There’s always something new going on at Artisan’s Asylum! That’s why it’s such an exciting and inspiring place for so many of us to work and play. Check out the list below for some exciting new class offerings, including a DIY Kinetic Sculpture workshop and the very first training available on our new CNC Plasma Cutter! New formats, too, for those of you with difficult or rigid schedules. Also the return of some long-lost classes you’ve been asking after — Hot Glass is back, as well as Introduction to Electronics, Basic Sewing, Jewelry I, and training in 3D Modeling. And as always, more sessions of those popular classes that you can’t seem to ever get a seat in because they always fill up.
But it’s not just classes that are new and exciting here — shops have moved around, acquired new shiny tools, and gotten cleaned up. Members are coming up with new creations, developing and utilizing new technologies, and decking out their spaces in ever-more-elaborate ways. We get new faces every day.
If you want to see what’s new at the Asylum, come check us out tomorrow! Sunday, April 14, 1-5pm we’re opening our doors to host the Cambridge Science Festival’s DIY Tech Festival. Come build balloon-powered cars, learn to solder with SparkFun, make a mosaic out of used computer parts, and more! Or just take a tour and hang out with like-minded makers. Check out the Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/109008275961626/
Assorted ‘Messy’ & Multimedia
- Introduction to Foam Fabrication, 7-9:30pm Tuesdays, April 16 – May 7 – The much-demanded foam class returns, new and improved! Learn the ins and outs of creating foam sculpture and prototypes, from hand-sized pieces to 15′ catfish. This class addresses carving, sanding, and finishing techniques, and is taught by Bob Field, professional foam fabricator of more than twenty years, owner of Foam Props, and a specialist in the 18-to-60-foot sculptural range.
- NEW! Hacker Junk Mosaics plus, 2-4pm Fridays, April 26 – May 17 – A 4-week program where you can hone observational skills while using recycled computer parts for making art. Learn the creative process of journaling, sketching graphic elements and composition variations while discovering what’s inside of a computer! Taught by Melissa Glick, artist, arts administrator, and Artisan’s Asylum member.
- Introduction to Mold-Making & Casting: Weekend Edition, 12-5pm Saturday & Sunday, May 18-19 – Mold-making and casting is a process that has been used by artists and industry for hundreds of years to replicate objects from life or to transform an object into a different material. In this weekend-long exploration, students will learn how to make one-part and multi-part molds to replicate everyday objects, their own sculpture, or even their body parts in rubber, plastic, foam, wax, alginate, and plaster. Taught by Kat Ely, glass, metal, wood and resin artist, and co-owner of a design and fabrication business that uses mold-making and casting to produce plastic and rubber prototypes.
Bicycle Building & Maintenance
- Bicycle Maintenance I, 7-9pm Wednesdays, May 1-22 — You may know how to ride your bicycle, but if you don’t know how to take care of it you’ll end up losing speed, causing damage, or stranded with a flat tire. Get your bike skills in shape before the bad weather hits this fall commuter season! Taught by Seven Of Nine, regular Asylum instructor, SCUL pilot, graduate of the Broadway Bicycle School, and general bike builder/modifier extraordinaire.
- Bicycle Maintenance II, 7-9pm Thursdays, May 2-23 — If you want to get deeper into the workings of your bicycle, this is the class for you! Learn skills like rear hub overhaul, truing your wheels, headset overhaul, and front derailleur adjustments. Completion of Bicycle Maintenance I required for registration. Taught by Seven Of Nine, regular Asylum instructor, SCUL pilot, graduate of the Broadway Bicycle School, and general bike builder/modifier extraordinaire.
- Build Your Own Bike Frame, 10am-1pm Saturdays, May 11 – June 22 — Ever frustrated by riding a bike just not shaped well for you? Ever tempted to try and build your own frame, but not sure where to start? This is the class for you! Over four weeks, students will build a custom-fit bicycle frame from steel tubes, using lugged construction. Taught by Paul Carson, Asylum member, engineer, and self-taught bicycle designer.
Business & Marketing
- NEW! Somerville Open Studios Marketing Talk #5: Why Fast Follow-Up is King, 4:30-6:30pm Saturday, May 11 — Strike while the iron is hot, they say–and they’re right. All the work you’ve done to pull it together for this one weekend isn’t gone once it’s done. But you’ll get the most out of it if you start right away. Use the several weeks following SOS to build your community, make the pitch, get the show, bag the sale. Here’s how. This FREE interactive talk is presented by Jesa Damora of FunnelCake Marketing.
- Business Consulting for Artists & Makers: Office Hours, By Appointment — This is a FREE service offered to Artisan’s Asylum members. Dan Trajman holds open hours by appointment for anyone who would like consultation on business-related concerns: register now to reserve a slot!
- Arts Marketing for Artists & Makers: Office Hours, 6-9pm Wednesdays — FREE consultations offered to all Boston area artists, makers, and craftspeople by Jesa Damora of FunnelCake Marketing. If you have a project you’d like to publicize or get off the ground; if you have creative goals that require resources, leverage, and nurturing; or if you just need to rant about (and maybe get some traction on) making an art life happen for yourself, this is the place to be. By appointment and drop-in.
- NEW! Introduction to 3D Modeling, 7-9:30pm Tuesdays, May 14 – June 18 — Come learn how to use Solidworks at Artisan’s Asylum to create 3D models of parts you can make in our shops! 3D modeling software is used worldwide in professional settings like engineering, product design, and more. Designing parts in 3D modeling environments allows you to develop an idea in full before you cut any material, and then either make parts automatically on computer-enabled tools or develop a set of drawings that allow you or other people to create your parts from plans. Taught by Gui Cavalcanti, professional roboticist, founder of Artisan’s Asylum, and mechanical lead of Project Hexapod.
- NEW! Tool Training: CNC Plasma Cutter, 7-10pm Mondays — Learn how to use the Asylum’s new computer-controlled, water-cooled plasma cutter to cut any shape you want out of a 4′x8′ sheet of metal! In this class, we’ll show you how to translate your hand sketches and CAD drawings into patterns cut out of any metal sheet up to an inch thick at rates of up to 200 inches per minute. Taught by Gui Cavalcanti.
- Tool Training: CNC Woodcutting Router, Sundays, 3:30-6:30pm — This three-hour training runs you through the basic operations of the CNC wood-cutting router. Each student will take the machine through an entire workflow cycle, from starting up and homing the machine to part removal and clean-up, leaving with a small product they made themselves. Training in generating 2D CAD files and tool paths available separately. Taught by Judah Sher (see above).
- Tool Training: 3D Printer, Sundays, 4-6pm — This class trains students to operate the uPrint SE Plus 3D printer independently, whenever they need projects made. Training in generating 3D models in STL file format available separately, in the Introduction to 3D Modeling class. Taught by Peter Montgomery, student and rapid prototyping enthusiast.
Electronics & Robotics
- Returned! Introduction to Electronics, 7-10pm Mondays, May 6-27 — Want to learn electronics, but don’t know where to start? This class will give you a working understanding of transistors (the core building block of all modern electronics) by starting with core physical principles like voltage, current, and charge, and ending with building your own amplifiers and simple digital logic circuits. Taught by Avi Uttamchandani, electrical and computer engineer and teacher, and returning Asylum instructor.
- Building Synthesizers: An Exploration of Electronics & Sound, 7:30-9:30pm Thursdays, May 23 – June 27 — Join us for an intense six-week introduction to electronics through an exploration of sound. In this hands-on series you will build a variety of sound-generating and -manipulating circuits, leaving with an understanding of the basics of analog and digital electronics, and the beginnings of your own modular synth system. Taught Jimmie Rodgers, professional hacker and instructor and Artisan’s Asylum electronics lab monitor.
- Practical Electronics & Programming with Arduino, 7:30-9:30pm Mondays, April 22 – May 20 — This class is an introduction to physical computing (using a computer system to sense, react to, and effect the physical world) with the Arduino. Students will learn the basic electronics and programming skills required to have an Arduino turn lights on and off, sense the world in a variety of ways, and move different kinds of motors automatically. Taught by Joe Schlesinger, electrical & computer engineer, MakeIt Labs maker space founder, maker of “Hexy” the popular educational desktop hexapod robotics kit, and member of the Asylum.
- Quick’n'Dirty EL Wire Workshop, 12:30-5:30pm Saturday, April 27 — EL wire is short for electroluminescent wire – meaning a flexible, durable, waterproof string of light! It’s a quick, cheap, and low-skill medium with a high visual impact. In this workshop you’ll gain the skills necessary to produce long-lasting, durable, eye-catching EL wire costume pieces or decorations, and you’ll go home with a project that will wow your friends and family. Taught by Ecco, professional illustrator, mixed-media artist and sculptor and longtime Asylum member and instructor. Also available in May.
- FREE! Circuit Hacking Night, 6-8pm Wednesdays — Come play with electronics at Artisan’s Asylum! For newbies and experienced hackers alike, one night a week the electronics & robotics lab will be open to the public — there will be a free introductory soldering lesson, electronics kits on hand for sale for those who wish to make things, and experienced hackers and engineers around to answer all your questions. Feel free to bring your own projects to work on if you have them! Run by Jimmie Rodgers, professional hacker and instructor and Artisan’s Asylum electronics lab monitor.
- Returned! Sewing I: Basic Sewing, 7:30-9pm Thursdays, May 16 – June 20 — Get a thorough introduction to basic sewing and garment construction skills and theory with this extended Basic Sewing class from professional clothing designer Zoya Derevyannich! Over the course of six weeks, students will become familiar with different machine stitches and their functions, the use of chalk, rulers, scissors, & pins, different hand seams and finishes, attaching buttons, hooks & eyes, and elastic, and how to follow basic patterns. At the end take home some throw pillows, a simple shirt/skirt, and a bathrobe. You can learn on our machines or bring your own! With over a dozen years of experience in men’s and women’s clothing alteration, Zoya is the owner of Zoya Designs, specializing in custom fashion design, alterations, and private collection.
- Introduction to Crochet, 1-5pm Saturday, May 25 – Learn the fundamentals of crochet! This course will progressively teach beginners basic crochet stitches as they construct a jellyfish fiber sculpture. The perfect prep class for crochet newbies interested in the Sculptural Crochet class. Taught by Jessica Polka, biologist, designer of soft sculpture, author, and new Artisan’s Asylum instructor.
- Elements of Sculptural Crochet, 1-5pm Saturday, June 1 – Discover the sculptural potential of crochet! Learn how basic stitches can be combined together to make elemental forms that, together, can replicate almost any 3D object. Taught by Jessica Polka, biologist, designer of soft sculpture, author, and new Artisan’s Asylum instructor.
- NEW! Hot Glass Afterhours: Mother’s Day Edition, 6:30-9pm Friday, May 10 — Whether you’re looking to hand-make a gift for your mother or loved one or just want to spend an evening doing something completely new, Hot Glass Afterhours is for you! This fun and fast-paced class will introduce you to the basic techniques for working molten glass on a small scale. Walk away with a beautiful glass pendant you made yourself! Taught by Joanne Soroka, professional lampworker, artist, jewelery-maker, and teacher.
- Returned! Hot Glass: 1-Day Introduction, 11am-5:30pm Sunday, May 19 – Experience the thrill of sticking a rod of glass into an open flame and working the molten glass. This one-day workshop will be a hands-on introduction to flameworking with glass for those with little or no experience. Students will be able bring home a bead, pendant, marble, or small sculpture, made that day! Taught by Joanne Soroka.
- Picture This: Photoetching, 10am-4pm Saturday and Sunday, April 20-21 — Transfer your photographs and images to metal! In this weekend workshop, explore metal surface embellishment using current photocopy technology, heat transfer, and mordant etching. This is an excellent class for printmakers or photographers who wish to expand their artistic palette. Appropriate for all skill levels. Taught by Karen Christians, Asylum member, professional jewelry-maker and artist, published author, and founder of Cleverwerx, e-commerce metalsmith and jewelry website, and Metalwerx, jewelry school in Waltham, MA.
- Bang Out A Bangle, 1-4:30pm Saturday, April 27 — In this fun, quick introduction to jewelry-making you’ll create one or more dangly, jangly bangles in the Asylum’s jewelry studio. In just a few hours, you’ll learn a little about texturing methods, forming, soldering, filing and finishing, and come out with a finished piece for yourself or a wonderful hand-made gift! This class is great for adults with little or no jewelry experience who want to try it in a short format. Taught by Sage Kochavi, professional jeweler, artist, and instructor and long-time Artisan’s Asylum member.
- Returned! Jewelry I: Basic Metalsmithing, 6-9pm Tuesdays, May 7 – June 4 – Welcome to the world of jewelry making! In this introductory series, students will learn some of the metalsmithing techniques used in jewelry construction, including resin inlay, photo etching, cold connections, soldering, design and layout. At the end of five weeks, you’ll have made a ring and a personalized sketchbook with applique copper and brass-decorated cover! Taught by Karen Christians.
- Tool Training: Manual Milling Machine, 7-9:30pm alternate Wednesdays — One-session basic training on the Asylum’s Bridgeport Vertical Milling Machines. See registration for exact dates available. Taught by Danaan Metge, mechanical engineer, maker, prototyper, and Artisan’s Asylum member.
Metalworking & Welding
- NEW! DIY Kinetic Sculpture: Tabletop Flying Machine, 2-4:30pm Saturday & Sunday, May 11-12 — Motion is mesmerizing, especially when it’s art. In this weekend workshop, make a kinetic machine that mimics winged flight to grace your tabletop. Learn brazing and small metal working skills as well as basic mechanical concepts of rotary to linear motion. Taught by Ecco, professional illustrator, mixed-media artist and sculptor and longtime Asylum member and instructor.
- Introduction to Brazing, 2-4:30pm Sundays, April 14-28 — Brazing is a uniquely useful metal joining process that allows for joining dissimilar metals and joining metals that could not otherwise be joined by welding. Learn about joint design, brazing technique, and practice joining dissimilar metals; join very thin steel (.010 thick!) to thick steel plates, and join thin walled steel tubes without welding. Even learn how to repair castings made from iron alloys with poor weldability! Taught by Paul Carson, Asylum member, engineer, and self-taught bicycle designer.
- Metalworking Intensive I, 7-10pm Wednesdays, May 8-29 — In this class, the instructors will guide students through professional-grade steel construction skills in the building of industrial steel stools, storage racks, and work tables for the shops of the Asylum. By the end of the session, students will have learned all the skills necessary to building load-bearing steel structures, including cutting, grinding, jigging, and MIG welding. Taught by Paul Carson, Asylum member, engineer, and self-taught bicycle designer, and David Dowling, Asylum member, metal artist and fabricator.
- Introduction to TIG Welding, 7:30-9:30pm Thursdays, May 9-30 — Come learn how to weld with Skunk! TIG welding is a precise type of welding generally used to make space frames (like bicycle frames) and small pieces. Students learn operation of a TIG welder and a large range of supporting equipment for a variety of materials and joint types. Taught by Skunk, metal sculptor, graphic designer, bike builder, Grand Poobah of the nerd bicycle gang SCUL, and long-time Asylum TIG welding instructor and member.
- Build Your Own Bike Frame, 10am-1pm Saturdays, May 11 – June 22 — See “Bicycle Building” above for details.
- Tool Training: Oxy-Acetylene Welding, Cutting, & Heating, — The oxy-acetylene (O/A) rig is arguably the most versatile, potentially dangerous, and misunderstood piece of equipment in any metal shop. This one-shot class will demonstrate welding, cutting, brazing, and heating, and teach you how to set up, operate, and shut down an oxy-acetylene rig without harming yourself, other Asylumers, or the equipment. Taught by Paul Carson, professional engineer, metalworking enthusiast, and bike builder.
- Single-Color Screen Printing: A One-Day Introduction, 12-5pm Saturday, May 25 — Ever wanted to make your own custom t-shirt, tote bag, sticker, poster, or greeting card? In this one day intensive introduction to screen printing, you’ll learn all the basics and by the end of the evening create a screen using your artwork and print a one-color design on your choice of t-shirts or paper. Taught by Erik Heumiller, graphic designer, film editor, printer, and Asylum renter and volunteer.
- NEW! Woodworking: Guided Projects, 7-9:30pm Mondays, Sessions April 15 & 22 and April 29 & May 6 — Create your own woodworking class at Artisan’s Asylum! Pete Montague will be guiding students through independent projects in the Artisan’s Asylum woodshop. Students can get assistance with new projects, unfinished projects, one-on-one power and hand tool training, material recommendations, design advice, finishing tips, tool purchasing, vendors and more. All skill levels and all projects welcome! Registration is available for 2-week sessions — students are welcome to sign up for as many sessions as they like/need. Taught by Peter Montague, master woodworker and graduate of the North Bennett St. School, and longtime Asylum member and woodworking instructor.
- Woodworking: Build a Chair, 7-9:30 Wednesdays, April 24 – May 29 — In this new fast-paced introduction to woodworking techniques, learn to build a piece of attractive wooden furniture (in this case, a wooden kitchen chair) from start to finish. Learn to work rough lumber to finished surface, introducing every major tool in the shop on the way. Appropriate for beginners and those looking to expand existing skills alike; tool training and testing available for complete newbies. (Class fee also includes one month’s unlimited membership to the Asylum.) Taught by Chris Fitzhugh, returning Asylum instructor, lifetime woodworker, and robotics entrepreneur.
- Introduction to Wood Lathe, 7-10pm Mondays, May 13-27 — Woodturning is the art of curves and cylinders, smoothness and symmetry. This 3-week class will teach you how to use the Asylum’s wood lathe safely and effectively, providing a survey of tools, techniques and tricks. You’ll learn techniques for turning wood on a spindle and a mandrel. And along the way you’ll make a few pieces to take home. Taught by Dan Landers, carpenter, electrician, electrical engineer, and wood buff.
For our full roster of Tool Training sessions, designed for those self-starters who already know what you want to build, are accustomed to working on your own, and just want to learn how to use the tools you need safely, check out the list on our Tool Training & Testing page.
Refund Policy: We offer full refunds for any class cancellations more than three days in advance of the class start date. After that point refunds are contingent upon the Asylum being able to fill the seat. No refunds are offered for same-day cancellations.