Our Time at #4C19

It’s hard to believe it’s been over two weeks since #4C19. We wanted to take a moment to recap our time at the conference, especially since we met for our first ever SIG.

During Wednesday’s afternoon workshop, our group traveled off-site to Contemporary Craft. We started with some reflective time to view the current exhibit TRANSFORMATION 10, which featured art created from found materials.

Afterward, Dr. Melissa Rogers, a local educator and artist who works with Pittsburgh arts organizations and nonprofits, helped lead us through a weaving-themed making activity centered on the question of what we want our art to do in the world. Each participants created an item that was woven into an upcycled picture frame. The final product was displayed in the conference center for the duration of the conference.

Thanks again Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse (PCCR) and Contemporary Craft for all the help with the workshop!

For Thursday’s SIG, we focused on what kind of big dreams we had for the future of Handcrafted Rhetorics by focusing on the following questions:

  1. What is the social/practical role of handcrafts/DIY in the field?
  2. What are your future dreams for handcrafted/DIY comp/rhet collaborations/proposals/publications/conferences/websites/classroom stuff, etc.?

In maker-fashion, our dreaming manifested into 1-page zines (featured below) and lots of good conversations. Thanks to everyone who participated. We can’t wait to see you next year!

Handcrafted Rhetorics at #4C19 in Pittsburgh

1:30 – 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, 3/13, at Contemporary Craft


HASHTAGS: #4C19 & #AW02

This year’s workshop is again venturing out into our host city! We are very proud to be teaming up with Dr. Melissa Rogers, a local educator and artist who works with Pittsburgh arts organizations and nonprofits, and the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse (PCCR) at Contemporary Craft, located about a mile from the conference enter:

This dynamic off-site experience will engage with quirky recycled materials provided by PCCR as we collaborate on an unbridled, multimodal, and public project addressing some of the inequalities perpetuated by the neoliberalization of the arts and humanities in Pittsburgh and beyond.

We will begin by exploring the current exhibit at Contemporary Craft (which is based on found materials), hear about the important work these organizations do in Pittsburgh, conceive and develop our project (guided by this zine), and (hopefully, if you’re so inclined) continue the conversation afterward at our reserved table at Smallman Galley, one of two DIY food incubators in Pittsburgh. It promises to be a memorable afternoon!

And whether or not you can swing the workshop, please plan to join us at the first Handcrafted Rhetorics SIG meeting on Thursday evening from 6:30-7:30pm!


Handcrafted Rhetorics at #4C18 in Kansas City

This year Handcrafted Rhetorics is being held off-site as a Wednesday afternoon workshop (#AW.10). From 1:30-5 on Wednesday afternoon, March 14, we’ll be at Print League, a community print shop located in the heart of Kansas City. Registrants can find out about Print League and their mission from their homepage, and even more from their original Kickstarter campaign from last year, which includes a wonderful video featuring co-founders Ani, Michelle, and Angie.


Crash course in bot construction

In the Guts of Your DIY Publication portion of the workshop, I mentioned that you could create a simple Twitter Bot to help you get information about your publication out into the world. Here’s how to set one up. It takes a tiny bit of reading, editing, and executing a well-commented Python script.

First, follow these directions by @robincamille to chunk your text and to set up a new twitter account and connect with the API. Then use her script to configure your bot. You can adjust the length of time between tweets by changing the 3600 in time.sleep(3600) # Sleep for 1 hour proportionally (7200 for 2 hours, 900 for 15 minutes).

Robin’s @MechanicalPoe bot (on which is what I based @ReallySystemBot) sources its tweets from a Project Gutenberg text, but you could just as easily create a file of tweet-length messages promoting articles, mentioning authors, sending out your call (though, each tweet needs to be unique; Twitter won’t allow you to tweet the same thing over and over again).

If you are not an administrator on your computer, you might have issues installing some of the python packages (automatically) that you’ll need. You can use a virtual environment to install the necessary modules and get things going. Details on that here.

Robin’s script above expects to run continuously, so executing it on a computer that is always one and connected to the internet is optimal. As she notes, you could adjust this script to run as a cron job if you have server space, but that is a little more involved (and depends on your set-up, of course).

Getting ready for Tampa

We — Frank, Jason, Martha, Chelsea, Kristi, and Patrick — are looking forward to seeing everyone at the workshop on Wednesday! And we’re *very* excited to announce that we’ll be joined by some people from the Tampa Zine Fest and Tampa Free Skool.

The workshop includes time to try three kinds of DIY projects: we’ll have tables set up where you can learn to make webpages, crocheted yarnbombing squares, buttons, zines, networks, and ledger art. We’ll have supplies on hand (except laptops — if you want to do <html>, please bring your laptop!), but feel free to bring any supplies you have on hand and want to use (or share!).

Hello 4C15!

We’re excited to see so many people already signed up for the workshop — but if you haven’t yet registered, don’t worry! There’s still room 🙂

See you in Tampa!


(Thanks to Flickr user Dennis Church for sharing this picture of a Orinoco Crocodile at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, FL, via Creative Commons)