The Laser Cut Bird House

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Hi again! So I have worked with laser engravers for a long time. I got started because a friend opened a trophy shop and needed help to figure out how to run the machines and do layouts, etc. As with anything, you start to learn more and more about what you can do with a device the longer you work with it.

I started making boxes a few years ago, just simple clamshell pieces that could hold pens and desk junk. Then I started playing with decorations on the surface, making them look like they had basket-weave tops, etc. The next step was to make more complicated pieces. That is how I got to the bird house.

This is made with 1/8″ thick birch plywood and is cut out on an Epilog laser. I put details in such as shingles, siding and window frames that could be painted. The bottom of the house has tiny holes to allow for drainage. Everything snaps together with tabs and then you can glue it up and paint it however you like. I gave a few of these away and then sold some at craft shows.

If you like this and want to make one just drop me a line and I will send you the CorelDraw file.

THANKS!!

Busy Week

It has been a pretty busy week for me so no real posting happening. I have been shutting down my recording studio and moving things out. With rents in San Francisco climbing ever higher we were just not able to keep the doors open. Now I have a garage full of recording and music gear…another project to take care of…

Something completly not related to this blog…

fd9a2c29-35ee-4275-8346-db6d6b05fa70_630_pizza_babyI saw this article today: http://shine.yahoo.com/parenting/reddit-s-mass-pizza-delivery-to-2-year-old-cancer-patient-170423611.html

It is quite moving to see a little person made happy by the simplest thing that we probably never give a second thought: a slice of pizza.

The words ‘Childhood’ and ‘Cancer’ should never be in the same sentence, let alone side by side. Kids should be worried about coloring inside the lines and blowing up balloons…not this sort of stuff.

I would like everyone out there to please make a donation for cancer research for every pizza they buy. If you get a slice for $2.00 then donate $2.00, a whole pie for $10 than donate $10.00. If we can do that for a year there would be a lot of money raised. There are about 3 Billion pizzas eaten each year in the United States.

What a delicious way to do good!!

Paste Paper

Some of my Paste Paper Efforts

Some of my Paste Paper Efforts

So, I took the class at the San Francisco Center for the Book (SFCB). I had a LOT of fun and learned a bunch more about book binding. For the class we had some really cool Paste Paper, made by our instructor, Juliayn Coleman. The colors were interesting and the paper had a 3-D sort of vibe when you looked closely at it. I was inspired.

Paste paper is basically sheets of paper that are decorated with pigments mixed in a paste that creates designs. The papers are used to cover books or boxes, or for other projects that a book binder might need decorative paper for. This is not marbled paper, which is even more interesting a subject but takes a lot more equipment to get going.

I searched the internet on methods for making paste paper and there was a ton of information. There are some videos on youTube and plenty of other places to gather knowledge. Armed with a bit of information and with no fear of failure, I started making paste paper. The first few pieces were kind of clunky, but I am getting some nice techniques down that are generating useful papers.

There is a very good tutorial here: http://lilbookbinder.wordpress.com/2011/01/27/paste-paper-tutorial/

Doing paste paper is a very low-cost, easy project to try. I got set up with paper and paints for less than $30.00. Give it a go and let me know how your papers turn out!

Me and Books

Hand bound book covered with paste-paper

Hand bound book covered with paste-paper

When I was little it was always a big deal to go to the library with my mother. I would get to take two books home to read so I tried to pick something that would last, something with a few chapters. I would spend hours saying ‘hello’ to the books I had already read and then start meeting new friends. My mother would finally drag me to the check-out with my latest finds.

When I grew up I started collecting books, first in subjects that I love: magic and magicians, biographies and history, later I started buying things that were rare, older and more unique. For example, I have Rider’s British Merlin from 1780. In the world of book collecting it is not that old, but this edition is very rare, only a few copies are known to exist.

When I hold a book like that I think of all the history that has happened since it was published. The United States was still being formed; people lived simply, sometimes barely surviving from year to year and there certainly was no conception of all the technology we enjoy today.

A few years ago I started taking classes in the book making arts, particularly bookbinding. In San Francisco we have a place called the San Francisco Center for the Book (www.sfcb.org), where I have taken a few classes. I will post some pictures of books I have made and paper for book covers that I have made. If you live in SF or plan to visit, try to stop by their facility for a tour, always some interesting things on display.

If you are a bookbinder, letterpress printer or just love books like I do, let me know. Show me your favorite project or most prized book. I love seeing that sort of thing and hearing the history of how it came to be.

Have a great weekend!!

Creativity isn’t dead! It is just on life support…

I love to work with my hands and make things. They might be ugly, perhaps beautiful but they are hand-made. I am finding that more and more people are amazed that I can create something on my own. They just can’t see themselves ever doing that themselves.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are a LOT of creative people out there. What I a referring to in the title of this post is the fact that creativity has become more of a special thing rather than the commonplace. I like to go to estate auctions. At every auction of an older home there is a stack of sheet music and a piano or organ. Pianos used to be seen as a necessary part of the home, like a television today. Now they are seen as bulky items that are meant for the scrap yard.

The aim of this blog is to share things I do with other people in the world, learn from them and keep the idea of creativity as something for everyone. I hope you join me on my journey as I try new things and talk you into stretch your boundaries too.