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Week three was such a good one! It felt like all of us finally started to figure out how to work in the space, we started talking and sharing more with each other (it is a group of introverts!).

On Monday we got an unexpected and lovely visit from Gord Peteran and Navva who happened to be coming through town. We talked about old tools, what it means to be a maker of your time, how to value work and furniture, and a million other good weird things.

A visit with Gord and Navva

Gord and Janice discuss technologies like the CNC (which Janice has been using in her textured works) and wonder about being a “maker of your time”. No conclusions, but some great questions raised.

On Wednesday we finally got our final maker resident – Kailee Bosch! Kailee (pronounced k-eye-lee – rhymes with “highly” – I was totally mispronouncing it) and I are sharing the AirBnB, so it was great to have a housemate after a few lonely weeks.  I picked her up from the airport Wednesday night, and she was in town for less than 12 hours before she had her NextFab pass and her space set up; bopping back and forth between filing cast bronze parts, designing new works, running her 3D printer, and working on the lathe.  She’s a multitasking genius, and it has been so great to see a process that moves between so many different kinds of making to create beautifully designed, cohesive objects.  Give her a follow on Instagram to see what she’s doing day to day!

Box of beautiful bronze Bosch bits! Kailee has arrived from Colorado!

These parts are designed on a computer, printed on a 3D printer, cleaned up, cast in bronze, cleaned up again, sandblasted, patinaed, lightly finished to protect the patina, and then assembled into final forms. New technologies allow for a lot of unexpected forms to be made, but don’t assume that means they’re easier or faster to use! This is Kailee slowly going through each and every part to clean up the castings and make them ready for sandblasting and patina.

So. Much. Work.

A break from cleaning up casts to turn a bunch of components on the lathe.

Kailee uses 3D printers in her work both to make parts for casting and to make maquettes for new pieces. Her ability to blend different processes and techniques to suit her work is remarkable.

A maquette from Kailee Bosch of some new possible designs.

Chris Storb is checking off a list of things he’s wanted to make but not found the time for – a wooden fore plane, a large wooden router plane, some small wooden squares, and, oh yeah, no big deal, a single pickup electric guitar. If you aren’t following his progress on Instagram I recommend it!  And don’t forget to check out his blog too – find him at In Proportion To the Trouble.

Fore plane to guitar! So much fun watching someone use all hand tools to make their work – I love seeing how Chris figures out his process!

Chris’ work space!

Guitar business!

Chris using scrapers to clean up edges, no thank you to sandpaper.

Chris talks to NextFab’s social media wizard, Gwen Barker, about using a fore plane.

Meanwhile, James Maurelle is working on carving/shaping a large found wooden log, slowly developing the form using a subtractive process before he adds components back on to it. James is laser focused on his work, and is very soft spoken, but finds time at the end of each working day to come over and ask one of us about what we’re working on. You can tell through his questions that he’s a natural teacher, and I always leave a conversation with him having new insight into what I’m trying to do in my own work. I asked him a few days ago how he makes his way in the world of found objects – how much does he change them and how much does he let them be?  We share an interest in discarded things and the energy they can bring to artwork, so I was curious about his thoughts, and of course he had something brilliant to say. He compared working with found objects to his former life as a DJ and said something like, “You can work your magic as a DJ and do all kinds of complex things to the sound, but sometimes it’s just right to let the record rock – sometimes you’ve just got to let [the object] rock.” He’s my sculpture hero.

Starting to take shape! James uses an intuitive approach that I greatly admire to figure out what his pieces want to be.  He’s a musician at heart, and he compares making music to making artwork a lot.

Chris talks to James about sharpening!

Janice Smith has been working on a couple of loose ideas that allow her to go back and forth and stay busy as she’s waiting for paint or glue to dry.  Speaking of glue, she has been doing these quick tapered stave studies, and after a consultation on hide glue with Chris, she decided to hide glue them together to negate the need for a complex clamping situation.  It was great to watch them talk through the process, and I loved hearing more about a glue that I have never used but heard a bunch about, and then getting to watch it in action.  Janice got her parts glued up and immediately started playing with milk paint and dye samples.  She took a class from Kim Winkle a few years ago on milk paints and has been playing with layering techniques ever since, but is really getting to explore it here. So cool!

Janice’s forms gluing up overnight!

Janice’s fan forms taking shape!

Janice used hide glue to assemble the fan parts, since a rub joint will work with it (eliminating fussy clamp setups). She and Chris figured out a solution together – such fun having such different brains on all of these projects!

Janice cleaning up the seams.

Starting to think about paint and color!

Some of the test pieces off of the CNC

Color color color pattern pattern pattern color pattern SANDING SANDING SANDING SANDING…

Janice took me over to her personal shop (she’s lived in Philly for years) – she has such a lovely space a few miles from NextFab, and it was great to see it!

As for me, I spent week three carving, drawing, and slowly figuring out what I wanted the cabinet for this residency to look like.  Something that talks about Philadelphia (what a good weird city!) and something that gives space for each resident to put an object that they feel represents something from their time here.

I sketched and drew lots of ideas for my cabinet. Here’s a page of some of my loose thoughts.

And here I’m starting to figure out the shape and the cut throughs – Philly is full of arched doors, and buildings that look different from one side than the other, and scaffolding, fire escapes, power lines, etc. How do I show all that in one thing? Can I?

These friends aren’t at all sure what I’m doing…

But I’m starting to figure something out….

This little friend is especially judgmental. Always giving side-eye.

Ohhhh, vertical, got it.

At the end of Week 3 we had all made friends with the woodshop, and it was sweet to say goodnight to it after a busy Friday and Saturday in the shop.

I have also fallen in love with this strange, busy, potholed city, and am taking a million bazillion pictures of it. Goodnight Philadelphia. Cheers.