A whole new world (of wood!)

…or maybe that should be “a whole new wood”! There’s been all sort of fun new stuff happening in the Land of the Muddlers lately, and there’s more to come very soon (but that will have to wait for another post). The big news for today is my new line of laser-cut wood accessories! I’ve been working with the fantastic folks at The Maker Bean here in Toronto to develop these, and boy howdy are they ever SWEET (I mean the new products, but Lorraine and Chris are also utterly delightful).

I’ve started small with a handful of designs made into keychains and/or earrings for a grand total of 9 new products. All are now available in my Etsy shop :)

bacteria_earrings_01
Flagellate bacteria earrings (Pseudomonas syringae) – 5cm long
bacteria_keychain_04
Flagellate bacteria keychains (Pseudomonas syringae) – 6cm long
beetle_keychain_04
Jewel beetle keychain (Buprestis rufipes) – 8cm long
DNA_earrings_02
DNA earrings – 5cm long
DNA_keychain_02
DNA keychains – 8cm long
tardigrade_dangle_02
Tardigrade keychains / purse dangles / luggage tags – 8cm long
virus_earrings_02
Icosahedral virus stud earrings – 1.5cm wide
widow_earrings_03
Black widow spider (Latrodectus spp.) earrings – 4cm long
widow_keychain_04
Black widow spider (Latrodectus spp.) keychains – 6cm long
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Be still, my Cretaceous heart

After months of planning and consultation with several helpful nerds, I’m pleased to present my latest art work! I made this piece specifically for the Dinovember art show at the Toronto Etsy Street Team Gallery in Toronto. If you’re in the area, you can check it out until November 14th.

Here’s the video of the installed piece. You’ll want to be in a quiet space and crank the volume up – the music is subtle even in situ, and my phone didn’t pick it up as well as I’d have liked.

 

I had to learn a few new tricks for this project. The sound (an original composition by Brian Engh, used with permission) is controlled by an Arduino Uno with an Adafruit Music Maker shield. I used copper wire for the veins on the exterior of the heart, and these are attached to the stack to act as antennae for the capacitive sensor. When you approach the heart, the sound is triggered.

Here are some making-of photos :)

 

The heart itself is earthenware clay, and based on a chicken heart. The magnolias I sculpted from Fimo. The cycad and ferns are synthetic, but the moss and lichen are real, and the blue morpho butterfly is one I pinned myself at a workshop a couple of months back :)

I learnt to solder (thanks to Ele Willoughby, who also talked me through the whole process and dealt with my panic and terror with infinite patience and grace), connect speaker wires, and splice a USB cable to a power connector. I read a lot about resistors and capacitance and absorbed only barely enough of it to get this working, albeit with room for improvement.

And now I’m thinking about my next Arduino project ;)