Meet The Maker: Half and a Third

We are a couple who started our creative business together in early 2016. After much discussion & coaxing, Ian finally convinced Katey to quit the corporate rat race, and Half and a Third was born. Together, we make quality housewares and paper goods.

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Half and a Third is the brain child of Ian Stafford and Katey Mangels. Ian, a woodworker, with a BFA from Tyler School of Art, where he majored in Glass and Sculpture; and Katey, a graphic wiz, with a MFA in Graphic and Interactive Design from Tyler School of Art. We make all of our products out of our shared studio in the Historic Frankford neighborhood of Philadelphia. The studio is located in a former textile loom factory that overlooks downtown Philadelphia. We have a full woodshop, screen printing room, and loft office – where our shop dog Sofie supervises us.

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Working together we have found a creative rhythm. Having a shared aesthetic, we start working independently – Katey on graphics, and Ian on wood forms. We then come together with our ideas & sketches and find a way to combine the two. One of our signature products, our coasters, is a combination of both our disciplines. The coaster designs are inspired by Katey’s world travels and love for modern design. They are screen printed by hand on wood panels by Katey, then they are finished and cut to size by Ian. This is the process we use for many of our products.

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You can find our products at the Art Star store, online at halfandathird.com, as well as the upcoming Art Star Craft Bazaar in Asbury Park – which we are very excited about! We are constantly making new products, so keep an eye out. Follow us on instagram @halfandathird to keep up to date on what we are up to next!

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Meet The Maker: Nik da Pooh Designs

Hi, my name is Monique but you can also call me Nikki. My small creative business Nik da Pooh Designs began nine years ago with a collection of nature inspired dimensional installations ranging as small as tiny terrarium jewelry to large mossy wall art and represents my growth as a mother, lover and creator.

From a child my inspiration has come from nature and my curiosity of transforming discarded materials into nature inspired themes is the base of how I design. Winnie the Pooh, Smurfs, CareBears were some of my childhood favorites, often fueling my colorful imagination and earning me my family nickname Nik da Pooh. Most of my designs have splashes of whimsy and are created to invoke joy.

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Here’s a shot of my colorful pistachio shell succulent magnets.

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In between creating I enjoy long walks around my neighborhood and even longer hikes with my family whenever I catch the right breeze. I often find interesting rocks, sticks and trash that routinely get incorporated in my creative design process.

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A picture of my favorite hike on the Appalachian Mountains, we totally didn’t know it was six miles.

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Back at my woman cave, I mean art studio… I cozy up and create usually really early or extremely late in the charming untouched neighborhood of Lauraville in Baltimore, Maryland. You’ll find me catching up with customers in my open studio/gallery or on Instagram @ nikdapoohimage9Photo of NikdaPooh Studio/Gallery

My whole block surrounds me with small businesses and supportive locals. I’m finding this type of interaction a wonderful inspiration for my creative growth and why I want to spread joy threw my creations.image10Photo of the build up of my mossy, recycled paper air plant dimensional wall art.

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Besides creating I enjoy offering handmade kits that spark creativity in others. This recycled lightbulb mini terrarium kit is just the beginning of my interactive designs. Many of my plant/succulent magnets are being combined with backgrounds for the customers to interact and play.

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I’m excited to be joining art star for the first time in Asbury Park! Come find me and say Hi, I’d love to meet you.

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Meet The Maker: Monique Platt from DuTill & Daughters

One of my earliest memories is the smell of gold luster, the tiny jar of minerals sitting on my mother’s studio table (which also passed for our dining table at the time). She was a china painter when I was young, and I’m sure she was frustrated when I got into her precious supplies, but I loved poking through the tiny vials of pigments and oils. So it’s always been a bit surprising to me that I didn’t start working with clay myself until I was in college. Once I did, there was never another medium that felt so naturally like “home”. My father was, among other things, a carpenter at heart, with a full wood shop in our basement, and the ability to execute anything that we women in his life could dream up. Between the two of them, I grew up with a solid love of building and making.

image 5Once I graduated with my Fine Arts degree from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), I struggled a bit to find footing as an artist trying to make a living. This was before the days of Etsy, Instagram, and the amazing makers’ movement that’s happening now, and there was no real “career path” in ceramics unless you were into the nomadicness of applying for artist residencies. I spent some time working towards a Masters in the History of the Decorative Arts through the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, but as much as I love curating, that “publish or perish” environment of museum life didn’t feel like a good fit for someone whose hands itch to be creating. So I took a few years off from art and focused on making a living until the timing was right. Once Etsy emerged onto the scene, I opened a shop with my opposite-coast sister, and between the two of us we started building a small but loyal following. Eventually, her military life took her overseas, and I took over running the shop solo. That was almost 4 years ago. In the time since that change, the focus of the shop has become entirely ceramics. This past year or so I’ve really pushed myself to create a cohesive body of work, focusing on the level of craftsmanship in each piece, and making sure that when viewed together, the entire collection is recognizably DuTill & Daughters.

I was lucky enough at SAIC to work with instructors who were well-versed in nontraditional approaches to clay, so slipcasting is a regular part of my process.  You’ll see repeated shapes throughout the collection, but no two pieces are identical, even if they have similar patterns. With the slipcast pieces, I’ll start out by making a mold of the shape I want, then pouring multiple layers of hand-colored slips (liquid clay) into the molds. Once the pieces come out, I alter them by piercing or carving the surface to reveal the interior colors. Sometimes the rims are smooth and even, like the drinkware, and sometimes I’ll scallop the rim like you’ll see on the berry bowls and colanders.  I use a combination of glazes that complement the colored clays, and leave some exterior surfaces unglazed so you can experience the buttery-smooth texture of polished porcelain. All of my work is glaze-fired to Cone 6, which is a mid-range ceramic temperature, about 2260°F.

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The other main technique I use is called Nerikomi. Nerikomi (this term is used for hand-built work) and Neriage (for wheel-thrown work) are processes that involve stacking and layering colored clays to create intricate patterns. It can be a bit complicated because your clays need to have a compatible moisture content or they’ll split and crack during the firing process, but the intricate surfaces that come through this way are like no other process in ceramics. Nerikomi is perfect for making plates and platters, and I will sometimes use this technique for bowls. If you were to break one of these pieces in half, you’d see that the colors and patterns are all the way through the clay, not just sitting on the surface. I love how I can roll, stack, texture, add colors, paint on thick layers of slip, roll again, and come out at the end of the day with these crazy beautiful designs that I could never have drawn out on paper. The three jewelry trays below all came from the same Nerikomi block, and you can see how much variety there is from a single block. It’s a process that allows your hands to really be felt in every piece. The Nerikomi pieces are finished in clear glazes with the occasional colored accents, which allow the patterns to shine through.

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Monique
Monique Platt is the designer and maker behind DuTill & Daughters Pottery and has been working with clay for the better part of 20 years. She lives in Cherry Hill, New Jersey with her super-tall, bearded husband, their two astonishing girls, and studio pup/escape artist Nyx. When she isn’t in the studio, Monique is probably soaking up other people’s art, listening to as much music as possible, or eating pie. Maybe cake. Sometimes ice cream. You can see more of her work at dutillanddaughters.com, and on Facebook and Instagram @dutillanddaughters.

Photo credit: Monique Platt and Renee Zublic.

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Meet The Maker: Aimee Petkus

Jewelry design and metalsmithing is not my first career. For many years I worked in the world of contaminated soil as an environmental geologist. I worked first for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and then for a private consultant in Manhattan. I handled soil from the testing phase, to the monitoring during digging or dredging, to its disposal. It’s not really what I imagined for myself when I was studying geology, but I thought if I could do some good in the world, then maybe it was worth it. However, after 6 years, it felt like it was killing me. I spent the last 2 years of that career scheming new ways to make a living. I was going to open a grocery store in my neighborhood in Brooklyn, because there wasn’t anything nearby. I tried creating a line of screenprinted linens. I posted ads on craisglist as artisanal gardener. I made canvas wall planters. I partnered with a friend to start a handbag company. I had to do something else. Anything else. Finally, I convinced my boyfriend (now husband) that we should save up enough money to fully quit our jobs and do a cross country rock hunting trip.

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We bought a 1983 Mercedes Diesel Benz for $1400 from a guy in Jersey City. We set out on an adventure. I figured if I followed a path doing things I love, then all the pieces would fall in place. Along the way the pieces came together, and I decided I needed to get a second bachelor’s degree in metalsmithing.

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I moved to Philadelphia 2 months ago. I rent studio space in Sharktown Studios, owned by a jewelry artist duo, Ford Forlano.

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My process begins with my first love, the stones. I have to see all my stones at all times. I love all forms of stones. I have gems, huge mineral specimens, cabochons, and everything in-between.

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I cut, shape, and drill a lot of the stones that I end up using.

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Stones need to be done with diamond coated tools and have to be wet. They heat up very quickly and it can damage that stone. I do most of my work at my bench with a flexshaft. But I also have a trim saw that I use to break down large chunks of rock and to cut away the parts that I don’t want to use.

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I create 3 different collections, so that I can diversify the different shows I do. My wire collection is my most affordable. I use a lot of crystals and drilled rough stones to create simple, lightweight, wearable pieces while still keeping the design elements that are important to me.

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Many of the forms that I create are inspired by crystal geometries.  In general my work is geometric, but with an organic twist.  In nature, crystals have an orderly makeup, and therefore have geometric forms, but nature being nature, they’re usually imperfect.

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My second collection is  limited production which I can produce quickly for stores.  I create the pieces through lost wax casting.  For this collection I predominantly use traditionally cut gemstones to contrast with the forms that are created in wax.

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I cast the components into sterling silver and gold and can play around with them to get different variations.

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I set the stones in an organic crystal form that I have developed over the years.

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I often do varying finishes for an additional layer of natural affect.

My third collection is what I produce for galleries and high end indoor shows. I’m currently creating a body of work for a solo show at Gravers Lane Gallery in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia. It is very different from what you would see at the outdoor shows that I do, but looking at it you would still know that it’s me.

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It’s all fabricated by hand, and I’m using sterling silver, with 18k gold solder to give a feeling of connection to how it was made.

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Fabrication takes time, but it creates a finely handcrafted piece of wearable art.  I use an acetylene torch to melt slightly lower temperature silver or gold, into a join to bond 2 pieces of metal.

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You can check out more finished pieces on my website at www.aimeepetkus.com and follow me on instagram @aimeepetkus. I’ll be at Spruce Street Harbor Park Pop-up’s July 15, August 5, 12, 19th, and at Asbury Park July 29-30 and 2nd Street Festival August 6. My opening reception at Gravers Lane Gallery is July 13, 5-8pm and will be up until August 20. Hope to see you at one of the events!

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Meet The Maker: Hailey Linette

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My name is Hayley. I am an artist, designer and owner of Hayley Linette. I create hand-crafted/hand-painted accessories designed to bring a little happiness into the world. I grew my business from a dream to be different in the art and fashion industry. With that came my plan to design and develop handmade products incorporating all of my passions – painting, sculpting, sewing, and fashion design. With my infamous crazy, colorful patterns, I believe art should be fun and functional.

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I hand paint onto faux leather vinyl and sew the painted vinyl into wallets, wristlets, clutches, cross body bags, and tote bags in my studio located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I also create earrings, necklaces and tassel key chains made with clay and left over vinyl scraps. Each design I produce is completely individual. My goal is to keep my designs unique, fresh, and forever evolving. I am inspired by current fashion trends, vintage patterns, and color.

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Website: HayleyLinette.com
Instagram: @hayley.linette
Facebook Page: Hayley Linette

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Meet The Maker: Ron Nicole

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Photo by: Lianne Dunsing http://www.liannedunsingphoto.com

Hello, my name is Ronni Robinson. I am the artist behind Ron Nicole. I create unique botanical sculptures, herbariums, and stationary. I work out of my tiny apartment here in Philadelphia which I share with my husband, as well as our crazy cat and dog. Our living room doubles as my art studio.

Last year I became aware of a technique called Ikebana (the Japanese art of flower arrangement). Inspired by botanicals and their delicate nature, I began to study everything about them, the way they hang, their texture and their fine details. I’ve always been drawn to nature so it’s no surprise that all of my art is centered around flowers.

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When first coming up with this idea, I knew that I wanted to name each collection after a woman who inspired and pushed me to get here. It was my small way of saying thank you. I named my first collection Dorothy after my mother-in-law. At the time she was battling cancer but somehow always found the energy to offer words of encouragement and even helped get me art supplies.

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I just recently finished my new collection called Raychelle. This series is named after my sister, who has always been a driving force in my creative thinking.

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Whether I’m working on my own collection or preserving a bridal bouquet, I think about how I want the flowers to be arranged together. Just like a florist, a lot of thought goes into the design of the finished piece. I think about each flower and the imprint they will leave in the clay. Each flower placement is purposeful. I start by rolling the clay out until it is smooth and even. Then I press the arranged flowers into the clay, creating a deep impression. Then the flower has to be removed (often with tweezers) before pouring a blend of plaster and cement into the mold. After that, I wait…

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I’m obsessed with flower preservation, so making art from my dried flower collection was a must do. They are not traditional herbariums. The white space around them creates a simplicity that’s easy on the eyes. Just like my botanical sculptures, I wanted to create something that would reflect my personal style. I want my art to embody the perfect balance of understated beauty and simplicity of design. My work speaks in soft tones. It doesn’t overwhelm or demand a room full of attention, instead it is humble enough to exist in the background.

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This is my first year at the Art Star Craft Bazaar and I’m beyond excited. You’ll find me at booth #113. I hope you’ll stop by and say hello.

www.ronnicole.com
Instagram: @iamRonNicole

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Meet The Maker: Raisha

Hi I’m Raisha (rhymes with Asia).

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I’m an illustrator living in New York City. I mostly work from my home in Brooklyn- with all of my fun art junk crammed into this desk here.

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I keep all of my ideas in a sketchbook. It’s like building a personal universe that is populated with drawings- it’s full of regular mundane things but that world is strange and wild and colorful.

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I pick my favorite ideas and clean up the rough sketches. The colors need to be on separate layers for silkscreens.

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When I was studying illustration at school, I always wanted to do more than just draw on paper. I started working in the printshop at The School of Visual Arts where I also experimented with sewing and mixed media work.

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Screen printing is one of my favorite mediums because you can turn a flat design into a 3D object. I enjoy drawing but the real love comes from seeing the work transformed into a “something”. I want people to have fun with my art- squish it or wear it or throw it at your friend.

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In the future I’d like to use my larger work for collaborations with other artists- things like video art or window installations. In the meantime, I have some interesting apartment decorations.

Come visit me at booth 121 at this year’s Spring Art Star Craft Bazaar!

Raisha.com // IG: @raisha.mf // etsy.com/shop/RaishaMF

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Upcoming Exhibition “A Casual Peach” art by Kimmy Scafuro

We are thrilled to announce our next exhibition, A Casual Peach, a solo exhibition by Philadelphia based artist, Kimmy Scafuro. You may all know Kimmy’s popular cat butt tote bags, pins, quirky illustrations of pop culture icons (bjork, dancing drake, robyn, beyonce, etc) and ceramic face dishes from her Kimmy Makes Things line. For her first solo exhibition at Art Star, she will be showing brand new work in a variety of mediums – ceramics, embroidery, and 2D drawing/painting.

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The exhibition will run from May 27th – August 6th. An opening reception with the artist will be held on Saturday, May 27th from 5-8pm. Light refreshments provided.

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Artist Statement
“As a child interested in art, I took the typical route of learning about it (drawing traditional still lives, copying paintings from the masters, etc). As I’ve gotten older, I find myself being more inspired by looser, more tongue and cheek art in the vein of David Shrigley and Jean Julien, amongst many others. It’s made me think about what it means to be aesthetically drawn to a piece and that super fun, age old question “what is art?”. If it looks like something wasn’t “hard” to create technically, does that make it any less valuable as a piece of work?

A few years ago I overheard someone at a Matisse exhibit that featured his cut outs, say with disgust: “Well, I could do THAT”. I think when I was younger I would have partially agreed but time and experience has definitely changed this and I wanted to explore that shift. As long as I can remember, I’ve always doodled in notebooks, on the back of receipts and on all possible surfaces. It’s very freeing to just simply put pen to paper and not worry about the outcome but I never considered it a finalized product. Simultaneously, I have been wanting to make more tactile objects in mediums in which I don’t have much background. For this show, I wanted to marry these two ideas of doodling with ceramics and embroidery to put the doodle into a more finished form. In doing so, the work is created simply for the sake of making objects that are fun and not over worked or over thought. At the end of the day, I like being able to create things that make me happy and that don’t feel too “precious. Also, doodling is just really, really fun.” – Kimmy Scafuro

About the Artist Kimmy Scafuro was born outside of Philadelphia in 1983. She grew up loving to draw, paint and thinking about what she was going to eat next. Her interest in art took her to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn where she studied Illustration and burrito making. Upon graduation, she worked an array of jobs in NYC, from dressing windows at Barneys to designing bandanas at Ralph Lauren. After ten years, she made her way back to Philadelphia to design textiles and prints for Anthropologie at their home offices. Her thoughts are still mostly preoccupied with food and drawing and she enjoys creating art that makes her laugh. She lives with her 2 cats in South Philly and makes all her things in the studio of her home.

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Meet The Maker: Carolyn Keys

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Hello I’m Carolyn, of Carolyn Keys! I’m a designer and maker based in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. I share a wonderful studio in the woods with my husband Justin, who is a sculptor and metalsmith.

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I’ve been making things with my hands since a young age when my father engaged me in wood shop projects that sparked my curiosity for materials, processes and design.

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Though creating with my hands was always my first love, I decided that design was a more practical field to pursue, so that’s how I ended up studying interior design at Drexel University. I went on to work for design/build firms in and around Philadelphia, working on diverse projects from historical Bucks County renovations, to modern glass and steel homes. In 2015, after spending 10 years as an architectural designer, I started to feel the need to get back into the shop. Though I still love the complex puzzle of architecture and building systems, I wanted to get back to the simple act of making. In December of 2015, I decided to leave my full time job and give it a go, thus Carolyn Keys was born.

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To be honest, in the beginning I didn’t even know exactly what to focus on. In the past I’ve made lighting fixtures and furniture, ceramics and printed textiles, abstract watercolors, and lamp work beads, to name a few. For several months, I just let myself experiment with lots of mediums to see what clicked. I started making simple modern jewelry that incorporated metal and wood elements. I loved how each piece was a small contained project, a sort of mini-sculpture that could be worn. I also found that I had fans eager to support my jewelry endeavor, so that has become my primary focus.

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My process for making jewelry starts with many sketches of design ideas. This helps with figuring out the scale and proportion of pieces, and deciding what’s worth trying out in real materials. Depending on the design, my next steps involve hand cutting sheets of metal into shapes; cutting, bending and hammering wire; cutting tiny wood pieces out on a bandsaw, then sanding and shaping them. That’s followed up with lots of buffing and polishing of the parts before they get assembled into the final piece.

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I’ve also been experimenting with etching, which is a process of drawing a resist onto metal then submerging it into an acid that eats away at the metal to leave a pattern. Once the etching is done, I blacken the piece and then buff it back to enhance the pattern.

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I love how jewelry allows me to work with various materials and to learn new techniques. Having my own business keeps every day interesting whether I’m in the studio making, photographing new work, updating my website, or meeting interesting new people at an art show. I currently have work available at the lovely Art Star shop in Northern Liberties, and I’m excited to participate in my first Art Star Craft Bazaar, come visit me at booth #99!

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Meet the Maker: PinBox 3000

We admit it. We’re not you’re typical craft market vendors. We’re the Cardboard Teck Instantute from Burlington Vermont. We are here to Tilt the Future with our PinBox 3000.

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Our journey begins with a back story of ten years of puppetry, interactive sculpture, cheap art, and costuming. The process would begin in the dumpster, picking out a choice slice of corrugated board. But in the winter of 2015, we set out to achieve the utterly impractical- a cardboard tabletop pinball machine kit, the PinBox 3000. Our goal is not just to make single works of interactive, playable art. We want to inspire making with the versatility, strength, and accessibility of cardboard. The PinBox 3000 provides a platform for artists to design their own pinball-inspired dioramas, and to share those games with a larger maker and craft community.

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Starting with access to a laser cutter at our local maker space, we were able to convert our hand-cut shapes into vector file images and then into laser cut prototypes, allowing us the opportunity to test run multiple iterations in the same day. Two crowdfunding campaigns landed us at the doorstep of a box manufacturer in Philadelphia where the die-cut PinBox 3000 hit the assembly line and began wide distribution. We’ve successfully brought the PinBox 3000 into retail, maker faires, summer camps, after school programs, STEM curriculums, and art classrooms with inspiring results.

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What is amazing about the PinBox 3000 is its ability to accept all types of materials as well as makers. Craft supplies and electronics equally share space in our designs and creations. We’ve been working alongside artists to develop interchangeable playboards that are produced for limited runs. As artists who have struggled for years to merge our educational experience with our artistic practice, we finally discovered one singular strategy: business start-up. Our mission to Tilt the Future means bringing DIY culture to more households, empowering users to enjoy the process of making, crafting, and playing through designing their own ArtCade with the PinBox 3000.

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The Cardboard Teck Instantute consists of professors Pete Talbot and Ben t. Matchstick. Our home in Burlington VT is a hive of innovative educators, makers, inventors, game designers, and artists, who all lend support to the PinBox 3000 process. Not to mention the adults who also occasionally have an idea or two for us! We are honored to share this Philadelphia-made art/craft/game/kit/toy to the world, and we’re proud to call the City of Brotherly Love our hatchery for this low-tech, kinetic, and eco-friendly game system, the PinBox 3000. Tilt the Future!

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Find our more at pinbox3000.com. Come by our booth at the upcoming Art Star Craft Bazaar to flip out at our PinBox 3000 ArtCade.

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