mine in the clip below.

 

 

One final question: Is there a scent that you wish you could bottle?

 

Sure, there’s tonnes of them. You know when you go on a hot summer day to a lake in the mountains and the rocks and the moss are sort of baking in the sun…you know, that smell.

 

 

If you’re interested in Barry’s comments about our inability to digitise smell, he’s written a great article on it here.

 







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.