June 2010 Archives



I have a weakness for the magic of stop motion animation - and I love to watch documentaries about the makers' process. This short video shows the creation of a holiday message: 5 days, 20 animators, and 288,000 candles.
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I must have heard of Theo Jansen before today - but this video got me clicking links to find out more. The motion here is beautiful (and I love wire).
We're counting down the days until our departure for vacation: we get on the train Saturday morning - Saturday night we'll go to sleep with the sound of the ocean outside the window.  The train gives us time in between places - a day of slow transition, reading, looking out the window, talking, playing with our electronics, and thinking.
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Just to remind me of how a good writer can create a story from ANY material... The blog Catalog Living offers "A look into the exciting lives of the people who live in your catalogs." Very funny, and worth a follow.
Unplanned, but one of my favorite parts of the weekend so far. I am not usually someone who sleeps in the daytime, but the warm afternoon got me so relaxed... errands had been run... an old mystery was soothing...  the house was quiet.
As of this afternoon, day camp is officially over.  I still have work weeks here and there through the summer, but the school year finally feels done.  Summer will be a time of rest, exploration, and preparation for the year ahead. I could fill every day with projects, but one of the projects will be some needed down time.  So that's a resolution - keep some part of each day open to chance.                                                                                                                                                                  
Today we offered each camper a tiny cardboard box, a color-changing LED, and a battery.  Scissors, paper, glue, tape, tinfoil, string... each camper took supplies and headed off in her own direction.  They made lanterns and nightlights, spinning games (choose your own mountain), light-up jewelry, architecture (doghouse with matching dog's playhouse), and mini dioramas. 

I like setting students free to explore through play - and camp is the perfect opportunity for that kind of open-ended activity.  
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The Exploratorium's Learning Studio invited 11 makers to speak about their process this spring. Visitors included Adrian Freed, the Evil Mad Scientist team, and Ken Murphy (that's a detail of his History of the Sky, above), among other inspiring people. Meet the Makers: All the Interviews - is now available as a set of links all on one page.

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Still under development, but rewarding to explore what's there: LilyPond will be a site for the sharing of soft circuit projects - ranging from first circuit projects to complex installations with LilyPad microprocessor and sensors.  Brought to us by the High-Low Tech group at MIT's Media Lab.  (via Craftzine)
Spent much of the evening in upgrading my iPhone software to version 4.0.  Still learning the ins and outs of it, but I am happy to be able to consolidate applications into folders.
Back from a weekend away, full of laughter, good food and conversation, walking in the woods, singing, talking by the fire, knitting, waking to birdsong and creeksounds... rested and ready to do whatever comes next.
See woolgathering... for my thoughts on today...
I'm going off-line for a weekend in the woods...


Here's the video of the animation made by the summer camp students.
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Working with students to make stop motion animation at camp today. They moved objects (school supplies) across a piece of paper on the ground.  I took photos. Many photos. Still photos.  Lots of discussion about how things would move, whose turn it was, and so on.  Tomorrow I'll stitch the photos together to make a short video, and then we'll add the music that they've composed and performed in another camp class.  Look forward to the result, but for now I'm tired out.
How long has it been since I last read The Artist's Way?
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If you trust in Nature, in what is simple in Nature, in the small Things that hardly anyone sees and that can so suddenly become huge, immeasurable; if you have this love for what is humble and try very simply, as someone who serves, to win the confidence of what seems poor: then everything will become easier for you, more coherent and somehow more reconciling, not in your conscious mind perhaps, which stays behind, astonished, but in your innermost awareness, awakeness, and knowledge.

- Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
Completed the exercises at the end of Chapter 5 in my Objective-C book and am now on page 100.  That's one-fifth of the book.  (And I notice that 20% doesn't sound as large as one-fifth to me, for some reason.)  I'm pleased with my pace and progress so far - think I'm moving slowly enough to absorb and understand, so that I'll really be able to USE this language when I'm done.
Muggy.  I keep waiting for the thunderstorm that doesn't come.  Meanwhile, I work on exercises from the Objective-C book.  Wish it were possible to write with X-Code on the iPad, as my laptop gets hot, and the iPad doesn't.
Just fun to read this, and remember the couch cushion buildings in my own past.
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Thousands of images - color as well as black and white - available for browsing and inspiration on this site: Pattern in Islamic Art.
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I love being able to work incrementally on a larger project. Tiny bits of effort accumulate, and effects multiply.  Moment by moment the construction or learning or creation or invention becomes more and more itself.  Even if each day is not perfect, and it won't be, the overall effect is powerful.
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I have been enjoying Gravilux on my iPad. It reminds me of the cool things that you can do in Processing...  And that gets me thinking about programming an art piece for the video camera on my iPhone.  (So I'll study more Objective-C tonight.) 
The new iPhone4 and iOS 4 justify all my present struggles with Objective-C and chapters 3 & 4.  The beautifully high-resolution screen.  The gyroscope combined with accelerometer so that you can use pitch, yaw, and roll as interactions with a program.  HD video - with editing.  Not ready to buy one for a little while, but so happy with the way the device is evolving.
Continuing to move forward in my Objective-C book. (That is, if you count getting halfway through the exercises at the end of chapter 4, only to decide that re-reading chapter 3 would be a good idea, as moving forward.)
Sometimes I mistake the echo of fireworks after a ball game for thunder. Tonight I heard thunder and wondered why they had been playing baseball in the rain.

Crocheting a stretch sensor from lara grant on Vimeo.


This stretch sensor is made by combining wool yarn, elastic thread, and conductive thread in a narrow crocheted cylinder. I don't see why you couldn't make a similar sensor in knitting: an I-cord stretch sensor. (Now I need to think of a project for it... though I will finish the Klein bottle hat first.)
John Underkoffler presents at TED 2010:

Sometimes the best next choice is sleep.
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