Posts Tagged: help

A Closer Look – Dexter Mat Cutter Packaging

I was preparing a new art project I’ve been working on which required the help of my inherited mat cutter (thanks mom!) and every time I pull this thing out, I just want to stare at it. (That’s what she said!)

Needless to say, my project (which you’ll know about soon) was put on hold for a minute while I documented just how cool this little thing is. I think it’s by far my favorite tool in my art supply bin:

Draw A Dinosaur Day – Mine and More!

It’s STILL Draw a Dinosaur Day.  Have you doodled your dino yet?  Remember, this ain’t no art competition, it’s just for fun. So don’t be shy and help break the record!  The goal is 1000 dino’s!

Here’s mine:

Here’s some more from throughout the day:

KickStarter of the Week: Lasersaur

Laser cutters are expensive. Like really expensive. Like $30,000+ expensive.  So what if you could build your own at a fraction of the cost?

That’s what Lasersaur is trying to accomplish with the help of some KickStarter funds. They think they can make a totally open source and repeatable laser cutter for under $5,000 and a budget version for under 3k.

Any maker of any kind (artists, architects, DIYers, designers, etc) can benefit from having a laser cutter.  It allows you to create and reproduce things (ie robot parts, designs, bike parts, etc) over and over with… well with laser precision.

So, with the help of your funds they can get crackin’ on the first prototype.  The best part if you do help out? You get to be a tester.  

You call also pick up some schwag for your pledges, exclusive access to design documents, behind the scenes photos and documentation and way more. 

Please to be checking this week’s KickStarter out.  Even if you don’t need a laser cutter, there are LOADS of people who will benefit from this.  It’s a fantastic creative cause. 

KickStarter of the Week: Absentia (A horror movie)

What if there were cracks in reality and we could be pulled through into total darkness?  That’s the idea behind the latest horror in progress, Absentia,  by award winning writer/director Mike Flanagan (Oculus).

If you’ve followed me for awhile, you probably already know I have a soft spot for the horror genre. I particularly enjoy films like this that don’t rely on gore and guts to get the chill across, but instead prey on our psychological fears. 

Absentia relates itself to films like  The Exorcist and Session 9 where the viewer really gets to know the characters involved and the threat often goes unseen. “After all, what you DON’T see is always scarier than what you DO….”

So, why the KickStarter?  Well, every independent film needs a little help of course.  The money this one earns (goal of $15,000) will go towards securing additional capital from investors and also used to begin principal photography. 

As always, you get a little something in return for your pledges.  Donate just $5 and receive exclusive reports from the set as they go through pre-production to the release.  $10 and you get the reports plus photos, footage and film progresses.  $100 gets all of that plus credit in the closing titles, a signed copy of the script, a signed DVD of the film, copy of the score and a DVD of Oculus.  

There’s way more (get a walk on role in the movie!) so be sure to check out the KickStarter page and definitely watch the video they put together for the project.  I loved it.

Kick Starter of the Week: Trade School – pay with barter… not cash

How many times have you wanted to take a class, but you couldn’t afford it? Trade School based in NYC has found a solution and wants to continue doing so, with your help.

At Trade School, students actually barter for their classes while specialists teach for basic items.  Some classes were taught for pairs of shoes, food, mixed CDs, etc.  Classes taught ranged from scrabble strategy to grant writing.  Apparently there was even a ghost hunting class!

The first run of Trade School saw over 800 participants and 76 classes.  The response was so outstanding that, naturally, they want to do it again.  Lucky for me since I missed it the first time!

There’s only one little problem, not everything can be taken care of with barter.  They need some non salvageable materials and want to be able to pay someone to coordinate the classes, schedule and maintenance of the space. 

Their goal? $9,000 by June 27.  Pledge $15 and get a credit in the “Funders” section of their website with a personal link.  $100 or more and get a unique recipe from chef and trade school teacher Athena Kokoronis.  $5,000 and you get a dinner party with the same chef. And of course the doozie.  $10,000 and they’ll be your personal creative consultants for 3 years.  (There’s loads of other pledge options too. As low as $1, so head on over!)

Honestly, I don’t think I should have to say very much about this. The idea of trading knowledge for goods is a brilliant one.  I, and so many people I know, simply can’t afford to take classes (and I’ve been desperate for a photography lighting class by the way) and Trade School makes it possible for us to get our learn on.

Gotta See It: Derick Melander – Second Hand Clothing Sculpture

3,615 pounds.  Three thousand, six hundred fifteen pounds. That’s how much textile waste is created by New Yorkers every 5 minutes, and that’s where sculptor Derrick Melander steps in.

Grasp by Derrick MelanderCompression by Derrick Melander


Melander takes our tired, old, stained and faded clothing and turns it into art creating yet another way to recycle.  He separates by color (and sometimes gender), folds to exact dimensions and layers the clothing so it stacks perfectly. 

However, he’s not just tossing it all together. There’s a bit of an emotional process involved as well, as with all art. 

From his statement:

“When I come across a dress with a hand-sewn repair, or a coat with a name written inside the collar, the work starts to feel like a collective portrait.”

Back in September, Derrick created a 3,615 pound sculpture (so you can see just how much we waste in a 5 minute period) resulting in a 5×7′ cube.  It was done in one day with the help of the Office of Recycling Outreach and Education and was part of the 5th annual Green Brooklyn… Green City Fair.  Check out the video to see more and then consider what you’re doing to help cut down on textile waste, eh?

Help Haiti Art Fundraiser on BOOOOOOOM!

Help Haiti Booooooom

It may not be the top news story of the day anymore, but Haiti is still very very much in need and it’s been amazing to watch the arts community rise up and help. (Please click the Craft Hope for Haiti link over on the sidebar!) 

One of my favorite sites, BOOOOOOOM, has helped organize an incredible fundraiser. You really should go see the pieces that have been donated by various artists.  Prices range from $20-$300 but if that’s still a little steep for you pockets, you can donate whatever you can here thanks to Google.

Kick Starter – Fund ideas and endeavors! Seriously..do it!

Do you know about Kick Starter?  Honestly, I thought I had already posted about this place awhile back but I guess it fell in one of those dusty places in my brain and I forgot.  Surprise!

So it’s actually a really important and incredible site for creative minds and willing donors.  Kick Starter offers a place for people to post their projects and ideas that need a little funding.  Whether it be a little backup cash for bills while they finally finish that photography series or funding to help out a creative meeting space.  There are loads of unique projects you can help.

Plus, there’s added incentive (other than helping out a creative mind in need) for all you folks interested in lending a helping hand. Each project has a little something nice to give depending on how much you pledge.  (i.e. a photographer sends you a print with a pledge of 25 bucks or more).  So you walk away with more than just that fuzzy feeling.

There is a catch though!  If the project doesn’t meet it’s financial goal by a certain date, then it gets no funding at all.  So if you see something you believe in, don’t hesitate…give!

To make up for not mentioning this place sooner, and just because I love the cause, I’ll be adding a Kick Starter of the week here on Arts and Dafts starting tomorrow!

7 Tips for Organizing Your Thoughts

Days like today, I catch myself doing too much thinking.  What I mean by that is I have this intense desire to get a lot of things done (i.e. writing, drawing, grocery shopping, etc) but all I end up doing is sitting and thinking about all these tasks and how great they’re going to be when I do them and oh the fun I’ll have when all my chores are done, yada yada.  Next thing I know it’s 5 o’clock and I haven’t done anything.

So I’ve taken some action.

1. Turn it off.   The t.v., music, your cellphone. Whatever.  Of course, if these things don’t distract you, then no worries, just pretend I didn’t mention it.  However, I gotta say, I didn’t realize how much of a distraction they were until I started turning them off.  If I have music on, I start to sing along. If the t.v. is on behind me, my back starts to turn towards the computer. Now I use these things as personal rewards. Once I’ve got my writing done for the day,  I can turn them back on.

2. Get it done. If I find my mind is overwhelmed with “Gotta go grocery shopping” or “The bathroom is a freakin’ mess”, I won’t get anything done.  In fact, I’ll probably end up writing posts about the trials and tribulations of bathroom maintenance and how I swore I just picked that dust/cat hair ball yesterday.  So just get it done.   I HATE chores, but more than I hate them, I LOVE when they’re out of the way.  Can’t clog up my brainwaves if there’s nothing to think about, right?

~side note: allow yourself to stop.  If you’re in the middle of cleaning the bathroom and come up with this super great idea and you just gotta get it out, do it! The sense of urgency actually makes it more fun for me.  Drop what you’re doing every now and then, your brain is telling you that by jove, you’ve got it!

3. Pare Down On Organizing. Organization for me is as foreign as the desire to light myself on fire.  It’s not that I don’t try, it’s more that I over do it and in turn, become less organized than I was before.  There is nothing more daunting than realizing you suddenly have 3 notebooks, 5 sketchbooks and a pile of scraps with notes.  Cut it down. One of each!  Why add to to the thought process “Where’s that damn idea I wrote down?” when you can have it all in once place.

4. Plan ahead. I’m not just talking about your projects.  I’m talking about the little things, like dinner.  Knowing exactly what I’ll be eating tonight is a huge weight off my shoulders.  It sounds so trivial but a gal like me will sit and think about this until it’s actually time to eat. Go ahead, try it out.  You might find that you just saved yourself an hours worth of “What do I want?” and put the energy into what you really want to be doing.

5.  Just do it. I’ve actually had to say those very words to myself outloud.  I know writing, drawing, creating in general is not a forced process, but sometimes I have to insist my brain just do as I say.  The other day I was going to sit out on the stoop and suddenly doubled over laughing. I had actually packed a little bag with my journal, sketchbook, reading material and a bottle of water…for the stoop…the one right outside my front door.  Now I realize that instead of packing for my every whim, I need to just say “This is what you’re going to do right now and that’s final.”

6. Set simple goals. Nothing too lofty.  I actually give myself a total of about 2 goals a day (these do not include menial tasks like scooping poop outta the litter box).  This helps my mind relax.  The less I lay before me, the less I have to think about, worry about, stress out about when I don’t get it done.  Plus, most days I complete my 2 goals in a jiff and move onto more and then I get to pat myself on the back.

7. Live guilt free. This is the hardest of all.  Just because you don’t organize yourself the way everyone else does, or because going for a walk isn’t your source of inspiration or because meditation or yoga or whatever aren’t great thought organizers, there’s no need for you to feel inferior.  Some of us are just old school.  A cup of coffee and a hamburger make us happy and therefore sets us at ease.  Don’t force yourself into doing things you’re not into.  Guilt is the fastest way to start lying to yourself and if you can’t tell yourself the truth, who can you tell?  Nevermind how overwhelming it can be on the creative process.