Chinese Checkers aren’t from China

I have been working on an artist’s book for the March #areyoubookenough_hexagon challenge on Instagram. It includes a game of Chinese Checkers.

In doing some research I discovered that Chinese Checkers are not Chinese at all.

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Friday Night Flicks: Deep Sea Diver by Linocutboy

Last week’s flick showed the stages in producing a carved wood printing block with an all-over pattern. Today’s flick shows Nick Morley, aka Linocutboy, drawing, carving and printing a linocut. From the text on Vimeo:

Making the linocut involves carefully planning the image, transferring it to the lino block and then carving away the unwanted parts with gouges. What’s left behind is inked up and printed on Nick’s etching press. This Deep Sea Diver is printed from seven blocks. The colour blocks are inked up in various colour blends and the black ‘key’ block is printed last. Each layer has to be carefully registered so that everything aligns properly.



Last week I linked to instructions for block printing with a carved potato. This weekend you might want to try monoprinting with minimal equipment. If you don’t have a foam roller, a brush can be used to apply paint/ink. If you would like to get more sophisticated supplies, check with your local art store. Many are currently doing curbside or door-to-door delivery. If you don’t have the supplies mentioned in the monoprint instructions and don’t want to purchase any, you could try making rubbing prints.


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Some Simulated Stamps

After completing I’ve looked at clouds I got G is for Geography back out of storage. In all the excitement at finishing the embroidery on the covers for the interior intersections, I forgot about the stamps!

All the stamps used for the original edition (shown above) were real, but in the book version I scanned and reproduced an alphabet’s worth of stamps to include in the images. The stamps for the ‘quilt’ are also reproductions. Continue reading

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Friday Night Flicks: Carving a Printing Block

Hand-carved blocks are used in the production of traditional hand-printed textiles in India. They are also used in the production of decorative papers. This video from the Victoria and Albert Museum shows the process of making the printing blocks.



If you would like to try your hand at block printing something this weekend, you can find an article about simple printing with carved potato blocks here.

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I’ve looked at clouds

I finished I’ve looked at clouds this week.

It continued to go less smoothly than I would have preferred.

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Friday Night Flicks: Mechanical Pi — In memory of William Shanks

Tomorrow is Pi Day, and in celebration here’s a flick about a machine that produces the number π. The machine was created by Florian Born and David Friedrich for the Digitale Klasse – University of the Arts Berlin 2014, and was displayed at Art+Bits Festival, PL and Transmediale, GER in 2015.

From the text by Florian Born:

The mathematician William Shanks sacrificed years of his spare time to the decimal expansion of the irrational number pi by hand. In 1873 he published his handwritten calculations to the 707th digit. Much to his regret, in 1945, D.F. Ferguson proved that only the first 527 decimal places have been calculated correctly. Nowadays Shanks tedious manual task is done with the help of computer algebra, performing millions of steps in fragments of a second, while calculating billions of decimal places. Mechanical PI is a computing machine replacing this repetitive algorithm back into a physical, mechanical language. A constant rotation, pressing and repeating the calculator’s keys, approaching the number Pi, yet never reaching it…

The machine utilizes the Leibniz formula for pi which is an infinite series of additions and subtractions of quotients. Each subsequent denominator in this series is the sum of the previous one plus two, starting with the value one. With this being the only variable expression and the possibility to store values in the calculators memory, the formula can be expressed as a repetitive keystroke combination activated by circular motion.



You could take a few minutes this weekend to learn more about the construction process. There’s a post here with explanations and more images.


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Meteorological Memories

I continued work on I’ve looked at clouds this week.

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Friday Night Flicks: The Wisdom of Pessimism

Given the State of The World currently, you might want to consider becoming a pessimist. Philosopher Alain de Botton , with the assistance of Claudio Salas and a team of animators, describes the advantages of pessimism in tonight’s flick.



You could practice being a pessimist this weekend. If you live in the Canadian Prairies where it has been unseasonably warm for an unusually long stretch, you could practice the classic Prairie comment —possibly inherited from dour Scottish Presbyterian pioneers— “We’ll pay for this.”

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Square Sequence Scarf/Shawl

Last summer when it was too hot to knit with wool, I knit several cotton scarves using the same pattern. The lower two in the image have been blocked, but the top one has not.

After some enquiries about the design, I knit the pattern again using a sock yarn (80% wool, 20% nylon) and wrote it out more carefully.

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Friday Night Flicks: Wheel of Life

There hasn’t been a zoetrope animation on Friday Night Flicks for a while. Today’s video by André Gidoin features a paper carousel. From the text on Vimeo:

Paper is one of the most versatile and beautiful mediums available to makers, able to create and reproduce entire worlds at the cut of a blade. After years of experience perfecting this craft, The Makerie Studio teamed up with Director André Gidoin to magically bring one of these worlds to life, by creating and filming a hand made paper Zoetrope.

A zoetrope is a device that produces the illusion of motion from a rapid succession of static pictures. Often referred to as the Wheel Of Life, we were inspired to tell the story of one zoetrope in particular, that one night came to life.

All filmed in camera, the horses on the carousel are spaced to spin in sync with the camera’s frame rate to create the illusion of motion. Each horse is carefully studied to follow the one before it, so that once at speed they appear to be galloping.

The zoetrope was filmed surrounded by a multitude of smaller carousels, all hand made for The Makerie Studio’s New York launch.



If you have an old turntable, you could try making your own version this weekend. Here’s an article from Make magazine for inspiration.

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