Learning Curation Mobile App

Having recently done a post on mobile apps that support creativity, this item about a learning curation app caught my eye. The app is called Learnist; they describe their app as: “a crowd-sourced collection of the world’s knowledge”.

The item author describes the app as a Pinterest like tool that focuses on pointing to lessons (called learnboards). They sharpen the focus even further my concentrating on lessons written by well know people. Some of the lessons are free and some cost $.99.

What jumped out at me was the example learnboard the author sampled called “Creativity in Filmmaking and the Arts”, by Van Sant.

Source: http://techland.time.com/2014/02/27/learnists-iphone-app-now-lets-you-learn-from-celebs-as-well-as-everybody/


Lower Cost Ceramic Powder

3D printing of ceramics is something I’m interested in learning more about. I picked up one important point from this short item – ceramic powder is very expensive; $30-50 per pound.

The item is reporting on a new power formula, developed at University of Washington, that is much less expensive; under $1/lb.). The link to the actual formula requires registration. I didn’t follow the link since the actual formula is of any value, to me, at this point but might come in handy in the future.

Has any of the blog’s readers done any work with 3D printed ceramics?

Source: http://makezine.com/2009/05/01/3d-printing-goes-back-to-the-stone/

3D Printing in Wood?

Just read about a new company, called 4 AXYZ, who has developed a process to 3D print items using wood. The company stresses that their process isn’t technically 3D printing since what they are doing is combining small, uniformly-cut pieces of wood and securing the layers together with a binding material.

The results certainly look very much like 3D printing:

There are a couple of interesting aspects to their manufacturing process:

1) They can embed sensors in the products they produce. If you haven’t been following along, putting sensors everywhere is going to be a huge part of the next wave of innovation.

2) They are able to easily combine different types of material with their wood products:

Without any extra manufacturing cost, a customer could increase or decrease the size of the object they order, or substitute in a different kind of wood. More interestingly, they could combine different types of wood and materials (think carbon fiber or Kevlar) to create composite items that would currently be very difficult to make.

Here’s a picture of a wooden window frame with a core made of cork:

Gigaom says 4 AXYZ are looking for funding to purchase the equipment to get started on manufacturing items using their process. However, the 4 AXYZ web site claims there were going to get started in the Fall of 2013. Sounds like getting the necessary funding is taking longer than they expected (which is hardly unusual).

source: http://gigaom.com/2014/02/25/this-is-what-3d-printed-wood-looks-like/

Apple Picks a Statue to Remember Steve Jobs

Apple ran a competition, with over 10,000 artists participating, to design a statue of Steve Jobs; to be installed in front of their headquarters. Man, does the Huffington Post hate the piece Apple selected; calling it “unfortunate”.

Anyone who’s ever owned an iPhone or Mac, or who’s even just seen those things, knows that Steve Jobs was into sleek lines and bold colors, when it comes to design. Radenovic’s winning statue is none of those things

MacRumors posted a translated description of the bust from the sculptor Dragan Radenovic:

I wanted to present some of the recognizable Serbian motifs such as a letter Ш which is the last letter of the Serbian alphabet and Apple rather liked the idea. I’ve also placed the Latin letter A and binary code 0.1 too. I’ve wanted it all to represent a sort of “magnet”.

Here’s what the Huffington Post made of the magnet concept:

During his lifetime, colleagues described Jobs as having a “reality-distortion field” that swayed coworkers and audiences to his way of thinking. That’s the best explanation we could come up with for the magnet.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/25/steve-jobs-statue_n_4855844.html?

Marilyn Monroe is Moving to Hamilton, NJ

Grounds for Sculpture is getting a new statue. Moving from Palm Springs, to her new home in New Jersey, is “Forever Marilyn” a 26-foot-tall, 34,000-pound statue based on the 1955 movie “The Seven-Year Itch”.

Not really sure what is going on with the fire hose in this picture. Having spent some time in the Palm Springs area (29 Palms to be exact) I’m guessing that the statue can get pretty dusty after a while.

The Monroe sculpture is part of a series that sculptor Seward Johnson created called “Icon Revisited”. Some other pieces in the series are a sculpture based on the famous picture of a WWII vet kissing a nurse when the end of the war in Europe was announced and a sculpture he did based on the famous Grant Wood painting “American Gothic”.

Recreating popular icons in three dimensions is sure to be popular with the general public. The concentration of so many kinds of sculpture at Grounds for Sculpture makes it a very cool place to visit. Hopefully adding “Forever Marilyn,” to their collection, will bring them lots of new visitors.

Another thing I learned from this news item is that some of the sculptures at Grounds for Sculpture are replicas. I’m assuming that helps lower their acquisition costs and replicas certainly can widen an artists exposure. I guess I’ll have to visit Grounds for Sculpture again to see how transparent they are about the reproductions; I don’t remember them highlighting which pieces are replicas when I was there the first time.

Source: http://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2014/02/a_26-foot_statue_of_marilyn_monroe_in_iconic_pose_headed_to_grounds_for_sculpture_exhibit_in_hamilto.html?

Mr. Johnson’s web site: http://www.sewardjohnson.com/

Some Apps That Can Aid Creativity

Just bumped into a blog, called Creativity Tech, that looks like a great resource. Digging around the site, I spotted an old post about apps that can help creativity.

The focus of the post was on the types of help an app can offer. He outlined five bucket categories:

  • Inspiration
  • Research
  • Memory Aid
  • Storage
  • Opinions

That seems like a fairly well thought out list of high level creativity aids. While Gordon Platt gives some examples of online resources, for some reason he doesn’t mention any mobile apps. In my former life, one of the things I would do research on was examples of mobile apps. I’m a bit rusty but thought it would be fun to do a quick search and see if I can find any interesting mobile apps to fit into Mr. Platt’s creativity buckets.


Mr. Platt’s examples, of inspiration tools, point you to databases of content. There are certainly mobile versions of sites like Flickr; for something a little different I spotted this app: Creativity & Inspiration Affirmations. Their approach is to use daily reciting of affirmations as part of your personal development routine. I can’t speak to how effective that approach is to increasing one’s creativity. Without downloading the app it is hard to tell if there is enough depth in the content to warrant the $.99 price tag. I can say that this app has a weak download history but since the app was first released in December of last year that isn’t telling you very much.

Here’s an app, Design Spring, that sends you a daily example of illustrations to inspire you. However, this app has been out since 2012 and still seems of have technical issues. Not to mention that the examples shown in iTunes didn’t strike me as particularly inspiring. I would think that there is a market for an app that offered a daily dose of creative inspiration but since I didn’t find many examples perhaps I’m wrong. Either that or perhaps all the apps, of this type, that have been offered so far suck. There are a number of art and design related magazine subscriptions offered in mobile apps that could perhaps scratch this itch.


This is perhaps too broad a category for a specific mobile app. The details of what you are researching will help define what the best tools would be. Not to mention, I’m not sure if there is much of a business case for a tool that focuses on doing research while mobile; Google search would seem to be adequate for that. I thought I would offer at least one mobile example of a fine art resource. A publisher called Robert Schoenburg has put together a little collection of mobile apps to explore some popular categories of painting. Seen here is a screen-shot from the HD app on Impressionists.

A better use case for a mobile creativity related research tool might be if you wanted to do field research on outdoor art. This example, Sculpture Mobile, is for an exhibit that is now over but it will give you the general idea for what could be done.

Memory Aid

I have to agree with Mr. Platt that it is hard to top Evernote for collecting all types of information. There are of course other apps worth considering. I make use of the desktop version but the mobile version of Evernote looks useful.

Storage and Organization

This is another broad app category that doesn’t necessarily call for a specific art/creative version. I’ll echo Mr. Platt and say that there are ways to set up Evernote to facilitate this function as well. I did find a mobile app, while not related to creativity, that can help with organization for an artist. Fine Art Manager ($8.99) allows you to catalog your portfolio and manage the movement and sales of your artwork.

Opinions and Feedback

Getting feedback is a very important part of the creative process. Posting your works and projects on your blog and on twitter, as well as, soliciting feedback via email are not mobile specific tasks. During my quick app search I didn’t find any examples but an app that polled the audience during one of your art exhibitions could be interesting. Wouldn’t it be fun if the art show attendees were the ones that got to vote for “best of show“. That would of course be most useful for future projects, since you would be asking for feedback on finished works.

If you have any suggestions for apps that are useful to the artistic/creative process please make a note in the comments….

Source: http://creativitytech.com/5-ways-for-apps-to-aid-your-creativity/

Update: here’s a post with a bit more deep in their examples of apps that support the creative process – http://www.edutopia.org/blog/apps-for-creativity-diane-darrow

Woodmere Art Museum to Upgrade Landscape

No, they are not looking for higher quality landscape paintings. Well maybe they are but that would be a different story. What they are planning to do is spruce up their grounds. The interesting thing, to me, is that they are looking to add more outdoor sculpture.

The most visual of the proposed improvements would be a “world-class destination” sculpture garden. The garden would include a redesign of the pedestrian access with walking paths, lighting, signage and patron seating. “The idea here is that it would be more inviting and pleasing and really make it something that grabs people’s eyes,” noted Pamela Loos, the museum’s director of foundation and government relations.

The item mentions that they plan to use a large copper and bronze fountain, designed by Harry Bertoia, as a focal point for the sculpture garden. That sounds very nice, as Mr. Bertoia has done some very interesting public installations. The fountain used to be installed at the Philadelphia Civic Center; which was torn down in 2000. The weird part is that since then, the fountain has been stored in the Philadelphia police barracks. How did that come about? I’m guessing that it is quite safe there. Makes you wonder what other odds and ends they have tucked away, in the nooks and crannies, of Philadelphia’s government real estate.

Typical of a lot of news items about art, they didn’t include any pictures of the fountain. The news item referred to the fountain as “Waves”; which is incorrect. That made searching for pictures a little harder than it had to be. The actual title of the piece is “Free Interpretation of Plant Forms“, installed in 1967. Did some digging and found this:

Source: http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/local/mt-airy-feature/53014-woodmere-art-museum-seeks-grant-for-new-sculpture-garden-and-landscape-improvements

Harry Bertoia’s web site: http://www.harrybertoia.org/index.html

BTW – Christopher William Purdom has put together a great compilation of Philadelphia public art; check it out: philart.net.

Creative Photography

I found a fun post on the blog, InspirationsWeb. They have compiled a set of interesting and creative photos. A few of the photos seemed a bit predictable but I think that may have more to do with how well done the other shots are; that they were grouped with.

Check out their full post and see if you can find a bit of creative inspiration for these works:

Source: http://www.inspirationsweb.com/photography/inspirationsweb-creative-photography-series-2/

4-part Series Exploring the Life and Work of Robert Heinlein

Heinlein is hands down my favorite author.  This little series of blog posts, by Sarah Hoyt, looks to be interesting (she has only posted the first part, so far).

Got to love this quote gif:

I’m looking forward to following along with this short series of posts….

Source: http://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2014/02/22/20-things-you-might-not-know-about-robert-a-heinlein-part-1-his-maculate-origin/?singlepage=true

Part 2: http://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2014/03/01/20-things-you-might-not-know-about-robert-a-heinlein-part-2-his-preposterous-heritage/?singlepage=true

Part 3: http://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2014/03/08/20-things-you-might-not-know-about-robert-a-heinlein-part-3-his-eccentric-education/?singlepage=true

Part 4: http://pjmedia.com/lifestyle/2014/03/15/20-things-you-might-not-know-about-robert-a-heinlein-part-4-his-happy-destiny/?singlepage=true

LEGO® Sculptures in the Garden – Naples, Florida

Here’s a fun concept for a traveling exhibit – twenty-seven sculptures built with LEGO bricks placed through out the garden.

From an American bumblebee, a garden worker and a hummingbird to a fox and rabbit, bison and lily pads, the sculptures range in size from six inches to almost eight feet.  The exhibit highlights and promotes the importance of ecosystems and how all living things are connected.

Source: http://www.mckenzienewsservice.com/news/Naples-Botanical-Garden/Naples-Botanical-Garden-LEGO-in-the-Garden.htm

Drawing Freeform Metal Lines

Dutch designer Joris Laarman has developed a version of 3D printing utilizing welding that also incorporates a robotic arm. The result is that he is able to print metal lines in mid-air without the need for any support structure.

Following on from the machine Laarman developed last year that used a quick-drying resin, this method of printing makes it possible to create 3D objects on any given surface independent of inclination and smoothness. The technique can be used to print with metals including stainless steel, aluminium, bronze or copper.

Source: http://www.dezeen.com/2014/02/21/3d-printing-robot-by-joris-laarman-draws-freeform-metal-lines/

Smithsonian Artifacts You Can 3D Print At Home

An item at Mental Floss pointed me to a beta project that the Smithsonian is running. The project is called X 3D. It includes a browser based 3D viewer and more interestingly the ability to download models of objects that have been scanned and uploaded by the institution.

They haven’t loaded very many objects yet. The Killer While Hat caught my eye. While all the objects are pretty neat, I would think that the Wooly Mammoth Skeleton and Abraham Lincoln’s Life Masks would get a lot of attention.

I have always thought that creating some chain mail would be an interesting 3D project. Can you imagine being able to print 3D armour from the Smithsonian? I’m waiting for them to upload some cool swords….

Source: http://www.mentalfloss.com/article/54885/10-priceless-smithsonian-artifacts-you-can-print-home

X 3D site: http://3d.si.edu/

3D Printing for Artists

TechRepublic posted a nice summary of the key issues keeping 3D printing from being more widely adopted. Just because 3D printing isn’t quite ready for the average consumer doesn’t mean they don’t have a place in the art world. However, many of the same issues that negatively impact consumers are also of concern for artists.

For us stereotypical starving artists the cost of the printers and the material is certainly a key issue.

PLA and ABS plastic are not very sturdy; making them a poor choice for many types of art projects.

There is hope that with the expiring if the patient for selective laser sintering (SLS) printers that their cost will come down. The importance of SLS printers to artists is that they have the ability to print with more durable materials (glass, metal and ceramic).

The lower cost printers don’t replicate CAD designs very accurately.

Like many artistic processes, 3D printers have safety issues to keep in mind: FDM printers can reach very high temperatures; Powder-based printers are messy and potentially explosive and the emissions from SLS printer are a cause for concern.

Source: http://www.techrepublic.com/article/3d-printing-10-factors-still-holding-it-back/