Johnny Cupcakes Event this Friday! T-shirts WILL be for SALE!

Friday, May 13 @ 7:00 PM Johnny Earle of the Johnny Cupcakes T-shirt empire will be at the Downtown Library to talk about his self-made business! Learn how he resisted the temptations of cooperate interests and did it his own way and found himself ranked by Business Week Magazine a top entrepreneur under 25 in 2008. Johnny also just opened his first store across the pond in London! T-shirts will be for sale and Johnny will be signing them and meeting with fans after his talk. Johnny Cupcakes2Johnny Cupcakes2

The Thunderdrome: Unearthing a Gem in Detroit

veloracevelorace

Let's time travel. It's 1969 and we're in Dorais Park, Detroit, near E. Eight Mile and Mound Road. Construction has just been completed on a brand new velodrome -- a cycling venue consisting of a steeply banked, concrete oval loop, 250 meters long -- in anticipation of the U.S. National Track Championships held there later that year. This Championship and the many that follow are bright spots in a declining neighborhood. For the next 20 years, the city maintains this bastion of bike racing against urban devastation, marked here by the closure of the Chrysler assembly plant across the street.

Eventually, the Dorais Park Velodrome is abandoned by the city and handed over to the elements. Illegal car races are sometimes held here, accelerating the cracking of the concrete that was only designed to sustain bicycles, while bushes, grasses, and trees split apart the fissures. Two decades of neglect take their toll.

Welcome to 2010. A group of renegade urban landscapers, known as The Mower Gang, take their lawn care equipment to Dorais Park, unearth the velodrome, and begin rehabbing the battered beauty. It's renamed The Thunderdrome, an homage to the post-apocalyptic Mad Max film series from the '80s, and a race is staged for two-wheeled vehicles that October.

As race organizer Ben Wojdyla writes, "the Thunderdrome wouldn't be limited to just bicycles. We wanted higher speeds and more excitement. We wanted loony subcultures, weirdos, a scene, a spectacle—something people could get excited about. So in addition to traditional fixed-gear road bicycles, geared bikes and mountain bikes, we also invited racers on mopeds, scooters and pit bikes". The Fall race is a success, drawing hundreds of spectators and racers and spawning the demand for a Spring race, which will take place this Saturday, April 30, at noon. Detroit reinvention and DIY spirit charge headlong into the future of the city.

The latest issue of Bicycling Magazine, with holdings at all AADL locations, has an article on the Thunderdrome, as does the October 2010 issue of Popular Mechanics. Check out the Thunderdrome's website for more details on the race.velorace3velorace3

Enviro-Friendly Crafts

Celebrate Earth Day this month of April with some earth-friendly upcycled crafts. Keywords: Upcycle, repurpose, reclaim, remake.

For some inspiration try Recyclo-Gami: 40Crafts To Make Your Friends Green With Envy! The book is full of ideas for reusing common materials to make accessories, jewelry, household decorations, games, and gifts.

Green Crafts For Children: 35 Step-By-Step Projects Using Natural, Recycled, And Found Materials is another fun book, with kid-friendly projects reusing materials and found items you might normally discard.

For more sophisticated making, try Eco-Craft: Recycle-Recraft-Restyle, which focuses on repurposing materials into lovely designs for the home.

Check out more recycled craft projects in these books as well!

Take Part in Art -- Marvelous Masks

image by C. P. Storm, Flickr.comimage by C. P. Storm, Flickr.com
From masquerade balls to dramatic performances, from exuberant carnivals to solemn ceremonies, people all over the world love wearing masks. Why are masks so popular? Maybe because wearing a mask lets us transform ourselves into anything we can imagine!

If you love masks, you can come to the art table in the downtown youth department to make some with us. Or you can join in at home:

Read!
Niño’s Mask – A young boy is told that he is too young to wear a mask in his village carnival. Won’t everyone be surprised when he makes a mask and becomes el perro – the dog – all by himself!
Behind the Mask – Kimin wonders what to wear for Halloween. When he discovers a mysterious mask among his grandfather’s things, he learns more about his own past.
The Art of African Masks – Discover how different cultures make and use masks in Africa.

Do!
Masks – Make masks from all over the world!
About.com has tons of ideas for making masks from egg cartons, plastic jugs, paper plates and all sorts of other stuff!
At PBS you can learn more about African masks, or you can make your own!

Try a mask today – they work for superheroes and luchadores, so you know they've gotta be good.

Block printing workshop @ Pittsfield

At this linocut workshop you will create a design, carve the design into a soft linoleum block with the proper tools, and then print the image onto paper and/or note cards. This is your chance to create something to hang on your wall, or perhaps design a card for upcoming events.

Did you attend the Printmaking Workshop we had this summer, and would like more instruction and practice carving the blocks and printing your designs? Or are you wondering what block printing is all about? This workshop is for you!

We will supply all the tools necessary, you supply the creativity! If you have something you’d like to print on, or have your own tools, feel free to bring them.

Don't forget to check out some of AADL’s books on block printing for a spark of ideas.

This DIY event is for Grades 6- Adult, and takes place at Pittsfield on Wednesday, December 8, from 6:30-8:30pm. See you there!
linocut supplieslinocut supplies

Boomerang Bonanza and Book Launch!

Okay makers, mark your calendars. Friday is the book release party for local author David Erik Nelson’s latest endeavor, Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred: Seriously Geeky Stuff to Make with Your Kids. It’s not your average book launch though. In addition to checking out the book and hanging out with the author at this free, family friendly event at the Workantile Exchange, you can also partake in making and throwing boomerangs while enjoying an adult beverage as your kids have fun. The boomerangs are one of the many fun, hands-on projects featured in the book.

Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred also features projects such as a simple electric guitar, board games, an oversized joy buzzer, and kites, to name a few. These make-tastic projects are sure to keep kids and parents busy for hours. If you're curious about the projects, ask the author about them!

The Boomerang Bonanza launch party coincides with Main Street’s Midnight Madness, so there’s no excuse not to pop in and get your make on amidst all that shopping and caroling.

Friday, Dec 3 | 6–8pm | Workantile Exchange,118 S. Main St.

Calling All Knitters: Hats & Headbands

knitted hatsknitted hats

Are you a knitter and would like some ideas for a cool hat or headband? Expert knitter Jillian Moreno will be at Traverwood to share her ideas. Bring circular needles, if you have them, and we'll supply the yarn. Good timing to get a head start on the really cold weather or gift giving projects.

Please join us at Traverwood, Sunday, October 17, 2-3pm for Calling All Knitters: Hats and Headbands. Grades 4-Adult.

Get craftilicious with Yarn Bombing

Yarn Bombing: the art of crochet and knit graffiti is one of my new favorite craft books. It chronicles the start and the phenomenon of yarn graffiti. You may have seen some knitted works hanging on trees and fences around Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor. It is a form of street art, akin to graffiti with a paint can, only the tool of choice is knitted and crocheted pieces hung around town instead. “Yarn bombing can be political, it can be heart-warming, and it can be funny.”

The book is a definitive guide to the act of yarn graffiti. It is chock full of examples, photos, and patterns, and offers plenty of information on the history of yarn bombing, and on the individuals and groups who initiated it, including those who continue to tag. In addition to yarn graffiti, there is also plenty of reference on how to start knitting and crocheting, and offers instructions and resources to get you going with needle arts. I find the idea of craft and street art intertwining truly fascinating.

September is National Sewing Month!

SewingSewing

Being that September is National Sewing Month, are you looking for some inspiration to help you get a move on with that pile of fabric you keep staring at? Try some of these new books to get you motivated to start a new project or finish that one that’s collecting dust.

Amy Butler's style stitches: 12 easy ways to 26 wonderful bags!

Sewing bits & pieces : 35 projects using fabric scraps

The Feisty Stitcher: sewing projects with attitude

If you’re looking for more, there are oodles of sewing books at AADL to get you going. Or check out Sew green recycle, repurpose, restyle, a how-to DVD featuring a few easy projects you can sew along with.

Make it Happen with a lot of Lotta Jansdotter's crafty books!

Scandinavian born Lotta Jansdotter left her small island off Sweden at the age of 20 to study art in California. After figuring out that she wanted to focus on screen printing she immediately left school to work on her passion, later opening her own business and starting her Lotta Jansdotter line. Her business, designs, and popularity have grown immensely over the years, and she has written books featuring some of her projects.

Lotta Prints: How to print with anything, from potatoes to linoleum is an excellent book for both those who already dabble in printing or are looking to get started. Some projects featured include screen printing, stenciling, stamping, and block printing. For more textile action, Lotta Jansdotter's simple sewing: patterns and how-to for 24 fresh and easy projects contains many adorable projects that aren’t too difficult to accomplish by sewing. And for things to make for the little ones, check out Simple sewing for baby: 24 easy projects for newborns to toddlers, which offers up many clothing and accessories items for the cute small relations in your life.

All the books include thorough directions and illustrations for each project, and there is also a sampling of patterns to use. Lotta also has a darling blog that is worth browsing, and for a look into her studio, check out Etsy’s featured studio tour of it!

Syndicate content