making

Sportsballs! by Anthony Schmiedeler

Kansas City sports teams have been doing great lately and I've been making stuff to show my support. Some have turned into t-shirts, some into prints, and recently I've even had some picked up to be sold at Made in KC! Here's to keeping the streak alive.

Scraper Bikes by Anthony Schmiedeler

 A scraper bike is an ordinary bicycle that has been modified by its owner, typically with decorated spokes with candy-colored pinwheels and matching body and wheel colors, using tinfoil, re-used cardboard, candy wrappers and paint. — Wikipedia

A scraper bike is an ordinary bicycle that has been modified by its owner, typically with decorated spokes with candy-colored pinwheels and matching body and wheel colors, using tinfoil, re-used cardboard, candy wrappers and paint. — Wikipedia

I finally made my very own scraper bike. I need better pictures but this will work for now.

 BEFORE (not my actual bike but same make and color)

BEFORE (not my actual bike but same make and color)

 AFTER

AFTER

T-shirts and one-pagers by Anthony Schmiedeler

Sometimes I screenprint t-shirts in my garage for fun. Lately a lot of people have been asking where to get them so I decided to create a website. 

Then I had a lot of fun so I made another one.

These aren't necessarily the most succesful websites but it's fun to see what I can create quickly with the tools I have available to me. It's also amazing what you can create with free websites templates these days.

Click Here by Anthony Schmiedeler

Technology obsession has been a recurring theme in a lot of things I make. Not just because I feel like it is a huge problem for people today, but also because I experience it quite a bit myself. I'm made two pieces this week reflecting on that problem. Both made quickly, on a whim, but I felt the need to make them real. The biggest problem with technology is that it get's in the way of people most of the time. I was consciously avoiding that problem to make these things but I only realized after that they both speak to those "technological barriers" to reality.

Christmas Crafts by Anthony Schmiedeler

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A beer-flavored advent calendar, Ladybird themed x-mas cards, a similarly themed cookie cutter fashioned from a soda can, and a couple of the ugliest sweaters you've ever seen (2nd and 1st place respectively though I'd argue the reindeer was far too cute to be ugly). Been away from the computer for a while but I'm back and ready for new year of blue light nights.

Cool Tool by Anthony Schmiedeler

I picked this baby up from an art store counter display about 3 months ago because the design caught my eye and I've been using it pretty consistently ever since. The OLFA Touch-Knife is a spring loaded razor blade, concealed in a flat circular container. Since it isn't a typical pencil-like shape it is very portable and it has extra surface area for good leverage and accurate cuts. I use it for opening pretty much anything. I also use it when I'm crafting and it's the closest cutting tool within reach. Yesterday I used it to remove a splinter because it was the only thing around that was suitable for the job. An excellent combination of function and beauty.

This post was inspired by Kevin Kelly's book Cool Tools

The MILK Truck by Anthony Schmiedeler

And now to share the biggest, funnest, fastest project we, the Future Mavericks, were able to complete this summer. It stems from the last blitz we co-created and facilitated. 

The challenge: How might we turn Rapid Ingenuity into something anyone can use?

After two days of blitzing, we came up with three possible solutions. 

Furioso the Furious Pickle Inciting individuals toward ingenious actions through an unexpected character campaign.

Baahhg! - A portable creative toolkit to spark and build upon ideas. Teaching and spreading Rapid Ingenuity with its contents.

The MILK truckDeliver Rapid Ingenuity playgrounds, in the form of a mobile lab, for groups to use and explore.

With a week and a half left in our residency to execute one of these solutions we had to think fast. We chose to take advantage of a recent addition to our available resources, a Cricket trailer prototype, and moved forward with the MILK truck. In about ten days we were able to turn a two-person camper into an eight(or more)-person mobile meeting space, covered in whiteboard paint from head-to-toe. With a little bit of IKEA hacking we turned knife racks into magnetic marker holders and a rack system into a rearrangeable formation of blitz materials to be customized for any occasion. A portable projector screen can be placed at the head of the camper or you can pull out as much scratch paper as you need from the roll behind it. And a lovely potted plant to top it off. The best part about the MILK truck is that our re-engineered table can be lowered between the benches to form a bed and maintain its camper functionality.

On my last day I "tested" out the whiteboard paint with some freehand illustrations and the guys at Future were able to take it to a meeting the next week with great success! It's hard for anyone to deny the power of Rapid Ingenuity when they are sitting in a prime example of it. I was incredibly surprised and proud at what we were able to turn out with such a limited amount of time, minimal resources, and no experience doing anything like it before. I may never fear a deadline again. Without a doubt, the MILK truck was the perfect project to end an amazing summer residency at Future.

Shitty First Drafts by Anthony Schmiedeler

One of the final steps in completing my residency this summer was to co-facilitate a blitz with my fellow residents. Along with choosing some pre-planned design activities to include in the blitz schedule, we had the opportunity to create some activities ourselves. My favorite exercise that we were able to come up with, and that turned out to be pretty successful, was Speedy Monkey

Speedy Monkey started out simply as an exercise to encourage thinking in physical space by allowing participants to use a variety of unrelated materials, in successive rounds, to create several prototypes. We wanted people to see their idea in ways they wouldn't have normally thought of and we wanted them to do it fast to avoid judgement. In developing the exercise further, I was reminded of a group painting I recently participated in. To complete it, several people joined me around a canvas and we rotated positions as we painted, adding to each other's marks to create a unified piece. With this in mind we decided that Speedy Monkey should be a group exercise. Then we created stations that would contain certain materials to make with, including a station of random trinkets. Each person in a group would sit at these stations around a table, spending 5 minutes with each material. As they rotated around the table, they would be allowed to add to their prototypes or start fresh. After every group member got a turn at each station we would reflect on what was made.

When it came time to try out Speedy Monkey in a blitz I got to participate! Starting with the idea of "Lego Post-Its" I was able to create the prototype below. After five rounds with many different materials, including a yo-yo, I discovered that these Post-Its could be used to connect several pieces of an idea into one big idea. I also concluded that they didn't have to be flat like regular Post-Its. This idea could be seen in three dimensions and even have moving parts. All in all, Speedy Monkey worked incredibly well at pushing a simple thought into an expanded, working, rough prototype!

P.S. I didn't come up with the name...

Here's the full blitz we created if you want to try out some exercises yourself!

The Rapid Ingenuity Toolkit by Anthony Schmiedeler

"Imagine a hackathon, meets team building, meets professional development, meets leadership summit. Imagine getting six weeks of work done in three days. Imagine coming up with solutions together that you could never conceive of on your own." 

That's how Future describes a Rapid Ingenuity Blitz. My fellow designers in residence (including me) at Future used this combination of design exercises, done at warp speed, to tackle Future's problem of how they might engage Chief Learning Officers so that they would want to bring Rapid Ingenuity to their organizations.

The first step was breaking the ice with a little Truth + Truth = Fiction, a fun way to introduce everyone and loosen up the team. After that we analyzed who our audience really was with All About Me. Then we were invited to think of the most outrageous solution we could come up with, aka a Moonshot. That information combined with our new audience profile allowed us to go back in and think about our challenge. Challenge the Challenge led us to a new, more specific problem:  How might CLOs become inspired advocates of Rapid Ingenuity?

From there we started working out how we would create inspired advocates by taking our challenge and adding In a Way That... So That... statements. This helped us figure out how the challenge could be addressed and the impact we wanted our solution to have. Then we took a break to get out and discover things that might spark our imaginations with 3x3x3 (3 Places, 3 people, 3 stories). We ended the first day of our blitz with an Asset Jam to rapidly identify the existing resources we had that could help with our challenge.

Day 2 started with Random Word to help us get away from our problem-solving orthodoxies and generate a bunch of ideas that might lead to ingenious solutions. The catalyst for our random word association? A combination of the weirdest things we found during our Get Out the previous day. Those ideas were then rated on a scale of Impact vs. Doability. We came up with the criteria for Impact and Doability with our In a Way That and So That statements from the previous day. The next steps were taking the most impactful solutions and using an improv tactic, "Yes And", to expand on the ideas and push them as far as they could go. We ended with Name It to start breathing life into our ideas and give us a jump-off point for the realization of them.

One of those ideas was a Rapid Ingenuity Kit: A set of bare essentials in the style of Macgyver (like a paperclip, gum wrapper, and matchstick) that would inspire CLOs to think wrong and realize that they already have the tools they need for ingenious solutions. This wasn't enough for us to move forward with the idea so we did another round of Yes And.

Two of us worked together through several iterations to come to a final solution: the Professional Development Rapid Ingenuity Toolkit. An exquisite yet rough looking package containing a single paper clip presented on a square of velvet. Inspired by Macgyver, we knew the paperclip was the only object we needed to illustrate the possibilities for ingenuity. One of those possibilities is to pick a lock, which we've alluded to in the design of the bend. This refers to the idea of "unlocking your potential". It's also a typical office product that CLO's are familiar with and we are presenting it in an exciting new way. We finished it off by tying in the name of the CLO with the actual object. Making them the "key" so they are empowered and intrigued. The most amazing part is that we used the process we are trying to sell to develop the entire campaign.

The last step was to pair it with a personalized letter and a Rapid Ingenuity Handbook to explain the process. The kit was replicated 70+ times for selected CLOs across the nation and will be sent out as a cold mailer in the coming days, all for under $10 a kit. While I was working on this, my fellow interns created two more ingenious solutions that will also been sent out. We've all got really high hopes for some interesting reactions.  

(The paperclip was lasercut acrylic with chrome spraypaint. The packaging inserts were fabricated with a Cricut. Both the handbook and the packaging were printed by hand using a Riso Gocco. Big thanks to Keir Vaughan for helping the most on this project!)

Faceball by Anthony Schmiedeler

During this summer's design residency at Future, I've had opportunities to make as well as design. Faceball was one of those making opportunities and it was really fun to take an already awesome idea and turn it into reality. Before I arrived at Future, the team here had just completed a blitz with the NYC Department of Education trying to find a way to get parents and children to engage in learning and literacy through a really-cool, low-cost summer program. Using the division of Family and Community Engagement (FACE) as a facilitator, they came up with the idea of Faceball: A super-simple, fun reading literacy game that engages students, families, and community members in learning the alphabet and sight words together. 

 Faceball is like the game "HORSE" but players shoot from letters on the court to learn how to spell  Sight words .

Faceball is like the game "HORSE" but players shoot from letters on the court to learn how to spell Sight words.

 The original idea was to spraypaint directly letters directly onto the court.

The original idea was to spraypaint directly letters directly onto the court.

After a lot of trying and failing and trying again, and learning how to use an ancient Riso Gocco somewhere in between, we figured out the letters work best as rearrangeable discs with sight words on the back of themm. We ran into a few issues with durability but in the end we were able turn out a good looking prototype that got the people at NYC DOE really excited! And I got to use lasers again.

Citizen–Soldier–Artist by Anthony Schmiedeler

I am honored to have work featured in the Citizen–Soldier–Artist exhibition at Mid-America Arts Alliance through the end of this month! Citizen–Soldier–Artist explores how veterans in the United States are using the arts to constructively process and heal from the physical and psychological wounds of war.

Art & design has undoubtedly helped me personally with the transition into civilian life and given me a real purpose again. A big thank you to MAAA for such an amazing opportunity.