Scrimshaw’s Abound

Scrimshaw: taking a low-tech approach to design.

I sometimes opt-in for Bespoke Post boxes and saw “Carve” as an option a few months ago. I am a sucker for DIY projects and pocket knives so naturally I thought this would be a fun project. Indeed it was-but it was also a bit painful!

The instructions are simple, use a Scrimshaw scribe (sharp pointy tool) to etch a design into a material (typically bone) and then fill the etched design in with black India ink. The result is a scrimhanded, one of a kind design.  I carved this knife for my girlfriend’s graduation gift. It took a few hours, some shoddy attempts at using the graphite paper, and freehand carving to complete this project. My arm muscles weren’t quite sure what had happened this past weekend, since the extend of design and etching I do typically involves computers and lasers!

More on knife care from Bespoke Post and MollyJocker’s Scrimshaw Kit.

Scrimshaw Knife

3D Printing

One of the things I love most about 3D printing is the inexpensive iterative process. I quickly designed a few Catan game pieces using approximate dimensions (I didn’t have a caliper handy for accurate measurements!) and Tinkercad to create some simple shapes. I considered laser cutting these pieces and gluing as necessary, but I don’t get to fiddle with the 3D printers often so this was a fun challenge. Stay tuned to see the final sets (to accurate size!)

Next step: designing more interesting roads, settlements, and cities (and the robber!)

Birthday Magnets

A recent Glowforge video reminded me of party favors I made for my birthday a couple years ago (pencils not included.)

Looking back, it would have been cool to engrave a QR code on the back of each magnet so it corresponded to a specific 90s song from my birthday playlist. Next time 🙂

Check out the Glowforge in action! Can’t wait for July 2017!

Catan with Veneer!

Three years ago I laser cut a pieces for Settlers of Catan. The project sat in a box for awhile because of numerous production errors on my side (read below the fold for lessons learned!) However, I sat back down this weekend to try out piecing together laser cut hex shapes with veneer to avoid paint, and also because I haven’t tried inlaying before! Take a look at the two approaches:

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Important lessons the hard way

A story I often recount to my lasercutting students involves the first time I spent 2 hours on the machine… by myself. A quote to preface, “it’s hard being practical when you have big ideas” said me once upon a time. 

The reason I wanted to learn how to use the laser cutting machine was because I wanted to create my own Settlers of Catan board. I had designed files using measurements from the game, created simple designs and borrowed templates I found on or Suffice to say, cutting and engraving over 19 hex shapes in two hours was ambitious… and mostly a failure. But I learned a lot that first session!

I didn’t fully understand the ins and outs of designing a vector file for the laser cutter in our labs. However, I learned mostly through trial and error, many hours of changing settings, and lots of scrap pieces of material. I came away from that experience and subsequent cutting jobs with great tips! Here’s what I tell my students:

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Fun-A-Day Providence 2017


Phew! Organizing FAD has been a lot of fun these past six years. Since 2011, we’ve hosted 4 shows and all in different locations! Although it’s challenging to find a space, I’m really grateful we were able to host this year’s show in at the First Unitarian Church on Benevolent Street. The show was smaller than past years, but the quality of the work was phenomenal! Thanks to all of the great artists who submitted their work and stayed on for the entire month of January making art! I know it’s always hard to stay motivated, but that’s the point of FAD; just make something!

Heart-Shaped Living Hinge Box

I recently made a laser cut box from a template I found on The instructions were pretty simple (albeit confusing without labels) and I was able to create a pretty sturdy design. Wood glue and a quick sanding later, and I was pretty happy with my results! I’ll probably post my own instructions in the future, altering the design a bit. I cut 11 pieces but only really needed 6. I think the design could probably allow for fewer materials.

Heart shaped box with living hinge
Heart shaped box with living hinge by 

Materials: 1/8 birch plywood, wood glue
Time: 15 minutes to laser cut, 1-2 hours to glue and dry pieces


Rethinking Academic Technology in the 21st Century

Presenting at the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference was a blast! My director and I spoke in front of a ballroom (thankfully it wasn’t filled!) of people about assessing the academic technology organization in a time of restructuring and change.  This presentation was such a rewarding experience and a chance for me to combine my formal background in Organizational Studies with my practical skills of instructional project management.

EDUCAUSE Conference

Storytelling & Effective Presentations

Get ready for your group project presentation with some of these public speaking videos. Get Inspired with the Full YouTube Playlist or watch the highlights below:

Other Resources: