Tag Archives: maker

Meet Our Friends Rebecca & Norman: Robot Maker and Presidential Hopeful

Say what? Norman, a current top-runner in the presidential race, and I would like to give you an exclusive, never-before-granted tour of Remnants by RJ: Where the Robot Magic Happens.

For those of you who don’t know, Remnants by RJ is just that—a collection of society’s cast off “remnants” that I (Rebecca Jackson) transform into fun, quirky pieces of art. I tend to see what something could be, instead of what it just is.

Primarily, I make recycled robots. I take discarded bits of life—those things lurking in attic boxes or collecting dust on thrift store shelves—and allow them to find their way to a new reality through trial and error assimilations. Each robot is a transformation of the ordinary into something magical with a name, a story, and a personality.

Just like Norman. As soon as the clock knob came to rest on his little film canister head, I knew I’d found my robot counterpart.

Norman is the odd-bot-out in most situations. He has the innate social skills of an ostrich/warthog hybrid and often feels a bit insecure. You might say, Norman is—and always will be—an underdog. But who doesn’t enjoy rooting for an underdog? Despite his insecurities, he accepts himself as he is and enjoys sharing his journey with the world.

Today, that journey takes you inside The Workshop.

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Finished robots, photo shoots, and packing materials reside in the outer sanctum of the workshop…as does the all-important Drill Press of Awesomeness. (If the house were on fire, I would save the drill press first, then maybe the kids. But seriously, they have legs, they should be able to get out on their own.)

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The inner sanctum is a small square room, located in close proximity to the drill press, that houses the workbench on one side and the robot part shelves on the other. Despite its cluttered, slightly haphazard appearance, the shelves are mostly organized and bins are labeled as necessary: arms, eyes, legs, small feet, etc.

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When a robot begins the reassembly process, it’s a matter of trial-and-error. I usually have the glimmer of an idea and begin looking for potential bodies and heads. Then it’s a matter of trying them out.

Norman is currently overseeing the reassembly of a very special robot for Carolyn. (Since neither of us want to ruin the surprise, this is only a sneak peek. You’ll have to wait for the final reveal.)

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I often try to add something personal or unexpected. It is very important to me that each robot is one-of-a-kind. Despite traditional robots being streamlined, replicated machines, I don’t ever want to mass-produce anything. I love the way my recycled robots find their way to a new life all their own.

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Equally important is my commitment to recycling. As a society, we are often obsessed with the next bigger, better thing. That leaves a whole lot of consumer waste in landfills or sitting on shelves in a thrift store. Incorporating those old-fashioned or outdated materials into my work is not only a commentary on the never-ending race to the future, but it is also a challenge to rethink the familiar, giving it new life as an eco-friendly, sustainable piece of art.

Of course, that’s a natural segue into a concluding paragraph with a good dose of campaign propaganda. Norman is currently running for President of the United States on a platform of “Recycling Materials, Not Ideas.”  Among other things, Norman believes that humans, like recycled robots, are endowed with certain unalienable rights, like Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Appendages.

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Together, Norman and I are ready to start infecting the world with imagination and kindness. Won’t you join us? I bet, with your help, we can change the world.

Thank you to Rebecca & Norman for guest-blogging for us in our summer creativity series!  If you’d like to see more of Rebecca’s creations or follow Norman’s Presidential Campaign here’s where you can find them: remnantsbyrj.com, on Etsy, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and via email at remnantsbyrj@gmail.com.

 

A Behind the Scenes Peek at Kristi’s Creative Space

Two weeks ago we gave you a behind the scenes peek of our process of making.  We showed you the kinds of tools we use when we cut and shape a retired drum cymbal into a pair of earrings.  If you missed it you can find it here.

This week we want to share a behind the scenes peek at Kristi’s workspace.  We have separate workshops/ studios in our respective homes.  Both of our workshops have cool tools and generally a big mess of metal & wood shavings but Kristi’s workspace is definitely the prettiest of the two.

Welcome to Kristi's studio!

Welcome to Kristi’s studio!

There are a LOT of supplies involved in making jewelry from beads to metal findings and last but not least the focal pieces which for us are musical instruments or antiques.  If you look at the bottom left hand corner of this photo you will see Kristi’s custom stamping bench that she uses when adding quotes or words to antique silverware.  On the middle left side, several boxes of beads.  Center, hanging beads. Want to know a secret about Kristi?  She’s a button and bead hoarder.  Those beads you see in this photo?  They are just the tip of the iceberg.

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Kristi likes sparkly beads and has a talent for mixing colors.

 

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Can you see the sign that says “Of course I talk to myself! Sometimes I need expert advice.”?

Another secret about Kristi?  She talks to herself.  A lot.  One of side effects of working alone most of the time.  We all do it.  Right?  If you look in the top right hand corner of the photo above you’ll see a framed book page featuring an image from one of Kristi’s hand-carved stamps.  You can see more evidence of Kristi’s talent at hand-carving rubber stamps on the note cards displayed down the right hand side of the photo.  Kristi’s work space is full of fun and beautiful items, collected over the years, that inspire her.  We both love to fill our work areas with handmade items that we love.  Hey look, there are more beads on the top right-hand corner of her work bench!

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Can you guess what each of these tools is used for?

One of my favorite things about Kristi’s workspace is that it’s filled with customized organization solutions like the magnetic strip she uses to keep her pliers, screw drivers and other tools organized.

If you’d like to see our creations please visit us at hangupsinkc.com.

Thanks for joining us for this behind the scenes peek at Kristi’s studio.  We would love to see your work area, pretty or not.  Post a picture in the comments section and we can share tips on functionality and organization.

Have a great week!

 

 

A Behind the Scenes Peek at the Making of Drum Cymbal Earrings

Kristi & I rarely make jewelry for ourselves.  I guess it’s a hazard of any “maker” occupation.  We are so busy creating for others that we forget to make ourselves new jewelry.   I made Kristi drum cymbal earrings a few weeks ago and admire how pretty they look every time she wears them.  Today I decided that I need a pair of earrings for myself.

Welcome to my workshop.  It’s not fancy but it’s bright and functional.  It’s my favorite place to spend my days.

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After some experimentation I’ve found that my Dremel is the best tool to use when cutting the cymbal.

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Sanding pieces of metal this small is tricky. I can’t wear gloves because the piece of cymbal is too small to grip. It gets VERY hot so patience is required.

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I love my drill press so much. For projects like this it is so fast & easy!

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I decided against beads so I just needed to add the ear wires.

Ta-da!

What do you think?

What do you think?

Stay tuned – next week we’ll give you a behind the scenes look at Kristi’s workspace.

Have a great week friends!