The picture doesn't do it justice but this string art mandala that I recently scored is really gorgeous. Plus, it has some cool history. When I saw it at the thrift store, it was just sitting on the floor. I immediately picked it up and flipped it over. That's when I saw this letter:
(Notice that it's addressed to "Rus," and that my name is Rusty!)
And this handwritten note by the artist:
I didn't recognize the artist's name and don't know much about string art but I liked the piece (and that terrific logo!), so I took it home. I soon discovered that the artist, John Eichinger, is the person who kicked off the string art fad in the late sixties with his String Mandalas. I also learned that he later designed patterns for mass-produced string art hobby kits.
String of the Art:
A popular hobby kit distributor at the time, Open Door Enterprises, first marketed his string art kits in the late 1960s. This is noted as one of the first times everyday people took interest in string art. It became widely popular in the 1970s with an uncountable amount of U.S. homes boasting home-made string art on their walls.
This was a real thrift score for me. I got this original Eichinger mandala for just $6.99.
Here's a closer look at the piece's details:
Read the rest
Hobbyist gold miners are a joy to behold. Their enthusiasm in panning for gold and running sand through sluices is clearly a labor of love. Watch as they put all their gear through its paces, with their delight and fascination never waning. Read the rest
Want to take your modelmaking to the next level? here's a cool way to make dynamic bases with lit-up explosions. Read the rest
I love the Super Punch roundups of gorgeously painted role-playing game miniatures ganked from social media; they fill me with joy and envy, as I've always been an enthusiastic, if not very talented, miniature painter.
Read the rest
The Mag Hand Workstation[Amazon link] by Hobby Creek is a 4.5 Lb steel platform with flexible, magnetic arms that hold delicate objects in place while I paint, solder and study them. Since my side projects involve tiny antiques with itsy bitsy locking mechanisms, I used to have a habit of losing important pieces - but those days are behind me.
My Hydra-like workstation comes with 2 magnetic trays that can be positioned anywhere on the platform.
And because of built in magnets, even if tip the whole thing upside down, everything stays put. The pieces are modular and allows me to set the flexible matrix in any way I want. In fact, the arms and optional Mag Helper can simply be used by themselves when placed on any steel object.
Check out Hobby Creek if you enjoy delicate work but don’t like crawling around on your hands and knees looking for tiny, lost metal things. Read the rest
Some Kind of Quest is an 11-minute documentary short about Bruce Zaccagnino, whose model train installation near NYC is one of the world's largest.
Read the rest
See sample pages of this book at Wink.
I have always had a great attraction to obsessive hobbies. When I was a teen, I didn't just want to have model trains, I needed the fully detailed train board, with forests, a mountain and tunnel, a town, and a coal mine. I didn't just want to play tabletop wargames with salt shakers and napkin holders for obstacles – I had to build an entire terrain board, with homemade buildings, impact craters, command bunkers, and the like. And when I'm not dabbling in my own all-in hobbies, I'm frequently found online, looking at forums about other people's hobby obsessions. One of these is super-detailed scale modeling.
Anyone who has done any military modeling is familiar with the AMMO brand of Mig Jimenez. Mig and AMMO are known for making the most amazing products for super-detailing models, paints, powders, and effects for painting, weathering, and basing, and high-end how-to books on model painting and finishing. Soon they will also be known for creating this incredible series, Encyclopedia of Aircraft Modelling Techniques.
I got Interiors and Assembly Volume 2 in the five-part series because I was looking for inspiration for interior detailing of some tank models that I'm building for a tabletop wargame. I was not disappointed in what I found in this book. These volumes are crammed with hundreds of high-quality, close-in photographs showing many tried and true techniques for using aftermarket parts, making your own parts, and getting the most out of the parts that came in your model kit. Read the rest
While perusing the Practical Sailor website, my husband came across this advertisement selling a 27-foot sailboat for $5000 (or best offer): Read the rest
National Geographic News has an interview with Tim Samaras — an engineer, a scientist who studies severe storm systems, and a tornado chaser. Not all chasers are professionals like this. For many people, it's a hobby often motivated by a desire to help keep other people safe. Personally, I see a lot of similarities between hobbyist tornado chasers and the HAM radio folks — in fact, there's a lot of overlap between the two communities. And, as Samaras explains, if you want to get involved, there's training you really ought to do first. Read the rest
Useless machines are home-built devices that turn themselves off as soon as you turn them on — and that's it. That's all the they do. The more elaborate and gimmicky the method by which they accomplish this job, the better. As a hobby, useless machines have been around since the 1950s, but Abigail Pesta of the Wall Street Journal says they're making a comeback. Read the rest