Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Flaming Hula Hoop

One of the cool things we saw at Maker Faire was Adelyn Botto and her flaming hula hoop act. I also have some video of it and as soon as I can get Stefan to show me how to edit and post it I'll put it up. She whirls this hoop around her waist and neck. Don't try this at home!

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Brain Machine

Here are Stefan and I trying out the Brain Machine at Maker Faire. These photos were taken by maltman23 (Mitch Altman). There are lots of photos of people trying out the Brain Machine at Altman's Flickr site, as well as pics of people building their own Brain Machine. Altman is the inventor of the Brain Machine and also the TV-B-Gone, a really souped up universal remote control which will turn off any TV, including those annoying public area TV's.

Ralph made one of the Brain Machines at the Faire. If I understand what Ralph said, Altman recorded himself while meditating, converted it to digital sound and light, and made the Brain Machine to guide the brain through the various levels of brain wave activity that a person meditating achieves. Ralph has been hogging them since we got back so I haven't really had a chance to try them much yet. They do seem relaxing though.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Broom Straw Casting, or Ralph is Melting Things Again

When we went to Maker Faire we saw several Austin jewelry artists demonstrating techniques. Michiel Rushing was demonstrating broom straw casting. Ralph was inspired to do some himself. The first picture shows the silver being melted.

Now he's pouring the molten silver into a broom head that has been soaked in water and bound with twine.

This is the resulting casting. I'll probably cut the piece into two pieces. They will have to be cleaned with a brush and then a pickle solution. Then they'll be either drilled or have a ring soldered onto them for pendants or maybe I'll make that top one into a pin.

Sometime in the future I'll have a blog going up on Metal Chik showing our photos of Michiel Rushing doing the broom casting.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

More Pictures from Maker Faire

I'll have to look up what this "ride" is called. Right now I'll just call it Big Wheel. When I get Stefan to show me how to process videos I'll put up a video of this. It was moving down the sidewalk when I took this. Below is a close up. Yes, there are people in the center.

This is a moving inter-active sculpture. There are little music boxes riveted all over the outside. When you turn the crank on the tiny music box, the music is amplified by the shape of the sculpture. Stefan is in the middle here.

Here's a better shot of the detail and Stefan.

This is a second sculpture. This one has large strings across the top.

This painting was done in dust on the back windshield.

Detail of the painting.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Maker Faire Austin Art Cars

We went to Maker Faire last weekend in Austin and had a blast. I took 100 pictures, many of which will make their way to this blog, or to my blogs on Metal Chik. These are some of the art cars shown there. The first one is the Yarn Car. I've seen a lot of pictures of it on Flickr so it must have been a favorite with a lot of people. We talked to the owner who said he used acrylic yarn. He had driven it down from Dallas.

I really liked this VW. The decor is mosaic work and it was very well done.

This car looks kind of like a post apocalyptic armored bug.

Here is the Brick Car. There are 870 pounds of brick all over the car.

Two views of the Camera Van are shown here. Stefan is looking at one of the many video screens in the first one, and Ralph and Stefan are inspecting the vehicle in the second picture. The Camera Van is by Harrod Blank. Here's what the promotional info says about it: "An interactive Art Car that was inspired by an actual dream, the Camera Van has the ability to capture the amazed reactions of people who see it for the first time. Of the 2,500 cameras mounted to the van, six are functional Canons that shoot print film, and two are operational video cameras that transmit live images to the giant "filmstrip" composed of four TV monitors on the passenger side of the vehicle. One of the best-known Art Cars in the world, the Camera Van has toured the US, England, Germany, and Canada capturing shocked expressions in over 5,000 photos."

This one is kind of humorous.

Here is a car being decorated at the faire. This is an interactive art car build sponsored by HEYA. This HEYA project was made possible by Toyota and was hosted by HEYA and Harrod Blank.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Back from Revel

Actually, I got back last Sunday, but I just now feel like I am recovering. It was a good show, but very tiring. Every day was 12 to 15 hours. It was probably a good thing I was an alternate for the first half and didn't get called since just doing the second half was so tiring.

The Red River Revel volunteers took really good care of us and the food was great. One unusual thing was the train track that ran literally through the site. It was about twenty feet from the front of my booth. Here is a picture of one of the three trains that went through during the four days I was there:

One of the volunteers told me that they had rerouted most trains for the event. During previous years they had had to station police officers on either side of the track to keep pedestrians back when the train crossed. Gee, you'd think people would stay back from a huge train. However, this is a pedestrian plaza and many people thought the track was no longer in use. I did, until a train came down it. There is NO barrier here at this track. I was astounded to see several parents holding small children by the hand standing three feet from one of the trains that came through. NUTS!

Here is a picture looking across the track, without a train on it. You can see the trestle bridge for the other train tracks that border the site. There is a fence separating them from the site though. There was a lot of traffic on those tracks.

There are also a couple of Native Americans women in this shot. I wish I had a better picture of their dress because it was impressive. There's a belly dancer behind the red balloon also.

I wanted to get a picture of the crowds shopping, but the vendor tents were arrayed in a big U and I was at the top of the U without a good site line down any row. It was a good location though, better than last year. Of course, when it was really crowded I didn't have time to get out of the booth and take pictures.

I sold some of my new designs at this show, so now I'll make some more. I sold all the crocheted bracelets I had and a number of the CZ wire wrapped earrings.

All of this takes place in Shreveport, Louisiana. The Revel site is downtown about a block from the casinos and the river.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Where a Few Dollars Makes a Difference

You've probably heard of micro-lending. Small loans are made to help people start or improve small businesses in poverty stricken parts of the world. A mother may use the money to buy a milk cow, sell the milk to her neighbors and give some to her children. Her children have a better diet and are healthier. She has income and can now afford to pay for their schooling. The money is paid back and later she may get another loan for another cow to increase her income.

I've always thought that if I were rich, I'd set up a foundation to do that. But guess what? There is an organization, Kiva, that will take as little as $25.00 from regular folks like you and me and put it toward loans. You can browse through the applications and pick the ones you like the best. I loaned some money to a Pakistani woman, Naila Sajid, who is using the loan for her beauty parlor business. I also loaned to Rita Ruiz, a seamtress in Mexico.

Kiva has been profiled quite a bit lately in various media, including Oprah, former President Clinton's book Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World, and the Today Show.

I keep thinking that there must be a way for micro lending to work in the United States. I'm talking about amounts under $5,000.00. It would be ideal for those who want to work from their home at occupations like sewing and alterations, day care centers, etc.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Blogging for Metal Chik

After posting the feed for the Metal Chik video on my Indiepublic page I received an email from Lindsey Chen, who works on the show. To make a short story shorter I am now blogging on Metal Chik. I'm pretty excited about it. My first blog on Metal Chik, Lean and Clean Wire Jewelry, was published October 5th. It's about Kathy Frey and her new book Elegant Wire Jewelry.