UglyCon at GR2 in LA this weekend: a gathering of Uglydoll fans

I had the great pleasure of visiting with Giant Robot's Eric Nakamura and collaborators last night at the GR2 space on Sawtelle in Los Angeles.

Way into the wee hours of the night, they were gathering one-of-a-kind Uglydoll art for the fourth annual Uglycon, which starts June 15 and continues through June 26. The show includes Uglydolls created by fans, and fellow artists.


Photo: Xeni Jardin

Boing Boing pal Tim Shey and I walked around the space and watched a mural and an exhibit take shape. Above, a time-lapse video of the mural creation shot by Eric Nakamura.

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Aralac: The "wool" made from milk

Yesterday, Cory posted a vintage ad for boys' hats and accessories, which included a small selection of ties made from something called "Aralac". I didn't think much of it, until I noticed J. Brad Hicks' comment pointing out that Aralac was a synthetic wool made from cheese. Which was not a joke.

Seriously. It'll make more sense once you understand how the stuff was actually made.

Think about it this way: Wool (the actual kind, that comes from sheep) is a protein. So is casein, which is found in milk. Making Aralac is basically about getting the protein casein to behave like the protein wool. In 1937, Time magazine described how the process worked:

Having practically the same chemical composition as wool, it is made by mixing acid with skim milk. This extracts the casein, which looks like pot cheese. Evaporated to crystals, it is pulverized and dissolved into a molasses consistency, then forced through spinnerets like macaroni, passed through a hardening chemical bath, cut into fibres of any desired length. From 100 pounds of skim milk come 3.7 pounds of casein which converts to the same weight of lanital. [Aralac was also called Lanital.]

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