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  • Archive for October, 2012

    Upcoming Events at Artisan’s Asylum: Pumpkins, Politics, Open Studios and more!

    2012 - 10.27

    We have an incredibly array of events leading us into the new year, from pumpkin carving with power tools and launching a political platform for creative professionals, each in the next few days, to celebrating our first full year in Tyler Street, to running our first ever independent Open Studios — and finally to a long-standing community favorite, the do-it-yourself Secret Santa program. Whether they’re in two days or two months, put them all in your calendar now!


    Power Tools Pumpkin Carving: Sunday, October 28, 12-4pm, Somerville Ave between Loring & Laurel Streets

    Come join five of our resident rockstar artists as they apply their power tools carving skills to giant pumpkins in the middle of Somerville Avenue. Cat Tweedie Ball, Dan Sternof Byer, Ecco Pierce, Spark, and Jacob LaRocca will each be taking a 150 pound pumpkin and making it their own.

    And you don’t just have to watch! Bring your own pumpkin and carve with us — qualified Asylum members are free to use the power tools on their own pumpkins of any size, and anyone at all is welcome to bring their own implements and dig in with us — we’ll have plenty of extra tables and chairs.

    This event is part of the Somerstreets MonsterMashedUp Fall Festival — there will be performances and activities all along Somerville Ave, between Union and Porter Squares.


    MASSCreative Kickoff for Cambridge & Somerville: Tuesday, October 30, 6-7:30pm

    We’re excited to be hosting the Cambridge and Somerville Kickoff for an important new initiative this coming Tuesday evening. MASSCreative is establishing a political platform for the creative professionals and organizations of Massachusetts to advocate for the resources and attention to build vibrant, creative, and connected communities.

    At this event, you can learn about MASSCreative and its plan to bring more resources and attention to the creative communities and arts education in the region. You’ll also have the opportunity to network with other creative professionals and organizations from throughout Cambridge and Somerville. There will even be a postcard-writing campaign you can participate in at the event. Come join us in making a difference for our communities across the state. RSVP on the event page here.

    This event is also sponsored by other local creative organizations, like the Somerville Arts Council, Cambridge Arts Council, Brickbottom Artist Association, East Somerville Main Streets, HONK! Festival of Activist Street Bands, Somerville Open Studios, Somerville Historic Preservation Commission, and Mudflat Studio, among others. Check out the event page linked above for more information about co-sponsors.


    Tyler Street Birthday Party: Friday, November 9, 7-10pm

    November 4th marks the one-year anniversary of opening the Tyler Street facility up to renters. To celebrate, two weeks from now we’ll be gathering at the Asylum for dinner and good cheer to share stories and images of the past year at the Asylum.

    In preparation, send me some of your favorite stories about Asylum adventures, ways the Asylum has affected or changed your life, and any choice images or clips of video you think should be included in a slideshow/montage we share at the event.

    If you have other fun ideas for how to celebrate our 1-year anniversary in the space or want to help out with the festivities, let me know!


    Save the Date: First Annual Artisan’s Asylum Independent Open Studios, Saturday December 1st

    Artisan’s Asylum will be hosting our first-ever independent Open Studios event this winter! On the afternoon of Saturday, December 1st, we’ll open our doors to the public to display the wonderful work created by Asylum members, renters, instructors, and students. Entry free to the public, more information about participation coming soon!


    DIY Secret Santa: Sunday, December 2 to Sunday, December 16

    This is our special annual maker-happy holiday gift-giving extravaganza — if you’ve never taken part, you definitely don’t want to miss it this year! Participants will receive an assignment of a gift recipient along with the recipient’s answers to a series of irrelevant and ridiculous questions, based on which they will be expected to decide on an appropriate hand-made gift. They will have two weeks and a fixed budget with which to create their gift, which will be presented at a grand unveiling, scheduled for the evening of Sunday, December 16.

    Past years have featured gifts such as an autonomous, robotic laser-pointer-based cat distractor, a completely scandalous set of ceramic coasters, a set of robotic pants, a hand-crafted digestion-themed board game, a Papa Smurf hat that Dmitri still wears, and much, much more.

    Registration surveys and more details will be available in November.


    We hope to see you at the Asylum for one of these exciting events soon!

    Artisan’s Asylum hosting How to Make a Makerspace

    2012 - 10.17

    We’re excited to announce that, come February 1st, we’ll be hosting an event called How to Make a Makerspace in partnership with MAKE Magazine. The event will be a weekend-long series of workshops, presentations, and discussions, with the goal of teaching attendees how to make their own makerspaces from scratch. We will be bringing in expert speakers and panelists from across the country (ranging from makerspace founders to lawyers, bankers, and insurance brokers who all have experience with makerspaces), we’ll have maker-focused vendors in attendance to talk business, and we’ll have a huge number of resources on hand for attendees (including documentation like example membership agreements, tool training syllabi, insurance summaries, Articles of Organization, and more!). We’re hoping to attract both individuals  interested in starting their own standalone spaces and organizations such as schools, universities, libraries, and real estate developers who are interested in including makerspaces inside their organizations.

    If you want to learn more about this event, please take a look at our event page. If you’re interested in being involved in the presentation of the event, are interested in discussing sponsoring the event, or simply have any questions about the event, please contact us at make-a-makerspace@artisansasylum.com.

    First Annual Mini Maker Faire Somerville a Success!

    2012 - 10.14

    Thirty-two makers set up their booths in Union Square on Saturday, providing education and entertainment for an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 visitors over the course of the afternoon. The weather was beautiful (if crisp), the children were enthusiastic, the trebuchet was shooting and the oversized baby-carriage vehicle thoroughly disconcerting… and there was much, much more. Check out http://www.makerfairesomerville.com/ for more information and images from the makers; photos from the Faire coming soon!

    A hearty thanks to everyone who made it possible: the organizers, Joe Schlesinger, Gui Cavalcanti, and James Arthur; the many volunteers; the attendees; and, of course, the makers, who are what this event is all about. A special thanks to our sponsors, ArtsUnion and the Somerville Arts Council, who made the event possible, and to SparkFun Electronics, who organized workshops to teach more than three dozen people to solder on Saturday and who raised a generous amount of money for the Asylum.

    We can’t wait for next year!

    Hot Craft Studio Ready for Jewelry-makers and Metalsmiths!

    2012 - 10.07
    We’re delighted to announce that the Hot Craft Studio for Jewelry is now officially open to Asylum members’ use!
    The studio has received a wonderful facelift with new tools and Smith air/acetylene soldering stations; a forming bench with hammers, rolling mill and bench blocks are all coming soon, with more on the way.

    You’ll be excited to check out this sweet new workspace. Tool training can be arranged with Karen Christians who will be happy to go through the torch set up and the locations of all the tools.  Contact info@artisansasylum.com for more information!

    See below for the classes already scheduled for the new space. Included are a couple of Directed Open Studio days.  These are not just for students, but for ANYONE who has taken a jewelry class and wishes to join a community of makers for a day of brainstorming, demos, or would just like access to the torches with a little guidance.  Karen’s here to help you!
    And more to come! Stop by Karen’s space at the Asylum if you have a question – she’s here every weekday, studio #63.

    Exciting SparkFun electronics workshops coming to the Asylum for Maker Faire

    2012 - 10.01

    We’re excited to announce that SparkFun Electronics is joining us for the first annual Somerville Mini Maker Faire!

    Artisan’s Asylum is hosting our own Mini Maker Faire in Union Square on October 13, displaying technology being developed in the greater Somerville area by local artists, engineers, hobbyists, tinkerers, and more (information about registering to participate here!). The event itself will be organized similarly to a farmer’s market; there will be groupings of tents and tables that would feature local work from DIY groups in the area. In addition, there will be technology demonstrations, moving showpieces, and design and fabrication competitions.

    SparkFun is participating in the festival, but they’re also going to be offering one-time workshops at Artisan’s Asylum during the week before and after the Faire. Check out the following exciting offerings from SparkFun!

    • Xciting XBees, Wednesday, October 10, 7-10PM — For beginners interested in taking the first step towards integrating Wireless communication into their projects. Use XBee Series 1 radios to discover just how easy that first step is! Activities will include chat, pin to pin button and LEDs. Time permitting we will also briefly cover how you can use the XBees to send and interpret Serial communication in conjunction with an Arduino.
    • Eagle PCB Layout, Thursday, October 11, 7-10PM — So you’ve got an amazing circuit or two that is going to change the world… or maybe just your garage. But how do you go about creating a PCB that you can populate with the parts that make up your amazing circuits? Learn how to use Eagle Layout Editor to create boards, going from schematic to Gerber files in Eagle light (freeware version). Jim and Linz will lead the class through installing libraries, CAM files, creating schematics, creating nets, vias/connections, silk screen, drill holes, mouse-bites and even creating parts!
    • SMD Soldering with Simon, Monday, October 15, 7-10PM — The SMD Soldering Class is SparkFun’s popular course that teaches Surface Mount Device (SMD) soldering to anyone who thinks they can’t possibly solder those little pins. This will be a hands-on class where the students learn techniques to help them solder surface mount components. This class is designed for those already comfortable with operating a soldering iron who are looking to refine their technique for application to SMD components. You’ll be soldering together an Simon SMD Kit. By the end of the night, you’ll have a functioning game to take home to your friends!

    SparkFun Electronics is a cutting-edge technology distributor and education advocate. Their online retail store sells bits and pieces to make your electronics projects possible; whether it’s a robot that can cook your breakfast or a GPS cat-tracking device, SparkFun products and resources are designed to make the world of electronics more accessible to the average person. In addition to products, SparkFun also offers classes and a number of online tutorials designed to help educate individuals in the wonderful world of embedded electronics.