Have I shown you all the new wax pieces yet that I have made last autumn? – I am not sure anymore. Lockdown came on hard and too fast last December. Anyway, if you want to take a look, head over to my supplies page and download the new catalogue. Or you could click through to my newly re-opened Folksy shop (or Etsy) and take a look there at even shinier photos. I realize, I have not even listed all the blocks yet.
Well, about Brexit and lockdowns and all the miserable in the world… The past year for me – as for many others – has been a little bit like living under a glass dome. But the last lockdown hit especially hard. I am not the only one experiencing this winter lockdown or rather, for me it’s the school closure that’s so very disruptive, especially hard. While I was home schooling (and I was home schooling more than many of my co-home teaching fellow parents), I had to close shops and didn’t get much done in way of my own art projects.
Now I feel like I am re-surfacing and find the world changed. I opened my shops again, albeit, only for UK customers for now. It’ll take me a few weeks to figure out how to ship internationally in this changed world now, marked by postal delays and new custom borders.
I am also trying to sort through my begun, ongoing, or maybe abandoned art projects.
I did work on a few ideas since last summer. It is still a little too “unbaked” to formulate in coherent speech, but it’ll be about premature birth (again), and I strive to use a new way of interaction. For that I started to teach myself electronics:
I don’t think I am especially good at computer stuff. I wanted to be good at it for a while, and I studied computer science for a while (without finishing it). But I wasn’t all that brilliant back then. And that was more than 20 years ago.
While back then a new computer meant to fun and joy to discover what new it could do, now I am mostly annoyed by things not working the way they did before, whenever I have to change computer. – So I am your typical, mid 40s woman for you there.
But what maybe sets me apart a little, is that I am not afraid of digging into code when I have to. I managed to learn to program before, I refuse to believe that there’s something I can’t learn if I want to. And so I just started. I bought a student kit from arduino, and just got started.
What I would like to build, ultimately, is a room (or a model) with a life-image that viewers on the internet can interact with. For example open a drawer when they click a button on a website.
In principle this should be straight forward. Arduinos are relatively small and easy control boards that are programmed in a programming language that’s essentially C or C++ which is what I used before.
Therefore it didn’t come as a surprise that I found the programming side of electronics to be the easy part. However, now there’s also mechanics, electrical circuits, and, well, all that real-world stuff involved. And that’s where it got hard for me. Especially the mechanics, gears, spokes, and putting it all together. Gears work so easily in theory, but when you put them together, even just a few wobbles can make it all fail.
I posted a series of videos on instagram, if you want to see a bit of the progress I made over a few days. Do let me know if you like these kind of images, and what else you might want to see!
But, yeah, that’s how far I got with that project: I have a model with a teeny tiny chest of drawers, and when you press a little button, a wonky robot arm pulls open a drawer. The plan at this moment is threefold: a) to make that button virtual, b) to add more interactive elements to the dollhouse (and more things), and c) work on a larger scale model to interact with; this one is too small… – I’ll keep you updated.