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Category Archives: Other Artists

In All Seriousness

This video must be shared. It makes a decent mockery of all those maker videos out there. Everything about it is well thought out – so much so…that if you were thinking of making your own video about your work/workshop/art  you may want to take some notes. Of course, there is still a hint of doubt in my mind whether or not this is for real. Not after further review of the website.

The Makers of Things: The Problem Solver

Bringing this week to a close, I leave you with a short video for this Friday. This is the second of which I have posted, created by Anne Holiday – a very talented English filmmaker. The Makers of Things is a very inspiring series, I hope you all continue to be inspired this weekend and go out and create something! Enjoy…

 

The Makers of Things: The Woodworker

It has been a while since my last post. I have been a busy maker. Every day I am in the shop, and nothing could feel better. There is something about making things with your hands that is relaxing, it makes you focus, lets you use another part of your brain that a computer can’t touch. When I have a spare moment, I use it to continually design new things. The current project – minimalist wallets. I have a couple available already in the shop. Today I bring you a video made by a very talented English filmmaker – Anne Holiday. She has made an entire series of videos on different Makers in her area, focusing on why they do what they do. Over the next few weeks I will be posting my favorites to share, here’s the first…

2011, ’twas Interesting

The Year of 2011 was a significant one for me. It was the year I decided to take one step back from the computer and two steps into my newfound passion of woodworking. It’s the year I decided to put doubts and second guessing aside – and just go for it. In 2011 I began to know myself as a photographer, artist, woodworker, writer, dreamer, thinker, pilot, rabbit breeder, illusionist, spanish speaking surfer, and lover of all things made by people who make things the way they want to make them. 2011 was the year of taking yourself back to the traditional arts, the hand made, the imperfect creations. In that year I inspired myself to work with wood, electricity, leather, jewelry, and more. I can only hope that my dabblings have helped to inspire you as well and spread your creations to your neighbors too. Below are some highlights of the past year…

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Perhaps the most significant part of the entire year…my inspiration that would drive the majority of my work… The Redwood forests.

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And of course, I emerged out of the Redwood forests into my very favorite and inspiring city of all – San Francisco. San Francisco played a big part in driving my Beast Series of Jewelry…due to numerous visits to local trendy taxidermy/art shops.

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I started up my jewelry shop, that has quickly become quite a success – thanks to all of you!

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A jewelry giveaway to celebrate my fans… with a second place prize of, yes, a fish for my tank!

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The Friends Making Art Series was established, with my Sis The Welder Girl being the first, as a way to highlight artists far and wide creating quality work.

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A follow up Friends Making Art Series with Ritual Chocolate…the finest handmade chocolate you will ever lay taste-buds on.

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Tinkered with the creation of a cigar box guitar, a fun project indeed.

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Electricity from the wind!

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A few new creations make their way out a bit late in the year.

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Possibly the best photo I have ever taken.

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A rejuvenating road trip/photoshoot with my Best Friend Dara Lynn West. As well as her first of many modeling experiences.

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A good start for the Beast Jewelry Series photo shoot.

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A Russian themed photoshoot to celebrate that absolutely butt-cold freezingness we are currently experiencing out in Ranch Country.

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And… a sneak peak at an upcoming post. Shot in my other other favorite place in the world, just outside of Moab, UT.

Cheers to a new year of exploration to you all!! May 2012 be full of surprises.

I’ll Trade You

One of the most awesome side effects of creating items with your hands, is that you will undoubtedly find yourself mingling with others of the same drive and passion as yourself. When a stranger asks you what you do or where you work, try not to jump at the obvious answer in your head (at a computer for 9 hours for blah blah blah), instead tell them what you really love doing. Whether it be woodworking, sewing, painting…. or even creating the most spectacular dioramas out of paper and photographing their surreal nature. That’s what Elly Mackay of Theatre Clouds does with an incredible amount of talent. I randomly came across her work on her Etsy Store and knew that I had to obtain a print for my room.

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So…I traded for my jewelry piece below. What an awesome trade!

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Elly makes each piece in her prints by hand. Meticulously positioning, coloring and lighting every last bit. She is pretty incredible.

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Thanks for the trade, Mr. Lentz is a fan.

Friends Making Art – Series 02 – Ritual Chocolate

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Welcome to the Friends Making Art Series, Part 2 with Ritual Chocolate. This is a monthly series focusing on local artists and crafts people who are making some seriously inspiring work. I have been working on the interview and photo shoot with Ritual for the last month and I must say they are a pretty rad pair.

Owners Robbie and Anna have been working on starting this business over the last year, after hours, with three other jobs to make ends meet. These two are passionate lovers of chocolate and the craft of making it by hand. I just recently heard that they have acquired 8 new shops to sell out of and will be expanding at an astronomical rate. Let’s dive right into their chocolately goodness and see what drives this couple to create:


Mr. Lentz: People probably think you started a chocolate business because…well…then you could eat more chocolate. Tell us really what made two young entrepreneurial minds go the way of the Cacao Bean.

Ritual: We wanted to start a business together that we were passionate about and that we could put our values into. We would sit and discuss our ideas for the perfect business while eating copious amounts of chocolate. Eventually the obvious hit us and we haven’t looked back since. Of course, the initial interest was there from our pure enjoyment of chocolate, but once we researched the process, the history, and the source of chocolate, our passion and interest grew. Now we’re just plain obsessed! Not only did we want to make chocolate, we wanted to make it in the way that we make it now. There was something attractive to us about the idea of honing a unique and challenging craft.

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Mr. Lentz: You two are somewhat unique in the chocolate industry, tell us a bit about how you control your quality of tastiness.

Ritual: We are unique in that we do the whole process from “bean to bar”, which means that we roast, winnow (remove the shell), mill, age, temper, and finally mold our chocolate. There are very few companies that actually do the chocolate making. Having control over the whole process allows us to refine each step to get the best flavor from the cacao beans. One of our efforts that guides us from day to day is to see just how well we can make chocolate. And following this guidance we’re constantly experimenting with new methods along each step of the process to find out if we can continue to improve our chocolate.

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^^The image above is a glimpse at the many different types of crystals that can form in chocolate. Ritual Chocolate perfects their unique taste by only allowing one specific type of crystal to form.

Mr. Lentz: Tell us one thing we probably don’t know about chocolate.

Ritual: Chocolate was originally made as a drink and often used in ritualistic ceremonies by the Mayans, Aztecs, and Olmecs. Cocoa beans were also used as a currency and as a way of paying tribute to the Aztec ruler. Solid eating chocolate wasn’t made until 1847 in England by Joseph Fry. Cacao originated in the Americas and coffee originated in Africa. Now they are both grown on either continents in disproportionate amounts. Nowadays, about 70% of the worlds cocoa supply is from Africa and about 75% of the worlds chocolate is produced by just four companies. Those are just a few facts, but the world of chocolate is highly complex and fascinating and we find ourselves learning something new everyday. So in short, there’s a lot to learn and we’re still learning.
Mr. Lentz: Is there anything in the process of making chocolate that can…. kill you?
Ritual: Remember in Willy Wonka when the fat kid falls into the river of chocolate? Well there you have it… But yes, if one of our heads were to fall onto or into one of our grinders, we’d be stone ground dead. Our roll mill refiner is also capable of pulling all the skin off of your hand and flattening it to 1/15th the thickness of a sheet of normal paper.

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Mr. Lentz: If you only had, say… $50 Trillion dollars right now, what would you do with your chocolate?

Ritual: We would move to an idyllic valley in the mountains and renovate a pre-existing building to house our chocolate factory that would be right next to a babbling brook. We’d then build a traditional watermill to power our conches (chocolate refiners) and use solar to power the rest of the factory. Because we were in the mountains where it’s nice and cold, we wouldn’t have to rely on air conditioning to keep our chocolate cool. Then we’d invite our closest friends to come live and work at our chocolate monastery/commune. Where we’d all live a monkish life devoted to the art and craft of chocolate. Living in peace and harmony with mother nature and one another. Anna would also build an animal sanctuary for pot bellied pigs, llamas and whatever other cute, furry creature was in need of loving.

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Mr. Lentz: What does a day in the life of a chocolatier look like?

Ritual: We have several types of days…
A Day:
We like to roast in the morning when our sense of taste and smell are at their best. After lunch it’s hard to accurately gauge the roast of the cocoa beans. Then we spend the next 6 hours taking our chocolate through the milling phases. Then after what has already turned into an 8-10 hour day, we’re then able to pour our refined chocolate into the conche, where it will continue to splash around for several more days. Then we clean the machines, sweep, mop and clean utensils until we’re ready to fall down from fatigue.
B Day: Temper, mold, and wrap bars until we want to cry. And that’s on a good day, when we nail our temper on the first try.
C Day: Ride our bikes all around Boulder delivering chocolate and reaching out to new stores.
D Day: Pay bills. Deposit checks. Take care of the past week of accounting. Talk to our printer and paper maker. Talk to the government about food. Pay the government to sell food. Repeat.
You get the idea?

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Mr. Lentz: Are you following any specific chocolatiers that inspire your work?

Ritual: Steve DeVries has been our primary inspiration to make the best chocolate. We’re inspired by his approach to chocolate making, in that he is always perfecting his methods and trying new ways to produce a better chocolate.

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Mr. Lentz: What inspires you each day to make chocolate?

Ritual: Between batches we often go days, and sometimes weeks without eating our own chocolate. And sometimes when we begin to despair at the end of a long day, when the floors still need mopping, or rent checks need writing, all it takes is a taste of our chocolate to remember why we do this all in the first place. Perhaps what inspires us most is to constantly visualize our dream factory in the mountains. Reaching that goal would fill us with joy beyond words.

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Mr. Lentz: In one sentence each, give the best advice you can to those interested in becoming chocolate makers.

Anna: Make sure that chocolate is your true passion, because to be truly successful and to stand out in this industry you need to eat, drink, breathe chocolate every moment of the day.

Robbie: Learn Spanish

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Mr. Lentz: Where can we and will we be able to buy your fantastic bars?

Ritual: We are currently selling our bars in Boulder at Cured and Piece, Love and Chocolate. Our taster size pieces are available at Saxy’s Cafe, Alfalfa’s, Caffe Sole, and Atlas Purveyors. For an updated store locator, go here: http://www.ritualchocolate.com/buy/buylocal/

Many thanks to Anna and Robbie for taking the time to teach me about their chocolate business and pose for some wicked shots (they are both natural models which made it all the easier).

Ritual Chocolate is a local Boulder/Denver company owned and operated by this magnificent duo. You can find their current products events and more here: RitualChocolate.com

Friends Making Art – Series 01 – The Welder Girl

Introducing the first series of Friends Making Art, a monthly interview of inspiring people devoted to their craft.

Meet Heather Lentz, my sis and one talented badass welder. How many women do you know melt steel for a living? That’s right, probably none – and that’s why Heather is an inspiration to us all. Living in the heart of San Francisco she makes a short commute over to her welding shop in a little corner of town infamously known as Hunter’s Point.

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Mr. Lentz: Heather tell us a bit about Hunter’s Point and your workshop.

Heather: My welding shop is in SE San Francisco in a warehouse space called the Boxshop. It’s right on the bay in a community called Hunter’s Point, also known as the most dangerous part of the city. Hunter’s Point used to be a bustling naval shipyard, but now is a marginalized community full of crime, gangs, drugs, poverty, unemployment, and murder. It has 1/3 of SF’s toxic waste sites and is home to two of the most notorious gangs around, the Westmob gang and the Big Block gang. It’s a good thing the Boxshop is like a fortress, with 40 shipping containers stacked double high inside the perimeters and lots of barbed wire. I rent a shipping container where I have my own shop set up. Other metal artists and burningman groups rent out containers and we all share a huge warehouse full of machinery and workspace.


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Mr. Lentz: You recently created a bit of a masterpiece – care to share?

Heather: I just finished building an extremely kinky steel canopy bed. It has over 350 feet of steel chain attached to it, with chain curtains on all sides, and a sun design in the ceiling part of the canopy. With flowing sheer white curtains, I think it has a sexy hardcore industrial gothic god/goddess quality to it. There are 54 heavy duty steel rings on the bed for tying or fastening anything, and any point on the bed can hold over 600 pounds of weight. This bed is meant to inspire sexuality and creativity. I am currently selling the model below on my Etsy store.


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Mr. Lentz: What else are you currently working on and what’s on the horizon?

Heather: I just came out with a series of what I call “Bad Ass Belt Buckles” which are now for sale on Etsy. They are thick shiny steel pieces with strong character. I made the belt buckles out of the Port of San Francisco’s last steam powered pile driver. This old pile driver was a huge and powerful crane-like machine that built SF’s shipping docks for the past 100 years. I happened to save these last big chunks of historical metal, and I used a plasma-torch to slice and dice them up into Bad Ass Belt Buckles. I’m also designing birdcages, kinky furniture, and a few more creative canopy beds. The next bed will be a Garden of Eden themed bed, with a sinful apple and metal snakes all over it. I’m also currently building my own propane powered forge, so that I can do more blacksmithing.

Mr. Lentz: That is awesome.


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Mr. Lentz: What scares you about working with metal?

Heather: Well there’s always a serious danger aspect working in this field. I did get electrocuted last week from a faulty ground on a welding machine. As a welder, burns are a normal part of the day but I’m not scared of anything. (Worse case scenario is an earthquake turning our acetylene bottles into high powered rockets.)

I use a Millermatic 211 mig welder that can switch between 110 and 220 electricity which is so amazing. My favorite tool is a 52 cutmaster plasma torch that uses electricity and compressed air to pierce through metal. It runs off of 220 and can cut into half inch steel like it’s butter. On a daily basis I also use tools lincluding chop saws, bench grinders, drill presses, belt sanders, breaks and sheet rollers, hydraulic bending machines, an oxy-acetylene torch. Temperatures are always very very hot.

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Mr. Lentz: What is your inspiration and where would you like it to lead you?

Heather: I am inspired by the entire process of metal fabrication. It just feels good to work with metal and there is no limit to where I can see metal work taking me.


Mr. Lentz: Are you following any other artists that inspire your work?

Heather: I am inspired by many other artists at the Boxshop such as Charlie Gaddeken and The Flaming Lotus Girls, who build massive kinetic fire art sculptures and Paul Cesewski who builds bicycle powered carnival rides and who recently handmade a huge steel boat from scratch in about a week.


Mr. Lentz: Tell us something crazy.

Heather: Let me think about that.
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If you are looking to support and incredible and flourishing artist please check out Heather’s current items for sale on her Etsy shop:

On Etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/TheWelderGirl

Her Website: www.TheWelderGirl.com