Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day Thirty-Seven: Math Teacher Design Kits

Good math is like your first bike. There's a moment when, you suck a deep breath in. Exhale. Inhale. Then you're off, knees a little shaky, pedaling like the wind, hoping you won't fall again. Desperate not to fall again, then hoping you'll fall again just to take the nervous butterflies out of your stomach, and suddenly it clicks. You realize in the back of your mind, "I am riding a bike." Then it becomes a more confident, "Yes, I am riding a bike." And finally a mental cheer "I AM RIDING A BIKE. ME. "

You never forget that moment. Your muscles burn the memory into themselves. Math is just like that. Once you get the concept, your mind prints it deep inside. There for your own enjoyment, to be dusted off and ridden any sunny day.

Math, like riding a bike or driving a car, is a concept, a set of rules. Rules that can free you. It's how you use it that's important. And like a riding a bike, it's very simplicity causes it to be frequently overlooked. Lawmakers who quote the importance of math, often miss that like bikes, math comes in different flavors. While the action is the same, the delivery may vary. What fits one person, may be a total disaster for another.

These past two weeks, I was asked to talk about high school math algebra and geometry that I use on a daily basis as a professional designer to provide a different perspective from the traditional engineer and science guest lecturers at NC State. It was a great cross-over of perspective. Several of the teachers asked if I would be interested in designing kits for their students to create something they could actually make and after some prototyping and tweaking, NC State's STEM office and I are looking at collaborating this fall on a series of videos and kits for teachers to use math to design custom fashion creations to take home. We are working out the details now, I will be able to tell you more as it progresses. My hope in doing this is that teachers get a practical real world application and the students learn how make math work for them. It is especially helpful for those more creative types.

We will be covering making custom boots, wallets, belts, bags, gloves, and hats. You may follow for free on the STEM site or youtube. If you would like to try your own hand (or someone you love hands), you are welcome to order the kits for $20 each off Etsy:

Our first kit is called the Algebra Tote and features all the tools necessary to make a full-sized take home tote bag and is divided up into 3 easy lesson plans. Ideally it's meant for use on a sewing machine and takes about an hour and a half total, but it can also be done by hand:

Part One: Designing your bag, point and line graphing
Part Two: Finding Area
Part Three: Finding Volume

Each section is geared to take 30 min, and your total time to teach the entire plan will range from 1-3 hrs. depending on skill level.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Day Thirty-Six: Custom Engraved Fur Cards

Today's idea is brought to you courtesy of our fabulous intern, Ella Brooks. She's doing a really great job and has been tinkering the past few weeks to create working fur engraving. Most of this involves burning A LOT of fur. And rabbit fur offically smells awful engraved. I do not recommend it. I've been somewhat obsessed with the idea for a while of treating fur like leather, but like many ideas, a lot of trial and error is required to make a working copy. Ella finally nailed it today in cowhide and I am happy to say, the results were better than expected. She also created fur labels and leather business cards. You can check all of them out in the etsy shop:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Yoxi "Trim the Waste Bags" on Etsy

Just got back from a lovely road trip up to West Virginia. We submitted the awesome "Trim the Waste" video with help from Tanner Williams at LuckyFoxMedia and Franklin Keel at Sirius B. Music for Now just have to wait a few days to see if we officially got accepted to the competition. The song is off of Sirius's Robot Soldier Monkey CD. A big thanks to everyone for all your help! Wow, it would not have been possible without all of you. I can't express how grateful I am for everyone who pitched in.

For those of you joining us now. We were asked at the end of the Kickstarter campaign to be part of an upcoming design competition at Parson's School for Design on how to reduce industry waste. To demonstrate the process, we created the average amount of clothes a person in the US buys a year and then the average fabric waste produced as a by product by sewing 100 tote bags. A lot of work under very hot lights, but the video came out great and we got some nifty totes in the process.

A lot of people have asked me why totes and not something else? The answer is that we wanted to make something simple that everyone could easily relate to. This time of year when it's hot outside we are all lugging totes to the beach, mountains, vacations, and grocery store. Seeing a tote takes a nebulous number (the billions of tons of fabric waste produced in the industry a year) and makes it into something the human mind can actually grasp. We can all hold a tote bag in our hands. We can all make a difference.

We really think people can relate to this and judging by the number of bags sold, it seems to be a popular idea. You can buy one of the remaining totes on Etsy for $10 in blue, green, or pink. Each bag features a hand-sewn label.

Note: All music is used with permission of Sirius B Music. If you would like to purchase their music, check out their website: The song you are listening to in the video is Bella Ciao. Thanks guys. You all rock.

Friday, July 15, 2011

August 9th: Etsy Meet-up

LinkWow, great last Etsy meet-up last week. I am really excited seeing our members grow and all the new faces. This month, in an attempt to be more organized, I am breaking the meeting up into two sections. The first part is geared more for people looking to sell on etsy and the second features fun local artists showing you how-to-craft.

7-8 PM: The Art of the Online Sale.

This is a 1 hr. Primer on How to set-up and sell on Etsy. Laptops welcome. You will learn about:
1. Setting up an account
2. Making a profile
3. Designing a shop avatar and banner.
4. Shipping Policies- Standard and International
5. Listing items- What makes a good listing?
6. Getting your name out- Advertising tools (free and otherwise), Etsy Teams
7. Completing sales- Paypal, Google Checkout, etc.
One of my friends, Fabiola, of Fabiola Designs, will be on hand. She designs custom banners, icons, and logos for people as well as doing graphic design on etsy at her shop: Originally she trained in Paris. She will have examples on hand to discuss and you can purchase through the etsy website. Her prices are very reasonable. A great resource if you are looking to give your shop a professional edge.

8-10 pm Guest Lectures with Ruthan and Jon

DIY Custom T-shirts by Ruthan Reese

Some of you remember the awesome blog post a few weeks ago with my friend Ruthan about making your own custom bleached t-shirt. Now, you can do your own. Bring your own t-shirt or pick on up on-site for $5. It takes roughly 5-20 min to make one and an hour for it to dry. Great t-shirts for bands or upcoming events.

The Art of Finishing Wood by Jonathan Danforth

I am really pleased to announce this month's guest artist specializes in creating wooden objects of incredible beauty and simplicity. I am lucky enough to own several of Jon's pieces. My favorite is a simple purple heart wood crafted box he created for me as a gift for Nash for Valentine's. His pieces make wonderful gifts that create a lasting impression. The quality is amazing and they hold up well to repeated use. You can visit his etsy shop: which is virtual feast for the eyes, he has pieces in a wide range so you can be guaranteed to find something in your budget even if you don't yet have $11,000 for a custom Digitrola.
Jon Danforth will be giving a short lecture on how to professionally finish wood pieces for sale and shipping. A lot of people make amateur or hobby wood crafts around here and want to make the jump in quality necessary to sell as art. Jon's lecture is geared towards helping push you a little farther along the path. We will have tables set up for you to try your hand at gluing, sanding, finishing his famous iPad wall mounts. You may recognize them from Thingiverse. The instructions are open source, and if you would like take home your own at the end of the night, he will have kits on hand for $20 to cover the cost of wood and components. All pieces finished during the lecture will be available at his next show.

I'm really excited about both these talks.

Look forward to seeing everyone here:

Techshop RDU
5905 Triangle Drive
Raleigh, NC 27617

August 9th from 7-10 pm

Free and Open to the Public.

Note: If you are over 21, Roth Brewing provides complimentary beer for the event. You must bring a photo ID as proof before we will serve you.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Etsy Christmas in July Sale/Meet-up: 25 % Off

Thank you so much everyone who came out to the July Etsy Meeting. We had a wonderful time with the guest speaker, Kaeti, from Tyler Poncho, who talked about making stuffed animals. Thanks again for your time and help. It was so nice to have you. Several members also brought glassware and made custom creations. We all had a great time and talked about the official start of Etsy's annual Christmas in July Sale today which will run through the 25th of the month. You can visit our shop and use the coupon code: ChristmasInJuly for 25% off. I am so excited to be participating in this for a second year in a row.

My favorite part of the meeting was seeing the fun creatures everyone imagined. They all were completely different. It was a creative blast of fresh air. You can see more photos on flicker.

To celebrate Christmas in July, Nash has also put together a small surprise and is offering a selection of his Spring Collection at 60-75% off for $5.00 normally $12-18.00. The kiln is up ad running and he is excited to be training under a master craftsman for doing high-end custom production in the fall. We hope to be able to show some of his unique pieces and perhaps do a meet-up in September or October based on jewelry making techniques.

We hope you are having an awesome summer too! I have several great guests and speakers lined up for our August 9th meeting. Check back next week to see the plan. Have a lovely day!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Guest Lecturing At Friday Center On NC State

We are so excited to be guest lecturing at the Friday center on NC State's Centennial CampusWeds July 13th and 27th from 3 to 5 pm for Algebra and Geometry Teachers about math in the workplace.Link Obviously as a designer, math is something you use every day and it is really exciting to me to hopefully help give back to my alma mater. All 3 of us went to State for our undergrads and while we were certainly not the best or brightest students around, it was a wonderful experience and I owe them a lot. Math is a necessary tool. I look forward to seeing everyone there and meeting fun new faces. You will be able to view the finished video they shot in there for the 2011 series on the stem website: in a few weeks.

A big thanks to Sarah Stein and her crew for dropping by last week and all their hard work. It was so much fun to have you.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Day Thirty-Five: Knitted Men's Ties

My father is one of those suit wearing guys and I've always had a fondness for ties as a result I think. The most fun is knitting them. This is a navy series I did to celebrate last year.

I hope you had a fun Father's Day last week. Thanks for following us on Kickstarter.