One area of geekdom that I haven’t delved much into so far has been cosplay. I’ve tested my chops as a gamer, a pop culture nerd, and within the realms of academic geekery, but building objects to represent my geekiness isn’t something I have much experience with. I’m learning how to be more crafty, but I’m also the type of person who took up crochet and literally tied their hand together, so I can’t say that I’m super confident in my skills for how to create something tangible from a video game.
This is a story about my forays into a whole new world of working with power tools, sports equipment, various spray paints, and friends, and working against my type-A mentality.
There was plenty to do at GeekGirlCon ‘16–browse the expanded exhibitor’s hall, attend the numerous amazing panels, and socialize at meet-ups. But my favorite activity on each day was Crafting with Feminism, aka meeting up with a few dozen other attendees and Bonnie Burton to create superheroine wrist cuffs and tampon buddies.
As soon as I learned there’d be a panel on 3D printing at GeekGirlCon ‘14, I knew I had to attend it. This is the future! I’ve thought every time the machines come up in conversation. They’re an endless source of fascination for me, yet I’d never seen one in person before. Many attendees must’ve felt the same way, because the room was absolutely packed for the panel.
Presenter Breanna Anderson kicked off the discussion with an impassioned demonstration of 3D computer software. A software innovator and platform builder for over three decades, she used a wireless stylus to quickly design a chair that looked perfect for a dollhouse. Her hand was so adept at “drawing” the object—adjusting angles here, lengthening its legs there—“oohs” and “ahs” were uttered throughout the crowd several times. So cool to see someone perform their life’s work live. Even though the program was obviously extremely advanced, it made me want to jump right in and try it.
Not only did I have no idea there are so many online services for creating awesome 3D projects—I would’ve never guessed how many of them are free to use. Audience members were given a handout listing seven different modeling software sites (provided at the end of this article). The fact that these high-quality programs are available at no cost is honestly beautiful to me (similar to how Wikipedia’s values can make me weepy). Printing the products is another story, of course, as the materials and machinery require money, but it’s great that people can familiarize themselves with the software for free.
Once an object has been crafted virtually, Anderson shared, there are three options for having it printed. People can visit and utilize local printers, send it to an online company for printing, or purchase their own 3D printers. I was thrilled to learn about several Seattle-based printing options, including FATHOM Studio, located in the Fremont/Wallingford area, and Mirrim 3D Portraits, of which Anderson is the president. FATHOM sells printers and offers high-end printing services, while Mirrim offers creative items like personalized wedding cake toppers and cosplay accoutrements.
Next, presenter Ericka M. Johnson shared her expansive insight. As a designer of printed equipment for her genetics lab, she also unleashed a flurry of 3D printer facts. She taught that the three most common materials for the machines are polyamide, ABS plastic, and ceramics, and dove into their pros and cons. Polyamide, for example, is strong, slightly flexible, and inexpensive, but when used for large flat panels, it has a tendency to warp. ABS, on the other hand, is durable, recyclable, and UV-resistant, but slightly more expensive.
Finally, ceramics involve the binding of different layers of powdered clay, resulting in potentially “amazing glazes”. However, because of the nature of clay, it has to be at least three centimeters thick, and the bigger the piece, the thicker the walls need to be. Also, before the piece has cooled, if gravity is acting on areas of it that are not properly supported, it will have a more difficult time standing up, increasing the risk of damaging the entire final product.
For those interested in owning personal 3D printers, Johnson outlined three go-to options. First, Printrbot’s Simple Maker’s Kit is a steal at just $300. The easiest one to use, though, is the UP Plus 2, which acts like a “plug ‘n play” system, ready to go almost instantly. For those looking to invest a bit more, the coolest choices in Johnson’s opinion are the Ultimaker 2 (~$2,565) and the Makerbot Replicator 2 (~$2,199).
The speedy delivery of all this info (just fifty minutes to share it all!) by Anderson and Johnson indicated just how much more there is to learn. Whether you’re brand new to it or consider yourself an expert in the field, you’re welcome to check out the Seattle 3D Printing MeetUp group, as well as the other resources listed below.
I’m excited to see what else these seemingly-magical machines will make possible for humankind. In-depth articles already suggest that, thanks to them, the creation of prosthetics and even internal body parts will be easier and more affordable down the road. Designing and printing a 3D object is now on my short-term bucket list (because yes, I am a geek with both long-term and near-future lists); I just have to decide what I want to make first!
Want to learn more about the panels at GeekGirlCon ’14, or contribute your own great ideas to GeekGirlCon ’15? Follow us on Twitter to find out when programming calls open, and pick up your passes for next year’s Con today!
Breanna Anderson is a software innovator creating solutions and building platforms that help others solve problems and she’s been doing it for over 30 years. She helped launch the era of commercial Internet publishing as a technical founder of MSNBC Interactive. While at Microsoft in 1995, she created one of the first enterprise-scale, general purpose Web CMS systems, InterPress, with the vision of democratizing publishing through the web. She founded venture-backed SchemaLogic Inc., in 2001 to create a “techno-social collaboration platform” to facilitate better information sharing through consensus-based information standardization. She is now bootstrapping a new venture: Mirrim 3D. It merges her diverse interests to combine computer vision and modeling with 3D printing to offer a new dimension in personal portraits: super-realistic, full color 3-dimensional mini-portraits.
Ericka M. Johnson is addicted to projects. From creating the Steampunk Exhibition Ball, to designing and 3D printing new equipment for her genetics lab, to leading the board of Seattle Atheists, she just can’t stay idle. And now that 3D printing technology has advanced so far and become more affordable to tinkerers, she’s itching to share what she’s learned on this new maker frontier.
Listen, sometimes a girl just wants to pretend she’s fancy Cersei Lannister, all braids and brocade. Other times, she’s out to find the perfect tweed jacket, suspenders, and bow tie. Or maybe she’s getting ready to ask her boss for a raise, so she needs to dress for success and channel her inner badass Zoe.
For such occasions in your life, GeekGirlCon ’13 has you covered, from fashion to cosplay to crafting. Your not-so-inner research nerd will be delighted by the presentation “Everything I Thought I Knew about Fashion History Was Made Up by Victorians: Research and Costuming.” Caroline Willis and Sarah Rocheleau will discuss stereotypes, appropriation, and how turn-of-the-century Victorians still influence us today.
“Intro to Costume Craft and Cosplay” is a workshop for newbies and veterans alike. Bloggers from Crafters In Disguise will delve into cosplay, costuming, and tips and tricks for creating outfits and props. And for those who like to cosplay across gender, “Rule 63 Costuming: The Whys and Hows of Genderbending” will explore genderbending versus crossplay and what makes a good genderflipped character.
How about drawing inspiration from fictional characters for your everyday fashion? As previously mentioned, Anika Dane will put on a mini-fashion show followed by a discussion of the looks and how to put together your own heroine-inspired outfits. And the panel “Geek Girl Style: Demanding Recognition in the Fashion World” will explore the growth of pop culture-themed fashion and accessories for women, where you can find these items, what areas need improvement, and how recognizing geek girls in fashion empowers fangirls in a predominantly male market.
For those who want to get crafty, bring your needles and row counters and get ready for a reading from Needles and Artifice: A Refined Adventure Story with Ingenious Knitting Patterns, from The Ladies of Mischief. There’ll be a Q&A after to ask some of the authors about steampunk, knitwear design, and co-writing fiction.
Buffy: The Making of a Slayer Deluxe Edition
Well-known local sci-fi (and more) publishers becker&mayer will be on hand for “Craft Explosion! Craft Books and Kits,” with a behind-the-scenes look at the book-making process from beginning to end.
And finally, hold on to your glue guns and get your soldering irons ready for GeekGirlCon Craft Wars! Three rounds of vague themes, crafting tools, and weird supplies will determine who wins the title of Ultimate Crafters of GeekGirlCon!
Do you have a tabletop gamer in your universe who has been on the AWESOMESAUCE list? Can’t figure out what to get that d20 high roller? Well, take a gander at a few of these gift suggestions!
What’s great about DiXit is there are 3 expansion sets! That means more illustrations and endless fun!
Asmodee’s Dixit is a favorite in my household. My husband and I have introduced many of our friends to this fun game, which is recommended for folks as young as eight. With beautiful illustrations and tons of replay value, this game is sure to be a favorite with your geek.
Guesstures, 1st Edition
Guesstures, a table top twist of the game charades, is a classic for players 12 years old and up. Act out suggestions from drawn cards and have your team guess them all before the “mimer-timer” runs out.
Dungeons and Dragons Players Handbook, 4th Edition
Now, I just started playing Dungeons and Dragons, and I am having a blast! Whether you’re a seasoned GM (game master) or it’s your first time picking up a character sheet, one can always benefit from some D&D swag!
Do you like some crafting along with your tabletop game? Warhammer is going strong. Visit the Seattle Bunker or a store near you to learn about all the armies and games Games Workshop has been developing. If you are a fan of The Hobbit, there’s a game to go along with it.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey — The Bundle.
You can never go wrong with a couple of accessories! For the steampunk enthusiast, check out this steampunk dice set:
A plethora of dice is a tabletop gamer’s ally.
So many dice and no bags of holding in sight? Check out a few of these dice bags on etsy!
Check out this sweet Galileo ornament! Festive! (Photo by Sarah Grant)
Happy Holidays from your friends at GeekGirlCon! If the winter chill has got a hold of you, gander at our awesome list of geeky events to keep you warm with nerd comfort and joy!
Friday, November 30 — Tuesday, December 4:Princess Bride Quote-a-Long From the event page: “The swashbuckling fairy tale to end all swashbuckling fairy tales returns to the big screen complete with quote along subtitles for all the best lines, free inflatable sword props, and Rodents of Unusual Size LIVE in the auditorium!”
Saturday, December 1:: Molly Lewis and The Doubleclicks: The Dammit Liz Holiday Special From the Facebook event page: “Known for organizing and producing geeky and off-the-wall events and entertainment, “Dammit” Liz Smith brings together some talented nerd folk for a holiday extravaganza! Get ready for an evening of music, comedy, and holiday merriment in this all-ages show! Featuring special guests Molly Lewis, The Doubleclicks, Kyle Stevens (Kirby Krackle), NerdProv, and Stepto! Holiday cosplay encouraged.”
Saturday, December 1 — Sunday, December 2:Urban Craft Uprising From the webpage: “At Urban Craft Uprising’s shows, fans can choose from a wide variety of hand-crafted goods including clothing of all types, jewelry, gifts, bags, wallets, buttons, accessories, aprons, children’s goods, toys, housewares, paper goods, candles, journals, art, food & much, much more. Each Urban Craft Uprising show is carefully curated and juried to ensure the best mix of crafts and arts along with originality and uniqueness.”
Tuesday, December 4:Buffy the Vampire Slayer Trivia Night at Central Cinema (SOLD OUT) From the Facebook event page: “Hosted by the inimitable Brandon Ryan, inscrutable Shane Regan, special guest host Brittany Cox, and MAP Theatre! Teams of 1-5 are welcome. Prizes for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, & last place, door prize, costume prize, and random other prizes for being awesome. You don’t have to be good at trivia … just come on down to ole Sunnydale and relive the Glorificus with us.”
Thursday, December 6GeekWire Gala From the website: “Make our gala your holiday party, close out 2012, and ring in the New Year in style. Join the “geeks who give back” and consider supporting Vittana. Bring old friends, your colleagues—and yes, your significant or insignificant others—and enjoy an evening of conversation, tasty treats and festive cocktails with our region’s vibrant tech community.”
Friday, December 7:Ladies Gaming Night at The Raygun Lounge From the Facebook event page: “The Raygun Lounge will be hosting the first Queer Geek! Ladies Gaming Night! All LGBT-friendly female-identified individuals are invited. Hetero ladies are welcome, but no dudes- it’s our turn to hog the games! Beer and food will be available at Raygun, and some board games will be provided. Feel free to bring your own games as well. If you’re new to tabletop, role-playing, or board games, come on out- we’re a friendly bunch and happy to show you the ropes.”
Friday, December 7:Teens Celebrate Art with GeekGirlCon and SAM From the press release: “Join GeekGirlCon and the Seattle Art Museum for an evening in celebrating the accomplishments of women and the arts. Hear live music, watch dance performances, play instruments, talk about global women’s issues, and create your own works of art at workshops inspired by Elles: Women Artists from the Centre Pompidou Paris and Elles: SAM. Free admission for teens 13-18 (and accompanying adults). Stop by the GeekGirlCon booth in the South Hall to play a game of “10 Things I Know About You,” a game about female geeks and geekery. Spin the wheel for a topic and then name everything you can think of about it for the next 30 seconds. Surprise yourself with how much you know and maybe even win a prize!”
Friday, December 7:Slog Happy Hour From the event page: “We’ve been telling you about the Raygun Lounge, the bar-and-gaming venue that was Kickstartered into existence by the good folks at Gamma Ray Games, for months now. The Lounge’s temporary liquor license finally came through this morning, which means that it’s time to celebrate with Slog’s nerdiest nerds.”
Friday, December 7 — Sunday, December 9:Gremlins at Central Cinema The rules are simple: 1. Never expose them to sunlight. 2. Never get them wet. 3. Never EVER feed them after midnight! This holiday season, Central Cinema is going to be full of GREMLINS!
Saturday, December 8:JENGA Tournament at Central Cinema 32 players enter…….
Only one remains victorious!
Prepare yourselves for JENGA Thunderdome
Saturday, December 8: Second Saturday SciFi Cinema at Wayward Coffeehouse,
6417 Roosevelt Way NE #104, Seattle It’s a brand new monthly event at Wayward Coffeehouse, hosted by SciFi Commons and Wayward Coffeehouse. This month’s cinematic feature is Santa Claus Conquers the Martians!
Sunday, December 9:December Mourning Market From the website: “Mourning Market is Seattle’s premiere dark themed market. An artists collective, featuring the Pacific Northwest’s spookiest artists, crafters and vendors. Hosted at El Corazon, Mourning Market is not your average show. It is an experience. Encouraging artists and supporting its unique culture and dark romanticism.”
Thusday, December 13:Seattle Girl Geek Dinners Enjoy dinner, and a guest speaker for the holidays with Seattle Girl Geek Dinners! Featured speaker is Lisa Koutek, Senior Director of Customer Experience at Cobalt.
Saturday, December 15 — Sunday, December 16:GeekFest From the website: “The holidays are coming, and you don’t want to be caught without some shiny gifts to give to your friends and family. Now’s your chance to get all your holiday shopping done and get your groove on with some geeky entertainment. We’re bringing together vendors from all over the Pacific Northwest with wares sure to charm your inner geek. Special guests include Kirby Krackle, Hello, the Future, NERDprov, and many others.”
Got a geeky event you’d like to see on our Geek About Town? Email Shubz at email@example.com! We at GeekGirlCon do reserve the right to include or not include any submissions.
If you’ve got a geek in your life (or are a geek yourself), you know how hard it can be to find the “perfect” gift. Most geeks are first in line or online to snag the latest [insert cool geek object of affection here] before the rest of the population even knows it exists!
Whatever the geeky inclination, get thee to etsyRAIN’s 4th Annual Handmade Holiday Show Black Friday Weekend (November 23 and 24, 2012) to check out 70 craft makers and artisans featuring their handmade wares. The show will be held on two floors of the Marion McCaw Hall at the Seattle Center featuring gifts in the following categories:
Bags and Purses
Bath and Body items
Ceramics and Pottery
Clothing and Accessories
Glass (Not jewelry)
Jewelry (Beadwork, Metalwork, other materials)
And Much More!
EtsyRAIN is Etsy’s official Seattle Metropolitan “Street Team” made up of regional artists and craft makers who own independent shops on Etsy.com. Members reside in the Seattle metropolitan area, as far north as Port Townsend and as far south as Olympia. Their mission is to nurture a supportive local community of artists and craft makers that will inspire, educate and promote the growth of their individual shops on Etsy.
Laurel McJannet is GeekGirlCon’s Web Content Producer. Laurel writes, designs and consults as a marketing communications professional. There isn’t a CMS she doesn’t like, she’s mastered the art of translating tech-speak for the non-techie, and she is proof positive that Marketing and IT can co-exist and not implode.
Hey everyone, Shubz here and back from a fun-filled weekend of sleeping in, sun, and LEGOS! That’s right, this past Saturday, I got an opportunity to check out BrickCon with my husband and a few of our friends. Feast your eyes on some of these impressive structures!
This pyramid is no joke! Check out all the detail in the layers to give it that unfinished look.
You can’t go wrong with Ron Swanson.
There was a booth with blacklight and light up lego structures, and my favorite was this beautiful chessboard.
Now this was definitely another favorite! BEHOLD THE BATCAVE! This was complete with a rotating panel that held Batman’s other suits and all the vehicles the Caped Crusader cannot go without.
I never knew the Justice League decorated so minimally.
Folks, this is only a fraction of the Hogwarts structure.
Another view of Hogwart’s. How awesome is that?
Please check out BrickCon’s site to catch more of the fun and building that happened this past weekend.
If you are a builder of any of the structures I have added, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can properly give you props on your hard work and creativity.
What’s on your Lego builder bucket list?
Shubz K. Blalack
PR Content Producer
Did you know that March is National Craft Month? So says the Craft & Hobby Association and all the coupons and announcements coming into to crafters’ inboxes. We geeks don’t need much of a push to make more crafts. At GeekGirlCon ‘11, we hosted two crafty workshops. Bonnie Burton showed our attendees how to make our favorite Star Wars characters as paper bag puppets. And The GeekGirlCon Design Team demonstrated how to make a sock puppet modeled after the puppets in Labyrinth.
Our staff is full of artists and crafters. Just the other week, GeekGirlCon Social Media Manager, Bunny Cole, made cat toys in the shape of a Star Trek communicator.
Here’s a note from Bunny about her catnip communicator:
I adopted an itty bitty kitty in February, and as a nod to my love of both languages and Star Trek, I named my little darling Nyota, which means “star” in Swahili. And since any kitten named for Lt. Uhura wouldn’t dream of leaving the house without a communicator, I obliged to make her set of felt and catnip communicator badges.
The process was quite simple, on a piece of yellow felt from the craft store, I traced the outline of the badge as many times as I could fit onto the felt and cut out each piece. Then, using my sewing machine, I stitched pairs together, leaving about half an inch unstitched. Then I stuffed each badge with stuffing and catnip and sewed the hole closed. Next up was embellishing each badge with a black line around the edges and an elongated star in the middle. Easy to do with a fat-tipped Sharpie!
And there you have it! Nyota loves her new toys and is often seen snuggling them in her cubbie.
Anna Daniell, our Facebook Administrator, makes super-cool earrings out of electrical tape. Anna tells us a little bit more about her creations:
I like to use uncommon materials to make arts and crafts. I often use electrical tape and wire to make earrings. I originally made larger duct tape roses, but I switched to electrical tape for earrings since I liked the texture better. Besides roses, I have also made glow-in-the-dark Pac-Man Ghost earrings and green, violet, and indigo Lantern Flower rings. These are more complicated to make than roses, but the result is definitely worth it.
And the crafts keep rolling on! GeekGirlCon is hosting more craft days between now and GeekGirlCon ‘12. Watch our website for announcements about a Doctor Who scarf knitting event and a day for kids of all ages to make their very own superhero cape.
Tell us about your geeky crafts or propose an idea for a craft day in the comments.
I remember dressing like a ballerina for Halloween, singing to The Spice Girls, and learning to apply mascara. I also remember the location of every Warp Whistle in Mario 3, how to swear in Chinese (thanks, Firefly), and why Mill Decks are cheap. I’m a geek and I’m a girl. I also turned 25 this week. Naturally, GeekGirlCon is the perfect birthday present.
Although I look forward to dressing up at the Masquerade and dancing through the GeekGirlCONcert, those aren’t the main reasons I plan to attend. Before I joined the GeekGirlCon staff, I thought of myself as a loner. I wanted to fit in; I didn’t want to be some lonely girl in the corner with a bag of dice. It turns out, there are lots of other girls with dice. There are also a lot geeks who enjoy crafts, gaming, and Labyrinth. At GeekGirlCon, I will get to meet a lot of women with similar interests.
I look forward to meeting the other attendees. I know that I’m going to make new friends in the game room, and I absolutely plan on dragging my new friends to some crafts (because you’re never too old to make Yoda puppets). I also know that this convention is a landmark. It is the first of its kind, and it is going to be amazing. When I attend GeekGirlCon, I can finally describe myself as a girl, a geek, and a feminist. I can truly be myself… at a convention.
Wait, what? Couldn’t I be myself at other conventions?
Perhaps. At other conventions, I was the token female of a group. I had to invent another version of myself. I was the “cool girl.” On the outside, I was okay with booth babes, bikini armor, and jokes at my expense. Sure, I enjoyed geeking out, but the price was too high. A convention should be the safest place to get your geek on. It should be the perfect space for making friends., and it should be a welcoming experience for everyone… gamers, geeks, nerds… and girls. Girls can be gamers, geeks, and nerds.
GeekGirlCon will be a safe space to nerd it up. I can wear my dinosaur earrings and call them “This Land.” I can talk about women in real armor, and I can meet more than a handful of geeky girls. I won’t be the subject of kitchen-related jokes all weekend. I definitely won’t be the token female. I am proud to be a geek, and I’m proud to be a girl, but most of all I’m proud to be a GeekGirlCon staff member. Why is this convention the first of its kind? I have no idea. I’m just glad to see its debut. Thanks, GeekGirlCon, for spicing up this 25-year-old’s life.