Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Rochester Mini Maker Faire 2017 Review

Well, I did five PREVIEWS of my project for the Rochester Mini Maker Faire, I suppose I should do a REVIEW of it too!

The Rochester Mini Maker Faire 2017 was a great time.  The show began at 9 am and ended at 5 pm. We had someone in our booth until around 4 pm, when I turned to my wife who was there all day with me and I said, "Look, the booth doesn't have anyone in it!"  So you can see it was BUSY!

I was able to finish the stamps for all five of the characters.  All five were big hits.  I didn't keep track of how many of each got made, but it seemed that maybe Tory the Mermaid was the front runner, as I think the demographic of the attendees in my booth trended female, and the mechanics of the tail is hard to pass up.

What was equally great was the number of people to did "mash-ups."  We had a great assortment, and lots of combinations of characters.  I love it when someone uses a part for which it wasn't intended, like an arm gets used for an ear.  You will see a lot of them in the album below because I really tried to get as many as I could captured in the moment.

We definitely had more kids than adults.  The littlest ones really needed help with the scissors, so my wife and I helped cut out a lot of shapes.  As someone who works with stamps nearly everyday, I am still astonished at the folks that I can tell have never picked up a rubber stamp before.  My stamps are not mounted to wood, so that can be confusing at first, but getting people to get a decent print can be done, but it takes guidance.

One unexpected thing that happened was my choice in inks.  I specifically picked dye based ink.  It dries way faster than pigment ink, and that was important since folks would be going right from the stamping step to the cutting step.  If i had picked pigment ink, it would have smeared. Dye based ink however stains.  Stains fingers.  Stains fabric.  So I had to put up a little warning sign about that.  I think I may have only had one family who didn't do it because of that though.  It was still the right choice, but it took a couple days for my fingers to look normal again.

I loved this project so much.  I loved working with my artist friends to bring some of their characters to a different medium.   I loved helping folks MAKE something from scratch.  I loved carving these stamps.  I really want to make more of these, and maybe get some into my Etsy shop for 2017.  The last few years I have recycled my Maker Faire project for the ArtAwake event. So if you missed it, keep your eyes out for ArtAwake in 2017 and maybe you will be able to make one of these for yourself!

CLICK on the picture to see the whole album of photos.


Paper Dolls: Articulated Character Mash-Up

Friday, November 18, 2016

Rochester Mini Maker Faire Preview: Mermaid Tory

I will be presenting a new project for my third year at the Rochester Mini Make Faire on Saturday, November 19th, from 10 am to 5 pm at the Rochester Convention Center. Year one and year two were awesome, and I'm very excited about this year as well.

This year I am doing a project I am calling the Articulated Paper Creature Mash-Up.  That's a mouth full, but what is means is that you can come to my booth, stamp an image of various body parts of a character on cardstock, cut them out, and assemble the character with brass fasteners to create a poseable/jointed/articulated paper doll.  I have hand carved each of the pieces into a rubber stamp by hand, so you can build your creation from the ground up.

Oh, you mean like a paper doll that my grandma used to play with?  Well, sort of, but not exactly. The characters and creatures are not just little cute little girls with pony-tails.  The characters are from other local artist's imaginations.  You can build a single character, or mix-and-match pieces together to create a brand new mash-up.


Today I'm featuring Mermaid Tory!

Tory O'Neil is the woman behind Mermaid Tory and Friends.  Tory is a character performer and costume maker.  Tory says on her Facebook page that she began her career performing as various princesses for a "princess company."  Then she decided to create her own costumes and characters. As a character performer, she makes appearances at hospitals, festivals, parities, and museums.

Mermaid Tory's tail is an art piece in itself.  Made from neoprene and thousands of sequins, each carefully stitched into it's place, it is truly a show stopper.  That alone would make it incredible, but what takes it to another level is the fact that Tory can swim with it on.  That's right, it is waterproof, and she can swim with it!

One reason I was interested in doing a paper doll of Mermaid Tory was the fact that she has a strong sense of character.  Each of the paper dolls I carved this year had a personality beyond the paper. Some of the characters, like Fidget and Budd Jett, are three dimensional sculptures.  Ms. Lucha and Maker Kid are 2D illustrations.  Mermaid Tory though is a living, performing, art piece.  I think this variety nicely shows a range of what character art can be!

I'm very happy with how Tory's doll came out.  Carving each scale on her tail took a good deal of time, more so than some of the other dolls.  As I kept turning the block, and making a cut, just like the one before it, and repeating it over and over, I thought about how Tory had to stitch on each sequin, one after another, on her tail.  You get into a rhythm, a bit of zen, but you also wonder when you will finish it!

I'm very excited to share Tory the Mermaid's paper doll to the public at the Maker Faire this Saturday.




Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Rochester Mini Maker Faire Preview: Fidget

I will be presenting a new project for my third year at the Rochester Mini Make Faire on Saturday, November 19th, from 10 am to 5 pm at the Rochester Convention Center. Year one and year two were awesome, and I'm very excited about this year as well.

This year I am doing a project I am calling the Articulated Paper Creature Mash-Up.  That's a mouth full, but what is means is that you can come to my booth, stamp an image of various body parts of a character on cardstock, cut them out, and assemble the character with brass fasteners to create a poseable/jointed/articulated paper doll.  I have hand carved each of the pieces into a rubber stamp by hand, so you can build your creation from the ground up.

Oh, you mean like a paper doll that my grandma used to play with?  Well, sort of, but not exactly. The characters and creatures are not just little cute little girls with pony-tails.  The characters are from other local artist's imaginations.  You can build a single character, or mix-and-match pieces together to create a brand new mash-up.

I will highlight each character over the next few days.

Today I'm featuring KiraArts creation: Fidget!

Kira Sinclair is the woman behind the monsters at KiraArts.  I met Kira many years ago as part of the Rochester NY Etsy Street Team (RNEST).  Kira absolutely KILLS IT when making here handmade monsters.  She makes monsters like Fidget from upcycled sweaters.  She finds homes for these cast off sweaters that she is given by friends and family, and that she sources from second hand stores.  Color and pattern are important parts of her creations.  Combining them in just the right way to bring a character to life.

Kira gives all of her monsters names to fit their personalities.  When I asked Kira about designing me a character for the Maker Faire, she came up with the drawing seen here.  I asked her what was it's name, and without a second pause, she said "Fidget".  I trolled back into her facebook photo's and found a gray and orange monster that had similar patterns so you can see it in 3D, but really each character is as unique as the sweater she uses.

Kira was at the Rochester Mini Maker Faire in 2015, showing how she creates her monsters.  She has a Etsy store online, and is a smash hit at all the arts+craft shows like Mayday Underground.

I know Fidget is going to be a popular character at the Mini Make Faire this year.  His ears are so expressive, that he can really display a range of emotions with them.  I just hope he will be as fun as the real thing (even if he is less squishable).



Thursday, November 10, 2016

Rochester Mini Maker Faire Preview: Ms. Lucha

I will be presenting a new project for my third year at the Rochester Mini Make Faire on Saturday, November 19th, from 10 am to 5 pm at the Rochester Convention Center. Year one and year two were awesome, and I'm very excited about this year as well.

This year I am doing a project I am calling the Articulated Paper Creature Mash-Up.  That's a mouth full, but what is means is that you can come to my booth, stamp an image of various body parts of a character on cardstock, cut them out, and assemble the character with brass fasteners to create a poseable/jointed/articulated paper doll.  I have hand carved each of the pieces into a rubber stamp by hand, so you can build your creation from the ground up.

Oh, you mean like a paper doll that my grandma used to play with?  Well, sort of, but not exactly. The characters and creatures are not just little cute little girls with pony-tails.  The characters are from other local artist's imaginations.  You can build a single character, or mix-and-match pieces together to create a brand new mash-up.

I will highlight each character over the next few days.

Today I am featuring Chris Charles's creation: Ms. Lucha

Chris Charles is a letterpress printer, and is the creator, owner, operator of Moon Rabbit Press.
I got to know Chris through our artist group that sells work on Etsy.com, the Rochester NY Etsy Street Team.  Chris has been printing her work on her own at Moon Rabbit since 2010.  Usually when I think of letterpress, I think of type, and sometimes some graphics.  Chris is all of that, but with another added layer.  Much of the graphics you see in Chris's work is also hand carved in linoleum by her own hands.  No machinery involved.  As a hand carved, I totally respect that.

Ms. Lucha, as we are now calling her, has been around for awhile actually.  Ms. Lucha is the star character on a poster Chris has been selling for years.  The story goes something like this.  Chris is approached to do a poster for an upcoming concert.  The performers are were Eilen Jewell and Los Strait Jackets.  Chris combines the flavors of both musicians and carves up a cross-dressed luchadore, complete with lipstick and cowboy boots.  It's a killer design, don't you think?

I have seen the poster for years in here craft booth at local art shows.  I'll confess, I'm a huge wrestling mark.  I love this gender bending design, and thought it would be totally rad to bring Ms. Lucha to life so she could be posed in the wrestling moves she was born to do.

Chris prints most of her work on the presses at the Genesee Center for the Arts and Education.   Her work can be found at most of the major arts+crafts show around Rochester and beyond, like Artist Row, Mayday Underground, and the Clothesline Art Show.  She always finds the right blend of text, graphic, and color to make her work stand out, like her best selling crowing rooster with the text, "Rise and Shine, Bitches!"

I can't wait to see how Ms. Lucha (prototypes pictured) gets further mashed up with other characters at Maker Faire.  I know the fists will be flyin'!


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Rochester Mini Maker Faire 2016 Preview: Maker Kid

I will be presenting a new project for my third year at the Rochester Mini Make Faire on Saturday, November 19th, from 10 am to 5 pm at the Rochester Convention Center. Year one and year two were awesome, and I'm very excited about this year as well.

This year I am doing a project I am calling the Articulated Paper Creature Mash-Up.  That's a mouth full, but what is means is that you can come to my booth, stamp an image of various body parts of a character on cardstock, cut them out, and assemble the character with brass fasteners to create a poseable/jointed/articulated paper doll.

Oh, you mean like a paper doll that my grandma used to play with?  Well, sort of, but not exactly. The characters and creatures are not just little cute little girls with pony-tails.  The characters are from other local artist's imaginations.  You can build a single character, or mix-and-match pieces together to create a brand new creation.

I will highlight each character over the next few days.

The next character is Randy Duncan's Maker Kid.

Randy Duncan is a illustrator, sculptor, painter, and probably other hidden talents I'm unaware of because he always dazzles me with his talent.  When I asked Randy about collaborating on this project, he had Maker Kid drawn up within hours, and had sketched out all the body parts individually in the next 24 hours.  Randy is extremely productive, it isn't uncommon to see his new work on a daily basis on his facebook feed.

I asked Randy for a masked superhero type character, with long limbs.  I had seen illustrations he had done of Spiderman, and his version of Spidey reminded me of the work of comic artist Eric Larsen's version of Spiderman.  Long, thin limbs, that bend at almost impossible angles.  Randy hit the nail on the head in his first draft, with a boy like character, with a mask, cape, and long legs.  It was in Randy's second draft he gave our masked kid a mohawk.  That was a great addition, as it really cleaned up the design around the head, to highlight those long arms and legs.

I will confess, I am a not too subtle fanboy of Randy's work.  He is part of an artist collective called "Dude's Night Out".  The DNO exhibit work across the city or Rochester, and also exhibit at the Rochester Mini Maker Faire.  I got to know Randy through arts+craft shows, but I have seen his gallery shows at Roc Brewing Company, Record Archive, and several other openings around the city. I have several of Randy's illustrations in marker and watercolor hanging in my studio that serve as inspiration to continue to hone my craft.  I even have a swing top bottle covered in skulls and creepy worms he did as a commission for me to hold beer (or moonshine).

I am super pumped to be able to share Maker Kid (prototypes pictured) with the Maker Faire visitors, and spread the word about the artistic talents of Randy Duncan.