Friday, October 20, 2017

northern illinois university

I'm trying to get back into the habit of blogging. I've really dropped the ball on posting a lot of things that have happened in this past year. The move just got the best of me I guess. 

I just returned from Northern Illinois University this past week. We had our Fall Break at AppState last week so I thought scheduling the visit to coincide with the closing reception of the exhibition I was in at NIU would be good. I decided to drive as it would allow me to take some demonstration equipment with me and I needed to pick up a snow blower from my Dad in Illinois so I figured this would kill to birds. It was a whirlwind of activity at NIU as my schedule was packed tight. I had a great time working with the students and Jamie Obermiere was such a great host. I had never had the chance to talk to Jamie for an extended period of time and I really enjoyed our discussion in between the demonstrations and lectures. I found that we have a lot of similar thoughts on teaching and making work.

The first demo I taught covered CNC routing using RhinoCAM and then did some demos with their Shapeoko. I haven't really needed to use the Shapeoko much since I have my Tormach but I wanted to be able to demo a workflow that would work for them and their machine. I spent about an hour messing around with things before the demo started and found a post processor that would work with the Shapeoko and universal g-code sender. It felt good to be able to come in blind to their set-up and get things cutting with very little drama. We had a potluck dinner after the demo and then I taught a powder coating workshop.

The next day I gave a talk on the Digital Craft Research Lab and some of the projects that came out the lab followed up by a vinyl cutting and steel etching demo. The printmaking class joined us for this demo and I got to meet Michael Barnes who teaches printmaking at NIU. The Sculpture class joined us for a sand casting demo after that. Mike Rea is now teaching Sculpture there so we wee able to reconnect. I've been a big fan of Mike's work since seeing it during a Sculpture search at UWM. The reception for the exhibition followed and I had the opportunity connect with Gerry Guthrie. I used to see Gerry's work when I was a graduate student at the U of I. We had a great visit and I only regretted that we didn't have a chance to talk for very long since I had an artist lecture to give after the reception. I did get to connect with Jessica and Yev after my talk and it was so good to see them. I had a great time at Northern and the next day I picked up some sheetmetal in Rockford to take back to AppState. I drove back down to my parents place and visited family there and picked up the snowblower and then started for home the next day. 

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