Next Stop NextFab


Last December, the intrepid Ellen Marshall and I toured the NextFab Studio located at 2025 Washington Street in Philadelphia.   Our  purported mission was to learn about 3D printing, which we did.  But the tour, led by NextFab head of Institutional Relations Alex Kaplan, got to see all the facilities and equipment available to people who join the Studio and take the requisite safety and beginning classes.  

What I did not know was that in addition to providing facilities for members, giving classes and sponsoring community outreach programs, NextFab  is a for-profit organization that provides technical consulting, custom fabrication and prototyping services to businesses and individuals.  For more information, press here.


Bukito 3D printer

3D printed items

3D printed 2

City Hall Model

3D printed City Hall


3d print labMore 3D printed items including the face in the corner

3d printerGiant 3D printer used for industrial applications


giant2DprinterWide format 2D digital printer

2d printSolar system picture printed in wide format

LaserPrinterLaser Printer

NextFab also offers woodworking and metal fabrication facilities, and an electronics lab.

Metalshop1Metal Shop

electrlabElectronics Lab

Alex Kaplan in the woodshop

Alex Kaplan in the Wood Shop holding a cutting board from a beginner’s wood shop safety class that members have to take before they are allowed to work independently. My friend Patty has  joined NextFab  and  reports that  these beginning safety workshops are also project oriented  which is great because not only do you learn about safety in the shop and how to use tools properly, you also come away with a nifty item you made yourself. 

To learn more about NextFab, go to their blog or website, take one of their classes offered to the public or take a tour of their facilities.

Clayathon 2016

Another Clayathon has come and gone. Laura Tabakman  shared her techniques and explained her design process and sources of inspiration.  I didn’t make many items this year but got to try my hand at making hollow triangle beads and other hollow geometric forms. We made a trip to the Shore Diner and the family-owned Athenian Garden where the service is slow but the food makes it more than worth it.  I brought a bottle of Tullamore Dew to share and it went rather quickly because so many people got to enjoy it. My brother and sister-in-law came to hang out on Sunday.  I made new friends, saw old friends amd enjoyed a drink before the fire on the Stocktom Seaview lobby.

Here are some pictures.


It was great to see Lisa Clarke who hasn’t been able to make the last few Clayathons. Read her blog post here.





















People Who Clay Together. . .

Stay together?  Not always, but it certainly seems to be the case with  the South Jersey Clayathon that Arlene Groch has sponsored for the last 11 years with the help of some dedicated volunteers including Susan GrossSherman Oberson and Joyce Miskowitz.  I have attended it since it began and am looking forward to going this year.


Clay charms and Clayathon logo designed by by Robin Milne

Laura Tabakman is this years’ guest artist.  I love her work and look forward to  her presentations.


But most of all,  I am looking forward to sitting in front of the fireplace in the lobby of the Stockton Seaview Resort with old and new friends and sharing stories and a cup of something comforting.


Polishing My Skills

I have a long way to go in the metalsmithing department.  This week I have been learning about polishing and finishing.  Lexi Erickson has a good video filled with 11bd33useful information on finishing jewelry by hand called (not surprisingly) Hand Finishing Jewelry.   But not everyone wants to finish their jewelry the old fashioned way.

If you want to learn about the myriad of rotary tools and flex shaft attachments  available to put a shine on your jewelry, I can recommend two free on-line videos.

The first one is from Nancy Hamilton and the second one is from Beaducation.     For someone like me who did not even know what all the tools were called much less how to use them, these videos were a key to the mysterious world of tripoli, radial brushes, microns, their seemingly endless varieties, and what attachment to use use for what.  I learned what a pin polisher is, what those brushy attachments that 3m makes are called (bristle disc or brush discs), what the different colors mean (I found this handy information on the Contenti site) and lots of other tips including safely precautions. And Nancy Hamilton has a page on her web site which is chock-a-block with information on how to make your jewelry shine.

Now all I have to do is practice, practice practice my fabrication skills (which I have time to do now that I am retired.)   All the finishing in the world won’t cover up poor fabrication.  But one step at a time, right?