Kenneth Thompson searched the internet to find a place to purchase one of Gaff's unicorns from Blade Runner, and when he couldn't find any he decided to make it himself. And while he does sell them, he has provided free instructions and videos to help anyone make their own Blade Runner origami unicorn or chicken. Includes bonus matchstick man instructions.
Shoemaking (the job of a cordwainer) is a very particular blend of artistry and science. Here are some masters at work: Emiko Matsuda at Foster & Son; artisans at Saint Crispin's; and at Paul Parkman. [more inside]
There are hundreds of instructional videos on YouTube, but if you ever wanted to learn how to draw some of your favorite characters, like Spongebob Squarepants and Mario, or build a Jurassic fort or a string art sun clock, then Character Corner and Forts and Crafts are places you could go.
Hans Kühner, of G. Henle Verlag, a publisher of classical music urtexts, hypnotically engraves a sheet of Liszt the old-fashioned way.
"In the tomb of Princess Isinkheb was found an entire tent – its inside lined with animals and flowers, the blue ceiling studded with appliqued stars..." and the ancient Egyptian craft of tent making is still alive today. Australian filmmaker Kim Beamish spent three years immersed in the lives of craftsmen, filming his documentary The Tentmakers of Cairo, which premieres this April. It also tells the story of Egypt's struggle with democracy through the lives of a community of artisans whose craft has remained largely unchanged since Pharaonic times. [more inside]
In case you haven't had your fill of pre-industrial craftsmanship in a while, watch some videos of folks at Colonial Williamsburg & Jamestown doing their things: A gunsmith, a silversmith, a cabinet maker, and a glass blower. [more inside]
Happy Baba Marta Day! Time to get your Martenitsas together and pick out a tree to hang them on when spring finally comes. ...Or, if you're not in Bulgaria, just read this. [more inside]
Studying and making an early instrument called a citole. Until recently, this style of instrument was not recognized as separate from a gittern.
Paper Arcade! A flickr collection of print-fold-and-glue classic arcade cabinets.
The art of making a book (original video on Facebook, without added music) takes you through the traditional manual process of bookbinding, from selecting and setting the individual letters to finally binding the book in leather and adding finishing touches. If you'd like to try your hand at something similar but with some modern flourishes, there are plenty of tutorials and guides, linked below. [more inside]
The Foehr Reef is part of the worldwide Crochet Coral Reef Project. It was made by over 700 women and combines more than 4000 individual pieces of marine wonder. A short video shows its beauty [alternating English and German audio]. PDFs with pictures. "The Crochet Coral Reef is a woolly celebration of the intersection of higher geometry and feminine handicraft, and a testimony to the disappearing wonders of the marine world." It originated out of a desire to increase awareness of environmental threats to the world's reefs and is a conjunction of art, environmentalism, and geometry. [more inside]
"First it was knitting; then came excessive facial grooming, vegan baking and urban beekeeping. You thought hipster hobbies couldn’t get weirder? Brace yourself." [more inside]
Many types of quilt blocks can be built by stitching together simple geometric shapes. Then there’s paper (sometimes called foundation) piecing. [more inside]
There are many reasons people start sewing their own clothes: to break out of some of the cycle of fast fashion’s humanitarian and ecological issues (MF link), to be creative, to make quality clothes, to support local fabric shops and independent pattern designers, and to express their own style. A sometimes-overlooked benefit, though, is that of examining body acceptance. [more inside]
Each week for a year, the folks in the special collections library at the University of St. Andrews are taking a how-to book from the collection and following its instructions for a project, in order to get a clearer sense of what life was like a century or two ago. Thus far in 52 Weeks of Historical How-Tos, they've learned how to make shoe polish like an 1825 footman, bake mince pie from 10 different recipes dating from 1710-1862, perform parlour tricks to amaze your friends, and take photographs via the wet collodion process.
If you're looking to play with your food and you've mastered the hotdog octopus (aka octodog), and you're sad that so many of the modern foods-and-crafts projects lack poetry to describe the crafting process, take a peek at Aunt Jo and Uncle George's Kritters of the Kitchen Kingdom from 1922. (And as you could expect, it's dated and a bit racist.)
"It is made out of velcro-like fabric that lines the Russian food containers [that are] found here on the International Space Station."
Paper Matrix is a blog that gives instructions for cool papercraft objects, "reinterpreting the Danish tradition of woven paper hearts and ornaments." Cut paper in the prescribed ways and weave it together carefully to make a mobile of colorful hot air balloons, gorgeous and complex boxes; simple but satisfying pennants and much more... including a full theater for performances by paper dolls.
Elementary school students are using Shrinky Dinks to make beautiful Chihuly-style minisculptures. And so can you! You don't need to buy official Shrinky Dinks - just save your #6 plastic and Chihuly it up.
"They pay a lot of attention to detail." A DIY miniature world made out of household scraps.
The Welsh Space Campaign. The suit is made of the fabric woven in the last remaining wool mills in Wales. The astronaut boots are traditional Welsh clogs crafted by a traditional clog maker. The whole pressure system that will enable the astronaut to sustain life in outer space was built by a Welsh plumber. The aim of the designer is to reveal that Wales has the capacity to explore space, and to show that off-world culturalisation can be achieved through a collective communitarian effort; as a way to allow the people involved to reconsider their role and skill in relation to these cosmic contexts. -- We Make Money Not Art
Clever camera trickery in the form of flash stencilling by enclosing the flash and creating a window of a specific shape to let the light through, and then ‘light painting’ for the camera. [more inside]
A nicely crafted video showing the construction of a treadle lathe, a foot-powered device for woodturning. The builder uses only hand tools and traditional methods; even the drill press is hand-cranked. Useful for those interested in constructing such a thing, mesmerizing for those who enjoy "how it's made"-type videos.
If you're interested in glassblowing, or if you simply like to watch craftsmen at work, then here's a special treat for you: the Corning Museum of Glass (previously) has posted hours upon hours of videos of their studio demonstrations on Youtube. And if that's not enough, you might want to bookmark their live streams page, for they will be streaming about a dozen studio demonstrations over the summer. [more inside]
You've got an old computer, your're crafty, and you spent way too much time watching "Transformers" as a kid.
Suppose you’ve got an old computer around, just taking up space, and your initial attempts at finding alternate uses for it have not been successful. But you know perfectly well that, according to this super scientific pie graph, there must be better recycling ideas out there on the net. Let’s have a look at some of them, shall we? [more inside]
Geek Art Gallery features many different kinds of geek-related art in round-ups and posts: art installations, animation, comics, film shorts, paintings, photography, sculpture - even desserts. Specifically craft-focused geek blogs: Geek Crafts and Sprite Stitch (previously)
'At Angola Prison in Louisiana, model inmates or "trustees" are encouraged to participate in "hobby craft" as a part of their rehabilitation. Hobby craft is an arts program that involves painting, wood & leather working, taxidermy, furniture building, and many other disciplines.In many cases, they are given special workshops, tools and even private studios to work in.The goods are sold to the public at the prison’s annual rodeo and art fair. The money raised is then split mainly between inmates' families and prison administration, with the inmates themselves receiving only a small amount to buy more materials for the next fair. A sad irony is that this rehabilitation will rarely benefit the prisoners in the outside world because 90% of them have life sentences, and will end up being laid to rest at "The Farm."' A photographic essay.
Friendship bracelets! A photo tutorial for chevrons and another photo tutorial for basic stripes, chevrons, & diamonds. More basics with simple patterns & advanced. The BeyondBracelets thorough video tutorials (& on her blog is a bracelets 101 to gradually progress your skills). For complicated patterns check out these, and also these (with alphabet patterns & instructions), and also this crowdsourced free pattern-sharing site (patterns & tutorials), and finally this dollar-a-pattern pay site. If you're not interested in bracelets you can use the same idea for tangle-free headphones or wrapping tech cords & cables. (previously: lanyards)
Mama Lisa's World of International Music & Culture is a collection of songs and rhymes from around the world, in their original languages and with English translations, which you can browse by continent or country. Additionally, you can find a collection of English nursery rhymes, with a selection of period illustrations, with sources cited. And if you don't know the tunes, many of these songs and rhymes have links to MP3s, MIDI files, and videos. [more inside]
Think you love to crochet? I can guarantee you’re not a patch on Polish-born New York artist Agata Oleksiak, now known as Olek. Olek has covered everything in her apartment with its own custom-made crocheted sweater, and a installation of those items is on display at the Christopher Henry Gallery in Nolita until May 28. She’s also done people, bicycles, cars, windows in abandoned buildings, the bull on Wall Street, and pretty much anything else that would stay still long enough. She keeps track of her crocheting time by counting the number of movies she watches while making an item. I notice she uses variegated acrylic, which is the cheapest yarn on the market. I always wondered who was still buying that "ugly afghan" yarn.
The Hairpin shows us how to how to make a doll into a wine glass in 23 quick steps.
Frederik and Gerrit Braun, energetic twin brothers with no shortage of dreams, have just finished construction of the world’s largest model airport. With 40,000 lights, 15,000 figurines, 500 cars, 10,000 trees, 50 trains, 1000 wagons, 100 signals, 200 switches, 300 buildings and 40 planes, Knuffingen Airport is both a wonder to behold as well as a technological tour de force. The best part of Knuffingen is that it’s alive. Forty planes and 90 vehicles move about autonomously.
Giang Dinh uses the wet folding origami technique to make faces, animals, figures, and even miniatures.
Amy Sedaris has a YouTube channel where she demonstrates how to craft objects from her new book Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People. So far she's made hot dogs on a rake, potato ships, a donut bird feeder, a Thanksgiving centerpiece, pompoms and a rabbit treat called Dynamite Stixx.
Antique sock knitting machines are seeing a resurgence in popularity, and so is knitting socks by hand. You can knit them on needles that are double-pointed or circular, one sock at a time or both at once. [more inside]
Crafting can be great. But beware: crafting can also go spectacularly wrong. Fortunately for the benefit of those of us who might become so proud of having made something, anything, all by ourselves, that we are oblivious that the result is an aesthetic travesty, there are websites making a valiant attempt to document the legion of ways in which crafting can get totally out of hand. Before you pick up those needles or scissors or fire up the kiln or soldering iron, check out: Glitter Gone Bad; Handmade Gone Wrong; What Not To Craft, Homemade Hilarity; and Kraftomatic. The sturdy souls at CraftFail (previously) deserve special credit for documenting their own crafting mishaps, and Regretsy (also previously) and Etsy WTF will help you choose wisely from among Etsy’s hand-crafted wares. [more inside]
DIY Forges: not forgery, but making your own smithy. There are plenty of variations available, but there's something special when a teenage boy builds his own forge and teaches himself black smithing.
In its' third year, Softies for Mirabel is an appeal for handmade stuffed toys to benefit children supported by The Mirabel Foundation. [more inside]
If you’re into crafting, you’ve probably stumbled upon Craftster, a crafting community web log within which members can post pictures and documentation of their own crafts and processes, share information and tutorials, and get feedback. The crafts tend to be off-beat and original and many involve upcycling – this is not a site where one would proudly post pictures of a completed paint-by-numbers or rug hooking kit project. The Craftster esprit de corps is nicely expressed by its slogans, which include, “No tea cosies without irony”, “Knit fast. Die Warm”, “Measure twice, cut once. Meh. Just start cutting”, and “Cheaper than therapy”. Craftster was launched in 2003, has 700,000 visitors a month, and, besides posting and discussion boards for every possible subset of crafting, its features include a calendar of forthcoming crafting events, member-created city guides to craft resources in your area, and staff-written articles. But I especially wanted to draw your attention to the Craftster Craft Challenges, the first one of which was announced on April 28, 2005. If you’re competitive and crafty, you have just enough time to whip up something for the 41st crafting challenge, which is to create an “edible craft” (the entry posting window is August 1st to August 5th). For inspiration, check out the 40 previous Craft Challenges. [more inside]
The Good, The Bad and The Etsy. A blog highlighting the Good, the Bad, and the Etsy. [via mefi projects]
Crafters may look like a close-knit group, but the reality is that there are armed camps within crafting. Knitters and crocheters brandish their respective tools and claim their craft is easier to learn or more versatile, while those who are bistitchual remain determinedly on the fence. For the uninitiated/uncrafty, here’s an explanation of the difference between the two. “Wooly Bullies” [sic], a documentary, explores the animus between the Needles and the Hooks. When Sandi Wiseheart of Knitting Daily dares to mention the “c” word, she gets many comments from knitting readers who, while stressing that they have nothing against crochet, just don’t want to see it in their
backyard magazine. When Kim Werker, editor of Interweave Crochet, tries to talk to the Knitting Daily crowd about crocheting she gets even more negative feedback. Part of the problem seems to be that while knitters contend with the “old lady’s pastime” stereotype, crocheters are up against the much more negative “granny square and toilet paper cosy” stigma. [shakes head in sorrow] Crafters, can’t we all just get along? and make stuff?