Fired up by the sewing lab from a few weeks back, one of our Making Social Change groups ran with the quilt theme, creating an A-Z of Planned Parenthood quilt as their final group project. They used the laser cutter to cut various shapes and letters, and employed a variety of techniques, including embroidery and applique, to create their squares, and PVC pipe to assemble the frame.  Here they are putting the finishing touches on their project.

Preparing for Visit from Planned Parenthood

On Thursday, December 7, representatives from Planned Parenthood tabled outside the Falcon’s Roost, and our students staffed the booth and displayed their quilt. They got a lot of foot traffic, answered a lot of questions, and distributed lots of literature, including some from built-in pockets on the quilt.

Planned Parenthood!

It’s great to see our students using their skills and passion to take a project from idea to application, and this project is a perfect example of exactly what we hoped would be the outcomes of this course when it was just some ideas on a whiteboard back in 2015.

The theme for week eight of Sociology 379: Making Social Change was “memory” and its role in social movements.  We used timely news coverage of the controversy surrounding Confederate statues as a leaping off point for a discussion about monuments, using James W. Loewen’s “Ten Questions To Ask At A Historic Site” to frame the conversation.

We talked about a variety of examples, including EJI’s Community Remembrance Project, the Bussa Emancipation Statue, many from the San Antonio peaceCENTER’s gallery of Peace & Justice Monuments, and the relocation of Negro Hill Cemetery, an example from our very own backyard.  We also spent some time on the aesthetics and the design of monuments, including the role of light and shadow, scale, and subject matter.

Students were then presented with a mock RFP:

The Carlson Dowell Social Justice Foundation is seeking proposals for a monument – a permanent public art piece – to be installed at Folsom Lake College in spring 2018.  The monument will occupy a 50’x 85’ footprint adjacent to the Falcon’s Roost.  Whether your goal is to memorialize or celebrate an important social justice issue, your proposed monument must also educate, in keeping with the college’s mission.  The installation must also be interactive, encouraging students and the public to actively participate and interact with the work.

Specifications for the prototype included that it be free-standing, crafted at 1:24 scale, include at least one digital fabrication element – an object created/modified using the laser cutter, CNC, vinyl cutter, or 3D printer – and that it incorporate LED lighting.

Making Monuments Challenge

We took a walk out to the proposed monument site so that students would have a sense of the scale and surroundings.  Back in the lab, students set to work on their proposals.  In a very short time – about 2 hours, really – groups were able to craft some really thoughtful proposals and interesting prototypes.

David, Clarity, and Luna developed their proposal around the idea of differences and commonalities among Folsom Lake College students.  Their prototype was based on a maze concept, with many paths leading to a central common ground.

Making Monuments

Another group developed their proposal around issues of food distribution and food insecurity.  They incorporated a greenhouse into their prototype, using www.makercase.com to generate the cut file, and the laser to cut the parts from clear acrylic.  Here Nusaybah and Micaela are preparing to solvent weld the pieces together.

Putting the Greenhouse Together

Zainub, Heather, Jeremy, and Kila based their design on a View-Master Viewer, and were able to modify a Custom View-Master Disc they found on Thingiverse (CC BY TheHeadlessSourceMan), which they cut from wood using the laser.

Prototype of Interactive Monument (Based on a Viewmaster Viewer)

As the final step in the process, groups shared their proposals and prototypes and took questions from their peers.

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We’ve got a great group of students, and I’m continually impressed by their open, collaborative, and creative approach to the course.

This is Tom, and he recently finished installing our magnificent sink.

Wood Turner Turned Plumber

Tom is a wood turner, and after spending some time in the space and seeing the capabilities of the laser, thought he might like to try to engrave some of his work. He brought in a pear bowl he had recently turned, and Rebekah (student and Innovation Center student employee) and I figured out how to use the auto-focus feature of the laser – we don’t use this much, and perhaps the only other time it’s come into play was when we tattooed a pumpkin back in October – to successfully engrave his signature on the bottom of said bowl.

Signature Bowl

The sink, by the way, has a built in eye wash, something that we we’re happy to have for safety reasons…

Sink and Eyewash in all their Glorw

…and for friendship! 🙂

Tramp and the Tramp

Behold the Ion Drive!

Ion Drive MK 04

Students Andrew Canafe, Tristan Chutka, and David Taylor created the project for their Physics 421 course, and used the Innovation Center’s laser cutter to produce the final parts. Here’s a video of its majesty. Note the safety key and prominent warning sticker. Try this at home, kids, but do it safely!

Chemistry Extra Credit Chips

Dominic Green (Chemistry) and I collaborated on these General Chemistry extra credit coins, and used the laser cutter to etch and cut them.   Dominic will distribute them to students who earn extra credit in class, and then collect and tally them at the end of the semester.

Inspired by our class visit to the Rocklin Mini Maker Faire, where the bulk of our time was spent in the open sewing lab, we spent a recent session of Making Social Change creating applique quilt squares for a collective class quilt.  The Theater Arts Department loaned us seven machines to add to the one we have in the Innovation Center, and were able to borrow a few others from students and faculty so that each student would have one to work with.  Students started by selecting fabric from a beautiful trove of fabric samples (generously provided by our faculty researcher Jill Bradshaw) and used the laser cutter to cut out 12″ background pieces.

Sewing for Social Justice

We set up two ironing stations so that students could apply Mistyfuse backing, after which they cut applique shapes and words using the laser cutter (and sometimes good old fashioned scissors).

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T is for Transgender

We had a few folks with sewing experience, and some with none, but students helped each other, and Diane was around to provide guidance and pointers.

U Is For Uterus

Overall a very empowering and dynamic class session! Here’s a gallery of Diane Carlson’s (Sociology) photos from the day:

MSC Soc379 10.23.17

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The hardware store was blowing out these Halloween ghost-projecting LED lights for $5, so I picked up a couple, with the intent of modding them to project images of our own choosing.  After some initial hassle getting the nonstandard screws out of the housing, we were able to pull the whole thing apart, after which CJ (student) laser cut a new projection mask featuring Nova, our mascot.  Behold!

On Halloween this year, we hosted a potluck in the Innovation Center. Music, pumpkin carving, and a couple of experiments, including turning the X-Carve into a pancake machine. We went with a low tech approach, simply replacing the router with a squeeze bottle and relying on thin batter and gravity to keep things flowing.

X-Carve: Pancake Maker

We also laser etched Nova (our space bunny mascot) onto a pumpkin, which turned out surprisingly well!

Laser Pumpkin

Laser Etched Pumpkin

A couple of additional laser + fabric experiments…

Our first fire! 🙂  Here we were cutting very fine letters, and it was a little too much for the fabric to handle.

Burnt

Here’s FLC’s Feminist Alliance logo on some contrasting fabric.

Feminist Alliance in Fabric

Our next step will be to try the process with fusible appliqué paper.

At the Rocklin Mini Maker Faire this past weekend, I spent a lot of time in the sewing lab, and was able to gain some confidence in working through the sewing process. Diane Carlson (Sociology) and I have been working to develop a collaborative quilting activity for our Making Social Change class, and one thing we’re really interested in is using the laser cutter to cut fabric.  As it happens, I had an appointment yesterday morning with Mark Boguski (Ceramics and Ceramic Sculpture, Sacramento City College).  Mark works in clay, and whenever he’s in the lab we end up brainstorming different ways to combine technology and other production processes traditionally associated with the studio arts; for instance, our recent experiment with multi-part stencils.  I was sharing with Mark my interest in using the laser to cut fabric, and showing him Tinkercad, and in particular its *.svg export functionality.  In the process of poking around, we found a Japanese prefecture generator, and decided to use that as the basis for our experiments.

Mark set up a few prefectures, after which we exported the file, opened it in Illustrator, made the tweaks required to prepare the file for the laser, then fired up the machine:

I’m not sure why, but I was surprised that it worked as flawlessly as it did. No scorching, no fuss, just crisp, clean, viciously accurate cuts.

Mark Makes Japan from Fabric

Here’s Nagano:

Nagano Prefecture, In Fabric

Not sure what Mark plans to do with them – we talked about collage, and about dipping various things in clay slip and then firing them – but we’ll certainly cut some fabric as part of Monday’s Making Social Change class.