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  • Archive for November, 2010

    December: Big News

    2010 - 11.23

    Big, big news: We’re open for shop time! That’s right, starting December 1st, you’ll be able to come to the Asylum five nights a week between 7 PM and 11 PM (and 11 AM to 7 PM on weekends) to work on your projects. Purchase your Monthly Membership and come on down! Some nights will have classes running and they have priority for tool use and noise considerations; see the event page for the relevant details.

    And speaking of classes, registration is now open for our December offerings. As you’ve perhaps come to expect, there are some old favorites and some entirely new things to check out, so dig in!

    Holiday classes:

    • Making Wooden Christmas Ornaments. A two night class with no experience required and several patterns to choose from, this is an ideal way to start on small project woodworking. Wednesday December 8th and Thursday December 9th.
    • Make an Artificial Christmas Tree. Reusuable and easy to store, these are a fun and useful craft project. Sunday December 5th, 2pm.
    • Many of our classes this month result in items you can give as gifts; give someone you love the gift of something you’ve soldered, carved, or stitched yourself.

    Metal Fabrication:

    • Introduction to TIG Welding. Thursdays or Fridays. Come learn how to TIG weld with Skunk. TIG welding is a precise type of welding generally used to make space frames and small pieces.
    • Introduction to MIG Welding. MIG welding is an easy and inexpensive way to join large pieces of metal. Saturdays at 2PM.


    • Introduction to Electronics. An electronics class geared towards getting complete newcomers into working on their own hobby electronics projects in no time flat. Three sessions, Monday evenings.
    • Introduction to Electronic Assembly. A special two-session class specifically targeting assembly techniques such as soldering; a perfect complement to Intro to Eelctronics!
    • Arduino Programming for Beginners. The Arduino is a wildly popular microcontroller finding applications in everything from animatronic art to industrial process control. Three sessions, Sundays at 2PM.
    • Make an LED Belt Buckle. In this class, Jimmie Rogers will show you how to make an electronic belt buckle that can display animated patterns and messages. Sundays at 2PM, meets twice. Date not finalized; check back soon!


    • This month we’ve got Jewelry Happy Hour, a drop-in class where you can show up for any or all of the three class sessions. The curriculum is flexible and student driven, with room to work on your own projects, learn new techniques, or get hints on sources for materials or places to sell your work.



    • Cooking Essentials: Spices and Oils is a one-session introduction to various oils and spices, discussing their uses, misuses, and the effects they have on various foods. 11AM, Sunday December 5th.
    • Spatial Sculptural Design through Tyvek Tents. Want to learn how to make fabric structures? We will explore the use of plastic EMT tubing and Tyvek fabric to make tents. Saturdays, 11AM.
    • Making Paper Lanterns. Local artist Ecco (Sarah Pierce) will teach people to make lanterns out of paper and wire. Another great gift idea! Meets twice, on Sunday the 12th and Sunday the 19th.
    • Songwriting and Composition. Explore a range of musical techniques to assist in composing, arranging, and enhancing music. Workshop format of discussion and examples followed by focus on individual student pieces.


    • Building the Asylum (Intro to Woodworking). Learn how to make wooden structures by helping build Artisan’s Asylum infrastructure! One of our most popular classes, and very affordable. Tuesday evenings.
    • Kayak Building. Yep, you can build your own sea-worthy nylon skinned kayak. The class meets every Wednesday and Saturday for three months, January thru March, and you get a kayak fitted to your body and a whole load of new skills.

    Because of Christmas and New Year’s, most of our multi-week classes will be taught in three sessions rather than 4. In several cases this actually means more class time, a fine holiday value.

    Take on the Machine

    2010 - 11.13

    For three weeks in September, Artisan’s Asylum took part in the Vimby Take on the Machine competition. We were given three weeks and $3,000 to complete a project. We were still in the process of officially getting our doors open, so we knew we were in for a rough time. On a whole things turned out well, and both episodes have been posted.

    Episode 1
    Episode 2

    Note: videos start playing once they load.

    Since the videos were not able to cover the extensive amount of work done in those three weeks, we’ve posted a page on our public wiki with tons of additional information. You can check the wiki page out here. We also have a set of pictures here, and check out the rest of our group pool for more!

    Long story short, we were nowhere near ready to participate in such a competition. To put this in perspective, we only had power in the space for a few weeks before it had started, and the 9,000 sq ft space was nearly bare. A few months later, and a whole lot of work, we have an extremely capable space with an amazing assortment of folks bringing in their skills. You should check out our Flickr set for more of an idea, or just swing by on a Tuesday at 7:30 to check out the space during the “Building the Asylum” night.

    While the competition was stressful, most of what was planned turned out okay. We managed to not only work on the breakfast machine, but also build out the space. We were able to use a good bit of the money on things that helped both with the competition, and would also continue to help out in the future (things like tools and workbenches for the projects to be held). Also, it helped bring out a sense of community and united a new group for a common goal, even if that did end up with them voting unanimously to throw Jimmie Rodgers into the Charles river for getting them into it and then leaving on tour.

    [Post edited 21 Jan 2011 to replace embedded videos w/links, because embedded videos 1) were no longer playing the Take on the Machine episode and 2) they play automatically.]