Author Archive

March 4, 2012

3D Printer Build – Part 1

by hstrykdiy

Just a little update from MakeHaven – The 3D Printer build is underway. In one day they got pretty far with the build, you can read the full post here by MakeHaven member John Scrudato. They have almost finished frame of the printer (a Reprap Prusa Mendel) and all 3 axes are working great. Next step is to build the extruder and attach the motors. As John writes, “Then we can connect a PC and start printing some plastic!”

February 29, 2012

MakeHaven – A New Maker Space in New Haven

by hstrykdiy

I’m excited to announce that New Haven, CT has its own maker space and I am an official member! We’re called MakeHaven and we’re just starting out, so we’re in the process of getting furniture, growing our inventory and planning our mission and goals for the year. This Saturday we will be meeting to start making a 3D printer. (I will probably be spending my time documenting the process and working on some sewing.) So far, a majority of the members are into computing, coding and circuit bending. I plan on rounding out the space with my various crafting skills. We had a mini introduction to soldering this Tuesday and I did my first ever soldering. (I think, when it comes to burning hot object near my hands, I will stick to my trusty hot glue gun.) It’s been very exciting to be a part of this space from the very start. We were discussing all the possibilities for projects we could work on together. I was happy to find that not only are they up for some crafting, but home brewing, cooking (the space has an old kitchen!) and everything and anything to do with DIY. We have a great group of members who are passionate about DIY and I feel so lucky to continue on where our class left off and have a space so close to home! I hope to post our progress here on the DIYCultures blog. Classmates, if you are looking for an escape from the big city and looking to craft and solder, just let me know!

February 29, 2012

DIY Times

by hstrykdiy


“The DIY Times is great zine series all about people with a DIY attitude to life, whether that’s printing t-shirts, making tables or running a music festival. They have about 20 pages in each zine with a screen printed cover. DIY Times is by NO GUTS NO GLORY is a community based collective of creative people from around the UK, established in November 2009 by Nathan Blaker based in Exeter UK.”

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December 18, 2011

‘The new domesticity: Fun, empowering or a step back for American women?’

by hstrykdiy

The new domesticity: Fun, empowering or a step back for American women?

An interesting article from the Washington Post about surge in interest in DIY and crafting.

At one level, this stuff is just plain fun. “Sometimes a can of jam is just a can of jam,” as Freud (never) said. Our tech-saturated generation craves creative hands-on activities, and nostalgic hobbies such as canning, knitting and baking fit the bill. We’ve realized that just because something was historically devalued as “women’s work,” that doesn’t mean we have to shun it to be taken seriously in the world.

December 8, 2011

Buy Nothing Christmas Alternatives

by hstrykdiy

For the first issue of ‘Counter Craft’ I will be including a page of alternative gift ideas. What are some of your favorite alternative gift ideas? They can include buying local, craft ideas, anything you can come up with!
Post here or at the ‘counter craft’ blog.
ALSO I am accepting ideas for craftivist projects in solidarity with the Occupy movement!

Buy Nothing

a page from Crafti-ZINE Edition 01 made by The Wellington Craftivism Collective

November 18, 2011

Occupy London takes over UBS abandoned building

by hstrykdiy

I thought this action was a beautiful way to reclaim an abandoned space – especially one owned by a financial giant. I felt this action bridged together the Occupy movement with ideas we have talked about in class – one that immediately comes to mind is Trade School. This action (if it’s allowed to continue) could potentially help to invalidate arguments against the movement (i.e, they aren’t being productive, they are “lazy”).

via Telegraph UK

The building they have taken over at Crown Place belongs to, but is not occupied by, UBS and no business transactions take place there.

The activists plan to set up a “bank of ideas” there tomorrow and open the disused offices and meeting rooms to “those who have lost their nurseries, community centres and youth clubs due to savage Government spending cuts”.

A programme of events has been drawn up, including talks from Palestinian activists and comedy by Josie Long, they said.

…Occupy London supporter Jack Holburn said: “While over 9,000 families were kicked out of their homes in the last three months for failing to keep up mortgage payments – mostly due to the recession caused by the banks – UBS and other financial giants are sitting on massive abandoned properties.

“As banks repossess families’ homes, empty bank property needs to be repossessed by the public.

“Yesterday we learned that the Government has failed to create public value out of banking failure. We can do better. We hope this is the first in a wave of ‘public repossessions’ of property belonging to the companies that crashed the global economy.”

…Activist Sarah Layler said: “The bank of ideas will host a full events programme where people will be able to trade in creativity rather than cash.

“We will also make space available for those that have lost their nurseries, community centres and youth clubs to savage Government spending cuts.”

November 7, 2011

“DIY: Revolution 3.0–Beta”

by hstrykdiy

knitta tank
Writer Dennis Stevens recently wrote an article titled, “DIY: Revolution 3.0–Beta” found on American Crafts Magazine’s website. I found the article to be quite interesting, however despite Stevens’ disclaimer: “… I am not making a simple series of generalizations about generations, social movements and the experience of groups of people,” – he ends up doing exactly that. Now, to be fair – he was trying to cover a lot of territory in a relatively short article. Stevens is comparing studio craft with “diy craft”. His goal is to “place the DIY craft movement within the larger cultural context of generational movements, as these craft practitioners comprise groups whose values and aims need to be acknowledged and understood.” He had my attention through most of the article and then at the end he completely disappointed me:

…The effect is that regardless of their political ambitions, anytime someone needlepoints a pleasant-looking phrase gleefully embedded with curse words, knits a skull and crossbones or makes a cozy for a tank, these cultural statements demonstrate 1) the semiotic literacy of the generation, 2) the nostalgic irony through which this generation prefers to operate and 3) how cynicism sometimes finds its way to the surface of this creative work. Quite simply, this work makes its cultural statements indirectly and quietly. Rather than bringing revolution to the front door and kicking it open, as their parents may have hoped to do, these independent makers are using the disarming and unassuming aesthetic of diy craft’s remixed domestic creativity to make subversive statements about the world in which they live.

I have to say that in my personal opinion the acts of creating a needlepoint with curse words or knitting a skull and crossbones are completely different than making “a cozy for a tank”. The first two examples are quite passive acts and I can understand his claim that the “work makes its cultural statements indirectly and quietly”. The pink tank he is referring to is ‘Pink M.24 Chaffee‘, a piece by Danish artist Marianne Jorgensen.

via Jorgensen’s site:

The pink covering consists of more than a 4000 pink squares- 15 x 15 centimetres – knitted by volunteers from Denmark, the UK , USA and several other countries. People were invited through Cast Off Knitting Club, from friend to friend either by word of mouth or over the internet, and by a number of knitting groups made for this specific project, or other already existing knitting groups.

Although the piece was placed in front of the Nikolaj Contemporary Art Center in Copenhagen, and thus an arranged, commissioned piece, I still find this to be a louder act of protest than Stevens’ so neatly wraps up as “indirect and quiet”. I feel that craftivism and DIY craft can make their statements passively, but I also believe there are makers out there making statements through their craft that are “bringing revolution to the front door and kicking it open”. I also don’t believe it’s fair to either outlet to wrap indie craft up with craftivism. Just as with any act of art placement and intent is key. Is the piece meant for personal use? Is it a guerrilla act reclaiming a public space? Is it meant to address social unrest? Is it the act of one artist or a collective? If, as Stevens writes, “these craft practitioners comprise groups whose values and aims need to be acknowledged and understood” – then I think they deserve to be free of such generalizations.

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November 4, 2011

Craftivism Collective: Mini protest banners

by hstrykdiy

This project was designed by the Craftivism Collective in the UK.

First, an introduction to the Craftivism Collective:
Our manifesto is: “To expose the scandal of global poverty, and human rights injustices though the power of craft and public art. This will be done through provocative, non-violent creative actions.”

Berlin July 2009

The project is simple: “The concept is to make a small unthreatening protest banner on a global justice or poverty issue that you care about. Then you put it up (with cable ties) in a relevant public space.”

This project is a simple way to occupy public spaces and keep the public aware of the ongoing protests. As advertisements interrupt our lives, invade our space, these banners hang in juxtaposition to the corporate takeover of our landscape. I feel that this project is an alternative (but not a replacement) for those (like me) who can’t spend the majority of their time at the protests. The zip ties that hang these banners are a great touch too. The zip ties have become a symbol of the hundreds of arrests that have occurred since the protests began.

November 2, 2011

Poetry Bombing With Agustina Woodgate

by hstrykdiy

This video was posted in April and I recently came across it again during my research. Agustina Woodgate is an Argentinian-born artist now residing in Miami, FL. For the O, Miami poetry festival Woodgate “poetry bombed” thrift stores by sewing poems into the clothes. I found this to be a lighter take on shop dropping. Both the “traditional” form of shop dropping and Woodgate’s poetry bombing create an unexpected moment for the finder. However, instead of commenting on capitalism and/or production Woodgate’s mission is to displace poetry and create an unexpected and happy moment for the finder.

October 27, 2011

Halloween DIY – Camera Costume

by hstrykdiy

Halloween is my favorite time of year. Besides being into the macabre and full on goth in high school, I love making costumes and seeing what others come up with. I came across this Fully Functional Camera Costume and I thought it was a great, fun example of a DIY Halloween costume. It includes a bit of hardware hacking, a lot of cardboard and creative use of found objects:

We are having a small costume making get together in New Haven on Friday. My costume this year involves sewing, glitter and some hardware hacking. I will document our creations this weekend.

September 19, 2011

“Made From Scratch” Film Event: Call for Submissions

by hstrykdiy

As I was looking through the Media Studies Tumblr I found a call for submissions that is related to our course:

Fathom + Hatch

Cultivating heirloom urban farms. Designing unorthodox musical instruments. Founding new workshops in old warehouses. New York offers the chance to incubate dreams and breathe fresh life into enduring passions. It has long had a siren’s call for those driven to create the bespoke, the repurposed, the transformative. It is a living laboratory for human exceptionalism.

To celebrate this cultural dynamism, FATHOM+HATCH, a New York-based marketing and innovation consultancy, is hosting an evening of short films to explore the theme of ‘Made From Scratch.’ It will spotlight the ongoing legacy of New Yorkers who create products, companies, and ideas wrung from the raw materials of the City and themselves.

A total of six short films will be showcased at a screening party in a SoHo gallery hosted by FATHOM+HATCH on Thursday, October 6th 2011. These will be selected by a panel of judges, including renowned photographer George Lange, tech blog extraordinaire, Peter Rojas (Gizmodo, GDGT) and MTV guru and creator of Heroverse, Tom Akel. Each of the six selected filmmakers will receive a membership to the IFCenter. The audience’s favorite, to be voted on the night of the screening, will receive a prize of $1,000.

Click for more info.

September 18, 2011

Participatory Learning with xBees

by hstrykdiy

I could probably write ten posts based upon my experiences at Maker Faire. I only went Saturday, but I quickly realized how there is just TOO MUCH to see in one day. For this post I will focus on Robert Faludi’s talk on “Fun with Xbees.” His lecture showed some of the amazing projects that were made possible using Xbees (a component which can wirelessly communicate with an Arduino board). One project that I found applicable to our class (and also relates to our visitor last week) was Indiana University’s “BeeSim”. BeeSim uses LilyPad Arduinos and Xbee radios as well as open-source software to teach children about bee behavior. This video is a great introduction:

One point made in the video that was interesting was that children settled down and started to discuss/analyze bee behavior once they started to play the game within the constraints of set rules. The bee glove is programmed so that the children have to let the bee “rest” between rounds of delivering pollen – this time is spent by the children talking with each other about what they just did – and perhaps how to do the tasks faster during the next round. This reminded me of Vgotsky’s ‘Play and its role in the Mental Development of the Child’. “Action in the imaginative sphere, in an imaginary situation, the creation of voluntary intentions and the formation of real-life plans and volitional motives – all appear in play and make it the highest level of preschool development.” After playing BeeSim, the children gain a very developed understanding of why and how bees produce honey, and gain the ability to describe the process with the proper terminology (stamen, pollen, proboscis, ect.)

Because the tools to create the BeeSim project are relatively inexpensive, and all the software is available for download (the instructions are posted on Instructables – schools/organizations only need access (in theory) to someone who knows a bit about programming, hardware components and electronics (all things that can be learned via an introductory book on electronics) to have a BeeSim game of their own.

September 12, 2011

Heather Strycharz

by hstrykdiy

FYI my last name is pronounced “strike-cars”.

I grew up in rural western Massachusetts, received my BFA in Media Arts at the Hartford Art School and I currently live in New Haven, CT. I work as a web designer at an e-commerce company where I get to design and build such sites as I began my MA in Media Studies at the New School in January 2010. I commute to my courses in NYC via the often unreliable MetroNorth (btw – This is why I usually rush out of class, and yes that is a picture of me on the MNR).

As for my involvement in DIY things – I have always been one to draw/sew/cut&paste/design/paint/build/grow/cook. Basically I’m drawn to hands-on/mouse-on projects of all kinds. My work can be viewed at Recently I’ve been working on a design side-project called Love Local Design, a design studio dedicated to supporting small businesses and local organizations. Hopefully it will also have a shop element soon. A percentage of the profits will go to local (New Haven/CT) non-profits. Inspired by this course I have enrolled in a silkscreen printing course at Creative Arts Workshop in New Haven – I will keep you updated on my progress via this blog.

I ended up learning a bit about DIY hardware hacking via my boyfriend Scott (you can view his hackings and music at Earlier this year we resurrected a night he held up in Rochester,NY called FridayNightThing. FNT is “a gathering of interested (usually) musicians, artists, coders, geeks and other riffraff who meet to cabal while coding, improvising, listening, watching, participating or spectating. Musical, visual, and improvisation styles vary and eclecticism is appreciated. It is inclusive and open to all provided all have open minds.”

Here is a video of February’s FNT:

As for the participatory learning part of this course, I am interested in using my skills in design and media to teach. I hope that the readings and discussions for this course will help to inform my future teaching career.