Sunday, July 22, 2018


Click on any image for a larger version

I blogged my visit to last year's DUBLIN MAKER which I found fascinating. So, this year, in spite of being in the middle of a major project of my own, scanning some 600 50 year old 35mm B&W negatives, I tore myself away and headed for town

This time I came in the back door to DUBLIN MAKER 2018. The event is for both adults and children but there is a huge emphasis on the young folk. It's wonderful to see their curiosity and enthusiasm, no less than the warm and wholehearted response of those manning the stands.

This is one huge open collaborative effort which would nearly restore your faith in human nature.

It wasn't long before this oul codger was invited to participate at one of the stands. I must have looked interested. I jumped at the invitation. But before I go any further I would just draw attention to my wee predecessor in the photo above. There must be over sixty years between us.

My thanks to the lady who captured me in this photo
and in the corresponding one at the head of this post

Printing is not new to me. I used to be a letterpress printer, briefly in my pre-career, but I'd never done screen printing. And clearly I didn't get to do the whole thing in the short time available.

Just like (sic) in the National Print Museum, the jigs were already set up and you just did the inking and printing. I have to record that, despite never having done this type before, I was commended on my expertise.

And the result, above, speaks for itself.

My attention was next drawn to the spinning wheel. They had two spinning wheels on display last year but I hadn't given them much attention. They have become something of a national symbol to be noted just. But in a world which increasingly emphasises the craft approach, be it to beer or fabrics, they have taken on a new sigificance.

So I stopped to talk to Grace O'Neill about how it all works. This not a post on spinning so I'll not dally with photos showing the original fleece and its carding prior to it being spun. You'll get the drift of the actual spinning from looking at Grace at work in the photo above. The wheel is driven by foot pedals, just like the harmonium or an older version Singers Sewing Machine, and the trick is to control its speed on the one hand and the tension in releasing the fleece on the other to produce exactly the result you want.

When I'd figured all this out, I was again thrown into confusion when the diplay switched from spinning plain yarn to the bouclé version. Fascinating stuff.

Check it out for yourself.

There was more 3D printing on show this year. The two printers I saw were going for small single colour objects.

This one was making a sort of cage which would end up with a freely moving object inside it. And don't forget that these objects are printed in one single go.

The trick is that they print in ascending layers. It always takes me a few seconds to get my head around this every time it comes up.

I was just thinking about a Schroedinger's Babushka, a series of Russian dolls contained within each other, only in this case there would be no way of opening them to check the output. Hmmm.

Next was this avuncular gent explaining electrical polarity to these clearly fascinated young lads.

Meanwhile, there was this semi-transparent lady perched on a workbench behind him. I didn't stay round long enough to see how she earned her living.

On to yet more participative stuff with no shortage of young takers.

This pair, with a little assistance, are making Galaxy Stones, or in this case pebbles. The idea is to coat one smooth surface of a stone in multi-coloured acrylic to represent a galaxy, or nebula, or whatever. You were invited to bring along your own stone if you wanted. Pebbles were provided on the spot.

As you can see, the results on these larger stones are very impressive. Unfortunately this presentation is in only two dimensions but these are real stones you see before you.


As you can see not everything here is hi-tech, though there is a fair amount of electronic stuff around, from variously controlled robots to flashing bulbs.

This is KNIT YOUR [OWN] ROW, but I didn't stay round long enough to fully tease it out. In any event it's a skill that's been around for a long time and handed down the generations - usually on the female side.

I learned to knit when I was young. Consumed I was at how my granny was producing knitted fabric from plain wool through a series of clickety clacks.

Me and the mother and the granny once knitted a school scarf. We took it in turns as and when time was available. The widest parts (most relaxed stitching) were the granny's and the narrowest mine (a combination of tension and, I'm sure, dropped stitches). The mother was somewhere in the middle.

I wonder how that lady did.

My general impression was that the attendance was greater than last year. It was sometimes difficult to get near some of the stands. Maybe the organisers might think of a two day event sometime in the future?

There was more than just the stands to the day's event. There were various food vans around the large open picnic space.

And Dublin City Rounders gave us great pulsating quality country from the hill.

Full marks to Rohan,

and brother Al.

Finally, leaving by the front entrance. Back next year.


Anonymous said...

Mayo cap: +5!

Will Knott said...

The semi-transparent lady is "Deirdre of the Smiles" (as "Deirdre of the Sorrows" is taken. I think she's in the civil service somewhere now).

Our Deirdre is from the Tyndall MakerDojo based in Cork (Like) and she is a Artificial Intelligence based smile detector. She looks for smiles, but will still work with artificial smiles.

If she sees one smile, the butterflies in her stomach light up. Two and the tingles (micro leds) in her arms light up. Three and her other arm and (currently) her head lights up. And at four, her heart lights up.

She is actually quite simple to make. She is a Raspberry Pi loaded with OpenCV (CV is short for computer vision, not job seeking for robots) and the screensaver update to actually stop the inbuilt screensaver from kicking in.
The inbuilt screen was especially taken from a dodgy site (ebay), and her light were from pound shops (or what ever they are called nowadays). The camera we found in a recycle bin.

The body, well that was a different Deirdre (from Cork City Council) wrapped in clingfilm and then wrapped in sticky tape. Willingly. And done in parts. Then the parts were cut off and reassembled. The head was from a wig stand as I'm not going to wrap anyone's head in clingfilm, even if they ask nicely. No humans were harmed in he process, but I think her dog was very concerned for a while. You could try this out with some of your slower relatives. The semi transparent body was done for part of the Cork Midsummer Festival, and was left over from the exhibition, so she was recycled too.

I think that the real life body will be visiting us in Tyndall for this year's Culture Night so I'll get to see them side by side again. But this time with added electronics. The human will have her phone with her this time.

Póló said...

Thanks a million Will for stopping by and filling us in on Deirdre.

I was curious but the one man at the stand had the full attention of the youngsters and I was under a bit of time pressure.

I don't know if she was turned on in the picture but had I known the score I'd have tried to light her up. Smiles came easy there that day seeing so many, and particularly young and very young, people enjoying themselves. I love to see curious children.

As you'll have seen I was very impressed by last year's Dublin Maker, which is why I went back. I'm having a ball dropping in from time to time to TCD Science Gallery and was very encouraged by Makeshop while it was in Dublin's Lincoln Place.

It's really great how so many institutions are now reaching out to the public, both in real life and online. Would make a person feel young again.

Very impressive CV on Linkedin!

And for any readers who want to see some of what Will gets up to, click on his name in his comment above.

vaneeta agnihotri said...

Thanks alot !!! Young one's as well as adults all was interested in making galaxies stones ! Thank you very much for capturing such a beautiful pics and writing a impressive thoughts about my hand made galaxies stones while I am very busy with my workshop guests !!!

Póló said...

You're welcome Vaneeta.

The stones are beautiful but the pictures don't do them justice.

I suspect they are also helpful for meditation.

I would have stayed and spoken to you but I was under a bit of time pressure.

Best of luck with your venture.