Jane began by stressing the inclusive definition of makers used by Pueblo Makes, from crafters to large manufacturers. Nick Gonzales is a maker and founder of the local company Tankmatez. Zach introduced Nick by saying Nick has started his own business and hired local people with his new and innovative fish trap. The business is located in Watertower Place.
Nick said he grew up building things and being an entrepreneur. He learned in the shops and businesses of his father and grandfather that if you need something, you make it. He started by pulling cars apart for his father’s salvage yard; he didn’t realize at the time how much he was learning. He loves being productive.
Nick had a successful career as a behavioral therapist with adolescents, working for the state of Colorado. He loved doing that and invented a tool to remove tattoos to help people who have changed their lives but still have visible tattoos. He showed this device on season 4 of Shark Tank. He spent two years preparing for the show and appearing on it helped him become more trusting and helped him learn to share his ideas. Not everyone is trying to steal ideas. Because of technical difficulties during taping, he got to just hang out with the sharks for about 45 minutes and he got a lot of good advice. He retired from the state to appear on the show since he couldn’t get the time off to do the show. His device was the #1 tattoo device for five years and was used by Soul Survivors Ink to remove tattoos from people with tattoos from being sex trafficked.
He also had a successful arcade business with arcades in CO, WY, and FL, but he lost everything almost overnight because of COVID. With his drop in income, he turned his passion for aquariums into a business. Since tank maintenance, especially cleaning, is the most performed tasks by owners, he invented a device to clean tanks, using magnetism.
He realized that what the aquarium industry really needs is a fish trap. Tank owners need to remove a fish for many reasons (including behavior and sickness) and the only two options were to use a net or to lower the level of water, both of which can cause high stress in the fish and can damage the tank. He invented a bubble trap using a clear acrylic globe with a piece of foam. He made a video and put it online and went viral with 60,000 views in four hours. The product has been very successful and people really like it since it solves a big problem for tank owners. The ratings are rarely under five stars, and when they are, he investigates and contacts the customer. There are many videos of the traps online since users post them a lot.
He has worked with various companies and engineers (and with Brett Raymer of the show Tanked) to move toward mass manufacturing, but the traps are currently still handmade and he can’t meet the demand for his products. COVID-caused supply chain disruptions are a problem.
He was going to move to Dallas, but Ryan McWilliams persuaded him to stay in Pueblo and locate in Watertower Place. He is very glad he did and has plans to create a large-scale coral terrestrial farm in the basement level there. He is working with CSU-Pueblo professors to create an advanced curriculum for tank maintenance and to do experiments on coral to create methods to help the corals survive global warming. They are also testing the water from the four wells at Watertower Place and hoping that it will turn out to be low deuterium water, which is in high demand and which could be used in experiments in growing coral. There will be a solar operation on the roof and a water-cooled Bitcoin operation at Watertower Place.
He is working on new products that will help fish owners engage with the fish and train them. Fish have personalities and interaction helps the person see the behaviors. While others say you shouldn’t play with your fish, Nick asks “why not?” He is also working on products to clean tanks.
In all of his businesses he has stressed being a disrupter, that is, to do things separate from what others are doing. He tries to be the dumbest person in the room so he can learn from others. He wants to solve problems by doing something so different that people have no other option but to buy from him.
He has tried to hire only disabled, including his shop manager, who has been with him for over five years. However, his efforts to work with PDI were not successful because his work changes too much day-to-day, instead of being a consistent task.
Nick is looking for glass blowers, glass artists, and wood workers to push the envelope in tanks. These objects could become part of tank. Others say “You can’t have that in your tank” but customers want variety.
Jane announced that Pueblo Makes will honor LaDoris Burton in the library’s 2022 Outstanding Women presentations. She shared this biography of LaDoris:
Drew reported on the STEM fairs at PSAS. Posters and judging will be at CSU-Pueblo with open house on 24 Feb.
Software developers Zachary Collier and Jared Horvat spoke on the work they have done on cryptography.
Zach started by noting that the work he was describing was inspired by Pueblo Makes and the need to protect makers from people who copy the work of others. Their company is cyphr.me. He gave two caveats. First, he stressed that this was not a sales pitch. The product, stickers to place on your products, is free for all Pueblo residents and will be forever. Second, he gave an alpha disclaimer; the product is still heavily under development; “we work on it every day.”
A June 23, 2019, article in the New York Times described the huge number of counterfeit products for sale on Amazon. Knockoffs can appear within a week and may be indistinguishable for potential buyers. Zach pointed out that some products will have mixed reviews, with some saying the product is wonderful and others saying that it doesn’t work as advertised, and the explanation can be that some bought a counterfeit product without realizing it. The cost to the US economy is in the billions, with very little of the counterfeit products detected and seized.
Some manufacturers add serial numbers, but the unscrupulous can simply take one serial number and put it on all their products. Other gimmicks, such as special tags, medallions, and holographic code can also be copied. The producer of Puff Bar vaping products has a 20-minute video on YouTube describing how to be sure you are purchasing an authentic product: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qW76Dwy19zM. Counterfeit products can harm your brand, can harm the health of your customer, and can hurt the environment. The counterfeiter may, for example, allow contaminants in food products because they don’t care.
Zach said the answer is cryptography, which is based in math, physics, and the cosmos. It is natural to the natural world. Their product is a sticker with a unique code for that particular item; it is not just a code for that product line, but rather for that particular item. When scanned it takes you to a web page that you have created, that verifies the product is legitimate. ACs (Anti-Counterfeits) are cryptographically signed, impossible to guess, signed by the manufacturer, track products through supply chains, easy to scan by users, and defeat counterfeits.
A counterfeiter can rip off the label one time, but a company can combine the use of the stickers with the gathering of metrics to detect counterfeits. For example, a code that is scanned 14 times, but the code is inside the product, indicates that someone has counterfeited the product. Users have incentives to report suspicious data, thus enabling crowd sourcing of the detection of counterfeiters.
Zach said he wouldn’t talk today about how cryptography works, but the code embeds a signature that can be verified. Zach and Jared submitted a patent application in February 2021 for their product.
The skills need to be a successful software developer include: learning to learn, writing good code, knowing algorithms, testing, operations, documentation (reading/writing), new technologies, good at googling.
Zach and Jared work together on zoom all day, sharing views of their code, websites, and output as the program runs. They use the website Trello to keep track of tasks, with lists of tasks for each person and for projects.
Zach showed some of the items Jared has made and their use of stickers in amusing ways, especially on gifts. The recipient can scan the sticker and see the person’s message on the linked web page. Jared makes wine and pickled jalapenos. He is also making the furniture for the new food court at Fuel & Iron (in the old Holmes Hardware Building). Jane reminded the group that the connection for the furniture was made through Pueblo Makes. Zach scanned the sticker on the wine and showed us the linked page:
Zach is putting stickers on lots of items: his water bottle, his coffee mug, etc. If the item is lost, Zach hopes the finder will scan the sticker, and be able to find out who owns the item to return it. They are working with TankMatez, who make bubble fish traps. That company is worried about knock offs so intend to use the cyphr.me stickers.
Zach explained that the code has so many variations that a code can be generated for every atom in the solar system, and almost for all the atoms in the observable university.
The group discussed various uses, by businesses, for fun, and to verify that a student received a stated certificate. The information on the page linked to the code can contain up to 1 meg of data. A sticker could be used for a product line with a main landing page, but then with, say, 30,000 stickers tied to the line. The manufacturer might have a sticker and the retailer might add one too.
Zach said that working with Jared all day in zoom is more efficient than working together in person. “I can pop into his code.” Drew asked if Zach would talk to the students at PSAS about the skills needed to code and Zach agreed to do so. Drew said the students will be coding their own video games.
Zach said he has been working on cryptography for 12 years and his goal is to build tools to make it easier to use. He said that cryptography could be used to verify that a tweet or reddit post was actually done by the person listed on the item. Instead of having to trust twitter, you can verify that that person did it.
We next heard announcements from attendees.
Ryan Yanke said that he had recently retired from social services, after having 70 jobs since he was 12. He is now focusing on being an artist and decided that he can help a lot of people in the community by using art as a vehicle to help students develop social emotional understanding of themselves. He has successfully worked with groups and with individuals. Starting in February, he and his wife Constance are offering art classes at space in the RMSER building, formerly the John Neumann School, at 330 Lake Avenue. See www.Acesexpression.com (still under construction). He is recruiting other artists to teach there too, after they are trained on equity, inclusion, and diversity as well as trauma informed teaching. The building offers other services including a stage, commercial kitchen, and auditorium, which they will be able to use. Ryan can be contacted at 719-299-8922, email@example.com
Drew announced that the 5th year of the STEM fair at PSAS will be virtual (this decision was just made) and he is looking for judges. You can sign up at https://forms.gle/PUhmrSJPUajwZheY8. Students were asked to find solutions to problems and to evaluate them based on the three pillars of sustainability. Judges will get access to an online folder and a rubric with the items to be judged. The judging must be completed by 31 Jan. Meral Sarper will contact volunteers. PSAS encourages students to be inventive and creative. Drew can be reached at 303-905-9067.
Bahaa announced that the technology building at CSU-Pueblo will be renovated, using $17 million from the state, so the Department of Engineering will be moving out of the building for a while. In spring 2023, he will have to teach manufacturing without access to the machine shop or foundry, so is struggling with how to do give students the hands-on experience during that semester. He is continuing to mentor students in the Discovery Scholars program on using AI in the detection of forest fires from satellite images
Lois said her woodturner pieces are available for purchase at pieces at Books Again; she appreciates the opportunity to have her pieces there and appreciates the people who purchase her items.
For this meeting, as we did last year in December, people were invited to make something, then join the zoom meeting, and show us what they had made.
Jane started the meeting by showing us bags she had made from some leftover bedspread material from some friends, material that might otherwise have been thrown out. We got into a good discussion of using recycled materials, such as leftover vinyl from billboards, recycled feed bags (for sale at Museum of Friends in Walsenburg), FabScrap online, Creative Reuse of Pueblo, Who Gives a Scrap in Colorado Springs, etc.
Jane also opened a package given to her by Emily which turned out to be a three-layer wooden plaque of the Pueblo Makes logo, made by Emily. Beautiful!
Jean Flynn Ray showed us the 2022 Human Relations Commission calendar and described how it had evolved. They started with Hope or Esperanza as the theme, but also opened it up to other topics. The art teacher at Chavez Huerta schools had students work on the theme and sent in several pieces. Ideas represented included hope springing from the ground in April and a photo of a dandelion. Every submission was used, some for a specific month and some as part of collage. Pieces were submitted from students at all levels: elementary, middle, high, and college. The Pueblo Libraries has given 600 copies of the calendar to the branches, available to the public for free. Jean has some left and she can deliver them. Jean also said they learned a lot about how to get submissions and how to design a calendar. The calendars were printed by Schuster Printer who did fantastic job.
In a big reveal, Emily announced the new location for TickTock and gave a video tour: Emily, Jane, and Samantha now own the complex that formerly was the Grand Prix restaurant on E Mesa, east of the Do Drop in on Santa Fe. It includes a restaurant with historic bar, event hall, commercial kitchen, bakery, pool hall and more. One basement seems to have been used to make bootleg wine during prohibition. Jane complimented the previous owners, Mark Acosta and his father Adrian Acosta, for having served as excellent stewards of this historic site. The building needs some improvements and the opening will be some time in 2022. Sam announced that the location will operate as The Ethos, to encapsulate now and the future. Programs are being developed but will include spaces for makers and artists, classes, and more. Anyone interested in in teaching classes, please contact Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Zach, who is a software developer, said that he often develops his own tools to use in his work. He showed us an example, a web page that converts numbers from one base to another. You may remember that we use base 10, but, for example, base 2 gives us binary code. Different bases are used in different applications and in different cultures. The tool he created is available as open source, meaning anyone can use it, and can also copy the code and then adapt it to other uses. Zach said that everyone thought the Internet would end up being owned by big corporations, but software developers have a culture of making and sharing tools. Zach showed us that with a larger base (for example 10 is larger than 2) a specific number (usually) takes fewer digits to be represented. For example, 23 in base 10 is 10111 in base 2; 2 digits are needed in base 10, but 5 digits in base 2. Bill complimented Zach on the elegant tool.
Sharon, the maker librarian at Pueblo libraries, showed us what she does as an artist. From boredom during COVID, she taught herself to do watercolor painting and showed us an example. She used the new vinyl cutter for the makerspace in Rawlings Library to make a patch that she applied on a jacket. She invited us to send her a png file that she will cut on the vinyl cutter. Emily is also a fiber artist and showed us a blanket she completed this year and a baby sweater she made.
Maria (co-director of the Museum of Friends in Walsenburg) demonstrated how to prepare baccalà (salt cured cod) in her kitchen. She bought it from Gagliano’s Italian food market in Pueblo, a place she recommended as “the real thing.” She covered it with water in a glass pan and will leave it there for three days, changing the water each day. She cut the fish into portions using scissors, leading to another interesting discussion of tools (Sam uses scissors to cut pizza). Once the fish is completely hydrated, Maria will dredge it in flour and fry it.
Jessica teaches art classes, currently at Walters on the second Saturday of each month, including a method of doodling.
Cathy showed us some fused glass pieces she made at Lane’s House of Glass at 111 Colorado in Pueblo. She described the different techniques she used for each piece. The red bowl was made by dripping melted glass. Glass is heated in a kiln. The technique requires knowing the rate at which each type of glass cools and similar types are used to prevent the object from breaking apart as it cools. The woven tray required making strips of glass that were made wavy by being laid over a corrugated mold. The cat can stand up since its legs are angled; several people said it reminded them of the work of Laurel Burch. The cat is one of several animal objects Cathy has made. We discussed the importance of designing a piece before starting to make it.
We had an inventive and fruitful discussion of the question: How can Pueblo makers make money?
The announcement for the meeting said:
We have had brainstorming sessions before, with helpful results, on the needs of Pueblo creatives, artists, and makers. Based on discussions with the Pueblo Arts Alliance (Karen Foglesong), the Pueblo Library (Sharon Rice), and TickTock (Emily Gradisar), I will lead a discussion based on these questions, which focus on selling, not on making. If you can’t attend, I welcome your input via email reply.
What types of events bring you good sales? Holiday bazaars, summer community events, the Pueblo Chile Festival, etc? How do you find out about events? What types of events does Pueblo need more of? How much do you pay to participate in such events?
Where do you physically have your items for sale? In local stores or other venues? What places work well for you?
What are the benefits and drawbacks of physical sales versus online sales? Do you aim to sell in Pueblo or nationally?
How do you maintain contact with your previous customers? Email, Facebook, Instagram?
How do you use social media promotion? Sam says nerdforge does this really well.
Eugene Watson of Watson Woodwooks said he advertises with Etsy (https://www.etsy.com/shop/watswood/), although Etsy hastaken away a lot of control. You can pick which products to advertise and they automatically do the advertising. Google almost gives you too much control, so that you need to hire someone to handle it.
Online platforms and opportunities that Pueblo makers and artists can use:
Supporting Pueblo: https://supportingpueblo.com/ Sell on Supporting Pueblo: https://supportingpueblo.com/sell/ . The Supporting Pueblo shop was created by the City, County, and Chambers during the pandemic and is now run by the Latino Chamber. Monique said the Pueblo Food Project used it for their online pantry. The platform is free and takes no cut of the income, but none of us were sure if it is still active.
The Pueblo Arts Alliance will have a show in November in the Liminal Space gallery at the Arts Alliance for small works; entries will be accepted Nov 1 and 2, and the show will open 5th, 5-7 pm. The show runs through Nov 28.
Zach and Jane will work on improving the Pueblo Makes page. Jane will update the calendar. Zach updated the page with other links during the meeting.
Kayci said that library meeting rooms are used for some little bazaars and are free, but COVID-19 restrictions limit the number of people who can be in the room and the Library won’t promote the event. The meeting rooms are free to book. Rawlings is being remodeled, but the branch libraries have such meeting rooms available.
We agreed that the most successful Pueblo artists and makers are selling outside of Pueblo.
We discussed selling items at in person events, such as craft bazaars. The consensus was that COVID-19 will again prevent there being many events this year. Russ, for example, said the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center is not doing their event this year. Karen said she hasn’t seen any notice for the one usually at the State Fairgrounds. The Chieftain has run, in the past, a big list of all the events, but we don’t know if they will do that. Someone said there has been no notice of the usual bazaar by the Pueblo West Women’s group either. Emily said that Corwin Middle School will be holding a crafts fair.
Jane mentioned that she had seen Lois’s wood items displayed at Books Again, the used bookstore just down the hill from the Rawlings Library. Lois said that the glass display case contains some of her turned items; the bookstore gets half the revenue. She said she uses her other turnings for gifts and raffles but the store gives her a little outlet.
We had a long and very positive discussion of the possibility of creating an annual festival, focused on the work of creatives, artists, and makers in Pueblo. Such an event should attract people from outside Pueblo to come here specifically to shop. Kacie said there were some vendors at the multicultural festival, but we don’t know how well they did in sales. Karen said that people who attend the Chile & Frijoles festival seem focused on chile, beer, and bands; the Arts Alliance made very few sales at that event. Emily described some of the ideas the Pueblo Makes group has looked at, such as a lost arts festival in Australia and some successful festivals in Pittsburgh. Emily described a possible week-long event, with opportunities to buy, to take classes, and to make. The group was very enthusiastic about following up on the idea of an annual event.
I-25 is promoted as an art corridor from Denver to Santa Fe – how do we get people to stop off in Pueblo? Lois emphasized the importance of having road signs to direct people to events, the way people point towards houses for sale. Karen said that Jeff Madeen rented a billboard north of town to direct people to BloBack Gallery; he said that no one who came in while the billboard was active said they came in because they saw it. If that billboard would have worked, groups could have pooled money.
Karen volunteered to approach her contact at the Chamber of Commerce to see if they would be interested, since they developed the Chile & Frijoles Festival.
Monique said the Chile & Frijoles Festival does make money for food vendors, but it “Put us in a box.” People pay double the price for chile peppers on Union Avenue, instead of going out on the mesa and buying from farmers. She mentioned the concept of Brooklyn Fleas (https://brooklynflea.com/), a series of outdoor markets throughout Brooklyn. She also pointed to Chelsea Market, also in New York (https://www.chelseamarket.com/).
We discussed small footprint cheap spaces for makers (e.g. 6 by 4 foot table) in a store, perhaps at the Pueblo mall. We have all this diversity of offerings: can we get them in one place at one time, keep the lights on, and get people used to buying local? Convert the people shopping at the Hot Topic store at the mall to buying from a local designer? The underground already knows that we have creatives but sometimes even our own neighbors don’t know about us.
Karen volunteered to call the mall. Would they donate space? But who would staff it? Monique said the mall is the place where Puebloans go to hand out and spend money. Perhaps we could have a cart right in front of Hot Topic. Maybe the mall would donate a space for 6 weeks during the shopping frenzy of the November/December holiday season. Kacie, who teaches art in Rye, said high schoolers might volunteer to staff the booth since they are looking for internships and want to show off their own work.
Karen reminded the group of Artists’ Sunday, in the lineup after Thanksgiving: Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Artists Sunday, Cyber Monday. See https://artistssunday.com/ to download and use their advertising material. Karen stressed that the items from people in Pueblo Makes qualify in her mind as art.
We recognized the need to educate local people about the great items that are available from creatives, artists, and makers in Pueblo. The Arts Alliance web page is taking on that message. You can send Karen a photo of some work, with a bio, and the page will feature you. Educating the public as key component of turning around the public in Pueblo. Monique said the same in food space and even more true for specific unique products. People were shocked when we were distributing local broccoli.
She mentioned the recent meme: the work of local artists is not sitting in cargo ships. Here is an example from Facebook:
We lamented the proliferation of calendars. Can we make the calendars all one, but shared on many sites? A calendar committee was formed: Zach, Jessica, Jane, Karen.
We turned to announcements.
Eugene Watson said that he is looking for help, someone, for example, to do some sanding, detail work with the router, or finishing, as examples. He has more work than he can handle. The position would be part time (up to 20 hours per week) and paid. The person would need some woodworking experience. Kacie said she might have some students. Contact Eugene at email@example.com.
Monique announced the Food Entrepreneur Development Program starting in January 2022; see https://drive.google.com/file/d/1NjyxrjQYnW2FKUnS4fmvHkrE2WuSWfdt/view?usp=sharing. The 15-week curriculum is targeted at entrepreneurs making food products. There will be an incentive after the completion of each module. For example, after completing the finance module, the person will get a Quickbooks subscription plus 2 hours consulting. They want about 10 people for the first class and will cover tuition for this inaugural class.
Monique also reminded us that registration is open for the Sun Soil Water Summit to be held November 12-14 at Pueblo Community College, including a pitch competition Friday. She is looking for four beautiful objects to use as awards, instead of plaques; they should be food related and from a local artist. The awards are farmer of year, business of the year, coalition member of year, and advocate of the year. $10 registration, but scholarships are available. See https://pueblofoodproject.org/sunsoilwater/
Gregory had sent this information before the meeting: “With the recent launch of Pueblo Star Journal, Kadoya Gallery and Blo Back Gallery will be launching PuebloPop which will be an online destination directory of events for artists, creatives, makers and entrepreneurs. This new place will be an extension of the Pueblo Star Journal. I can explain more at a later date, but wanted you to know about our launch as people ask me everyday where they can find out about events. The events site is currently in final development with design ‘pop’ and a lot of fun. We are event integrating an SMS alert system which you can opt in and be reminded of a particular event before it takes place.”
Jane said there will be an open house at the CSU-Pueblo Department of Engineering, in the Technology building Saturday, October 23, 9:30 – 12:00 PM.
Sharon updated us on progress at the Rawlings Library. The new makerspace, located on the first floor, will be about 5000 square feet, about 9 times the size of the old space. Deconstruction has been underway and the first floor now has nothing except temporary walls. Sharon has been meeting with the building director about fixtures for the new space; the space will have dropdown electrical connections, storage, concrete floors, and butcher block tables. It’s not clear yet what equipment will be there. While the space will be finished in January or February, it will be used as a staging area for parts of the collection while construction proceeds on the second floor, so Sharon probably won’t be in the space until March or April. There will be online training on 3D printing, vinyl cutting, etc., and once trained you can work on your own. Sharon is currently having classes at other branch libraries. Gregory offered the Innovation Hub at Watertower Place.
Karen gave us an update and virtual tour of the Arts Alliance. Almost every area of their buildings is in some form of deconstruction with tenants moving in or out and stuff spread out. Karen started in her office where a volunteer is working on a new filing system. She showed us the autoclave studio, which Christine has filled to the roof. Karen recommended the bobble head class; see photo below.
She showed us the kiln, photography studio, and several galleries. Cynthia Ramu is working on installations for Dia de los Muertos. In the Liminal Space gallery, artists can rent wall space, or be a part of a show. The most recent show was for Pride Month and the next is for the Chile Fest. Karen is creating a memorial gallery for art that is given to the Alliance from estates. CROP (Creative Reuse of Pueblo) accepts gently used supplies and sells them at very reasonable prices.
Upstairs are 20 studios for about 27 artists. We could hear music from a class. The grounds include edible gardens. One artist does caricatures; another holds dance classes. Many activities involve children, including big graffiti walls, stencils created by children, and chalk art. There will be a father / daughter show for October. The Alliance buildings will be open during the Chile & Frijole Fest, 5-7 pm on Friday evening, and 10am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Derrick, who used to be the maker librarian at Rawlings, still lives in Colorado, but now works as an innovative media specialist at the University of Wyoming in Studio Coe, which has creative software and training. Other makerspaces at the University include an easy-to-use recording studio, a student innovation center (run by Jane Crayton who used to live in Pueblo), an engineering WYrkspace, and a makerspace in the library.
On behalf of the Pueblo Human Relations Commission, Gloria told us about the student art contest for art to be used on a calendar. Open to students in categories from elementary through college, the theme is “Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope,” in conjunction with National Hispanic Heritage Month. The deadline for submissions is 8 October. See the attachment below for more information or email Pueblohrc15@gmail.com.
Gregory announced that there are three talks remaining in The Dig (https://www.facebook.com/thedigspeakeasy). 22 September, Rosina Sonntag on The Ghost Walk; 6 October, Gregory on Marian and Della Nuckols (a film is in the works); and the last (of 15), Regan Foster, CSU-Pueblo professor of journalism who will speak on News as a Community Asset. The recordings are being used in classrooms and The Dig Volume 1 will be a book with transcripts of all the presentations. Gregory is already working on story tellers for next year when he plans to take The Dig on the road into different neighborhoods in Pueblo. Also, on 17 November at Union Depot, Gregory will speak on Tunnels, Brothers, and Bars, Oh, My. $5 for members, $10 for nonmembers.
Jane announced information on two groups:
The contact person for Pueblo Write Now is Ledema Renfrow at 544-7918. The group meets the 1st and 3rd Thursdays. “We are meeting for this year at Giodone Library because of the remodeling at Rawlings. We have essayists, poets, and people who write children’s and adult novels.”
Pueblo Poetry Project 4th Wednesday reading, September 22, 7 p.m., Steel City Art Works, 216 S. Union Ave. “Join us. Open mic every month.”
Russ reported that the 11 members of Woodturners participated in a hands-on event during the first weekend of the State Fair, 1st weekend. They did turning for kids and parents. They meet the second Wednesday of every month at IBEW.
Bahaa reported on a new program at CSU-Pueblo, the Discovery Scholars Program, in which new students engage with research work as early as possible. He has 5 engineering students working on a project in artificial intelligence (AI), including the concept, applications, and ethics. He said they are having good discussion and gaining understanding. Gregory complimented him for including ethics in the discussion of AI. The group discussed how AI can integrate with making and with art. Karen suggested that the Liminal Space gallery could host show about beauty of the programs and other art forms also. Using AI explores ideas of what art is and highlights where art and science intersect. Gregory suggested the area of Augmented Reality.
Jason updated us on the FAME (Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education, https://www.pueblocc.edu/FAME) chapter; there are 14 students in the program, all placed with industry partners. He hopes to have 2 or 3 more partners next year and they are already recruiting students for fall 2022. They are also restructuring the machining program. They plan to have a program in Automotive Precision Manufacturing within a year.
The Goodnight Barn will have a Fall Open House, Sunday, 10 October, 11 am to 3 pm, with authentic chuckwagon display, longhorn steers, pumpkins, music, barn photo booth, and tours. The event is free. See https://www.facebook.com/goodnightbarn.
Ina reported that the Artisan Textile Company will have a tapestry show now for the month of October.
Artist in October. The 4th annual fashion show, on 17 October, will be virtual again. Everything is handmade by a local artist. The ATC emphasis is on traditional fiber arts but has lots of other items. See https://www.facebook.com/ArtisanTextileCo.
15 October is the deadline for this round of grants for individual and companies for Colorado Creative Industries Grants from OEDIT (Office of Economic Development & International Trade. See https://oedit.colorado.gov/colorado-creative-industries. “Creative” can be anything. Cap base don revenues. Gregory said the requirements are very simple and he offered to help.
Cynthia Ramu of the Pueblo Arts Alliance updated us on the levee murals. After reconstruction of the levees, it has taken three years to regroup and build a process to repaint murals, all with zero funding. The first new mural was painted in October 2020. Of the 52 applications so far (see http://www.pueblolevee.org/call-for-artists-for-pueblo-levee-mural-project/ for the application), over 35 have been approved. Applications are accepted every month, reviewed by a committee of artists and curators, checked against the guidelines, and then decided on by the Pueblo Conservancy District, so a proposal can be accepted quickly. Some money is available for assistance, paint can be bought at cost, and some murals are sponsored. The current goal is to connect all murals west of the 4th street bridge and reclaim the title of the longest mural in the US. Some portions from 4th to Main are being held for historic murals of landmarks, famous events, or famous people of Southern Colorado, and that section needs to cure until March 2022. Other projects underway include documenting the project through photographs, interviews, films, and more. A museum could be created.
The group discussed having Pueblo Makes create a mural as a group project to showcase the variety of making, including creativity and art forms that aren’t about painting, a mural about maker culture. The guidelines restrict the type of paint that can be used and also state that any text can only be in lower right corner, in an area 5 foot by 8 foot. Cynthia is very open to new ideas. The trick is not making it a billboard; make it interesting.
Cynthia also described her work with Impact Youth through the Pueblo Arts Alliance. The youth are working with Eric McCue to design bicycle racks and skateboard racks. The kids are on fire.
Gregory showed us funding opportunities from OEDIT (see http://5672311.hs-sites.com/colorados-economic-recovery-programs and encouraged everyone to look at each of these. Some are for startups, some are for ongoing businesses. If you have questions, reach out to Gregory (firstname.lastname@example.org) or to the program manager listed on the relevant page. Gregory has been on the council since March 2020 that has been advising OEDIT. This is a huge opportunity.
Tom described that the Human Relations Commission is holding a calendar contest for students, with four age groups and a focus on Hispanic Heritage with the themes diversity, integrity, and honor. There will be two winners from each age group. Students must live in Pueblo city or county. The HRC is looking for sponsors so they can print about 1500 calendars, and distribute them for free in November.
Susan Finzel couldn’t attend but sent an update: “Our IFIZ team will be videotaping individual aquaponics lessons all day 8/17 with a pro videographer. The videos will be edited and used by BGC members to access for the fall NASA grant. We are getting prepped for possible pivots due to COVID and school changes… I will be zooming with IFIZ cohorts in Fremont and El Paso County clubhouses T/TH afternoons through the fall.”
Russ couldn’t attend but sent an update: “the Pueblo Wood Turners will be at the State Fair on Saturday and Sunday, August 28 and 29. We will be turning tops and other small spindle work for kids and parents as well as showing off some of the other items we produce such as pet urns, bowls, platters and other custom and unique wood art. We always look forward to visiting with the fair-goers that stop by to chat and ask questions.”
Sharon couldn’t attend but reminded us of IdeaCon this Saturday: “Grome Park 11-5pm and we’re going to have all kinds of fun. SCA (society for creative anachronism) will be there with craft demos and fighting, the mermaids will be there, there will be a cosplay contest, over 20 small business vendors (mostly crafting), mural painting, and food trucks!!!! Everyone should come on out. It’s gonna be hot, but fun.” Jane will have a table for Pueblo Makes
Tom said that he has a community table at the Farmers Market on Friday and welcomes flyers for any community events.
Jane said she welcomes suggestions for speakers and topics for future Pueblo Makes meetings. Karen will speak about the Arts Alliance at the September meeting. Nick from TankMatez will speak at a future meeting. Jane also plans to invite Dave Hartkopf from Solar Roast to speak about all his making.
Zach will invite TankMatez to speak at the August meeting. Karen will speak about the Arts Alliance at the September meeting.
Cathy reported that Tuxedo Ranch has been busy, for example, doing mugs for Fuel & Iron, working with the Pueblo Food Project, and working with CSU-Pueblo. Ana Luz had invited Jessica who is a mental health professional and artist in many media, including pour painting.
Russ reported that he gave Tracy Samora at the CSU-Pueblo Alumni office two names of woodworkers who might help her out with her project. Jane said that a third person had responded to her and she passed that name along to Tracy also.
Jane is working on updating the community maker calendar at pueblomakes.com
Micah Espinoza introduced himself as the new Director of Community Engagement at Pueblo Diversified Industries (PID) and Project Impact Cooperative (PIC), taking over because Susan wanted to be in a part-time role. He joined PDI a month ago. He has a bachelors in health care management and masters in organizational leadership. While he grew up in Rye, he lived in Utah most of his life. On a consulting trip to Pueblo, he met David Pump, who invited him to join PDI.
PDI has existed for 54 years, started by parents of special needs children and adults. The facility on the south side is about 5.5 acres with five separate buildings. Currently they offer services to about 160 individuals. Pre COVID the number was closer to 200 and they are getting back up to full capacity. On one of Micah’s early days at PDI, the fire department set up an obstacle course, which was the first time everyone had been together since before COVID; it was emotional and exciting.
PDI has a big focus on community integration. Before PDI, the model had been to separate people with special needs, which took them out of the community and deprived all parties of important connections. COVID let us all feel what that isolation was like. PDI offers everyone a chance to integrate into the community.
Project: Inspire Cooperative (PIC) is a separate entity but housed on the same campus. Artisans at PIC create, display, and sell artwork. PDI keeps a portion. PIC gives artisans exposure and an opportunity to sell. Artists are also encouraged to teach classes. PIC incorporated in December 2019 and a few months later COVID hit so they had to cancel classes, but PIC is ready to start classes again. The artists include jewelers, painters, and more. There are two kilns on site. The cooperative structure is important. People operate as apprentices or specialists while learning how to produce the artwork and earning a percentage. A specialist can create replicate the art start to finish on his or her own.
The Southern Colorado Youth Development also has office space. The use dirt bikes to teach life skills, such as how to take care of things. They give youth positive adult role models.
ActivArmor just joined.; they make 3D printed casts and will now produce at the PDI campus. This gives people served more opportunities for job exploration and to be part of community. Micah invited everyone out for tour. The most frequent comment he hears is: I had no idea.
Karen recommended the tour, even if you think you know what is going on.
Russ said (in the chat box) “The PDI concept is really a wonderful opportunity for ‘special needs’ individuals. My sister-in-law lives with us since her mom passed away 6 years ago. For a number of years she worked at a similar institution in Cleveland before moving here, and she has so many good memories of her time at Ruby Copy and Mail. She often brings up activities and other clients she interacted with and it was a very important developmental time and opportunity for interaction with others at her same level. A really good experience for a number of years for her.”
Ana Luz asked about space for PIC. Micah said it is located in Building 2 and there are open spaces for artists.
Jane asked about pay scales, which has been a sensitive issue in the past. Micah said the way it was done in the past wasn’t right as we hold our standards today. In past, workers were paid a subminimum wage. We fought to get rid of that legislation which will go away by the end of the year. People are paid a piece rate.
Karen said she was impressed by the special devices designed to help people do their jobs well. Micah and Karen described some such devices used to punch key chains, assemble a sewing kit, etc. Jane said such devices are part of industrial engineering, helping people do their jobs well.
Micah said that the director, David Pump, has institutionalized a lot of ideas to make the place warm and friendly; for example, a mural is being painted. Again, Micah said: PDI, You Have No Idea. This past Saturday they had an event with dinner, live auction drinks, and a couple of hundred people. Ladoris described apprentices and specialists working together as one cohesive unit during the event. Another event will take place on the 29th. There will be a harvest Fest October 9 on the Riverwalk. Vendor spaces are available for $25. .
In response to a question from Paula, Micah said anyone who wants to learn is welcome in PIC; we ask them to join the cooperative for a $10 fee. The PDI website has a call for artists. Ladoris and Micah talked about the positive, emotional impact PDI and PIC have on the clients and on others, including themselves. Ladoris said it is so uplifting to be in that environment.
Micah said the majority of the support is grant funding, also contracts and events. He also talked about how clients need to sign up in different ways, depending on their age, abilities, living environment, and more. PDI is trying to educate the community about how to get funded.
Jim said that PDI is an unrecognized gem in our community that needs more engagement and more appreciation. The group discussed groups that Micah can reach out to for possible collaborations: the Pueblo Food Project, Share and Care, the Boys & Girls Clubs, Casa, and more.
Jane reminded everyone of the speaker series, The Dig, at the Senate Bar each Wednesday evening. She will be speaking 1 September on making.
We discussed having Pueblo Makes meet in person and suggested taking a survey. The group favored a hybrid style of meeting.
Pueblo Makes supports all makers in Pueblo. We meet 3:30-5pm, the third Tuesday of each month, currently by zoom. Next meeting dates are 17 August, 21 September, and 19 October. For more information or to be added to the email list, contact email@example.com
Alice Hill gave us an introduction to iWill, which she founded in 2010 and which became a 501c3 in 2014. While iWill has had the usual ups and downs of nonprofits, last year was a good year, in which iWill received a grant from NASA, with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Pueblo County, to introduce aquaponics to Club members in Pueblo and other locations in southern Colorado (including Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Salida, Alamosa, Blanca, Avondale). Pueblo was only one of seven such grants awarded by NASA and the only one working with aquaponics.
Susan Finzel-Aldred showed us some photos of Club kids working with their kits, in which they grew alfafa and pea sprouts on the top and guppies on the bottom. Each kid got a tank to take home for the summer. NASA wants to find scientists from rural communities and this project is an extremely exciting way to do that. The International Space Station has an aquaponics system and an astronaut from the ISS was on a zoom call with the kids. Other zoom calls involved other NASA scientists. The NASA project will be done in December having involved 150 kids, but talks are underway to see if NASA will continue to fund such activities.
Nate Miller gave us a virtual tour of the iWill aquaponics setup in Campbell’s Greenhouse on North Elizabeth. Longtime members of Pueblo Makes may remember that we toured a previous location in October 2019. We toured virtually today since it was 102 degrees in the greenhouse. Nate described each component, including the wide variety of plants being grown, the LED lights, the siphon and pump systems, all of which Nate designed and built and which take about 70 watts to operate. He emphasized that the bacteria do the work of converting fish waste into usable nitrogen for plants; he called this system a full ecosystem, an organic method of aquaponics. The guppies will soon be replaced by tilapia. The plants being grown include Pueblo chile, lime, marenga tree, vegetables including lettuce, peppers and kale, aloe vera, ficus, and herbs.
The system uses a siphon to create an ebb and flow that forces a gas exchange in the roots.
The lettuce is grown in rafts, with their roots in water:
The signage was created by CSU-Pueblo Presidential leadership student Tezla Neighbours who has joined the project part time as an educational assistant.
Nate grew up helping his mother with fish tanks. He spent 20 years working in restaurants. He went to PCC culinary school. Realizing how broken our food system, he started working on aquaponics to grow food. It is expensive to buy systems, so he built about 11 different types, using parts he finds and parts from hardware stores. He has worked with people at Central High and then joined the iWill project. This is the biggest system he has built.
This project is meant to be a display project, built to look flashy and to let people see the parts; a system for production wouldn’t look as cool. Wow is important for students. They want to look at the fish. This setup will show off technology and also grow some stuff we can harvest.
Elliott asked if anyone can visit the system, and Susan said yes, but urged people to visit in the morning when it is cooler. iWill is planning educational activities, including an open house and a tour, for July and August. In partner with Campbell’s, the educational part will include xeriscaping, how to have a system in the home to grow vegetables year round, health and nutrition, and the connection with sustainability.
Gregory asked if Nate has connected with Nick Gonzales of Tank Matez; they make bubble fish traps and are working on a coral reef. Nate said the technology is similar, but that it is hard to grow plants in salt water. Gregory asked how large a system can be and Nate answered that with the raft system, as big as you want. Susan described systems in Denver in the Elyria Swansea neighborhood and at the Dahlia Center that are growing food for local restaurants, supplying a small grocery store, and providing free food to some local residents.
Alice emphasized the life changing effects on children. A child can grow a little food with their kit, then see the big system, and grow their imagination including what they can do in a career. Susan described how the lesson plans are designed to include social emotional learning components. After this stressful worldwide situation, people need connections and need to improve their mental health. NASA has documented the emotional benefits to astronauts on the ISS from eating fresh crunchy lettuce, not just rehydrated food for 5-6 months; these findings have implications for human space exploration.
Jane described the connections that led to the NASA grant, starting with Professor Jude DePalma, chair of CSU-Pueblo Department of Engineering, forwarding the grant opportunity to her, which she forwarded to Becky Medina of the Boys & Girls Clubs who connected with iWill. Jane stressed the importance of the connections we make.
Lois asked what plants the kids grew besides sprouts. Susan said each kit included seeds for herbs, peas, and lettuce. In the lessons, the kids do experiments on how to use the tank system and different ways to grow plants and fish. The kit is complete, with manual, log, pH test trips, activities, and measuring devices. Also, professional artists were hired to teach kids how to paint with watercolors. Karen applauded STEAM (science, technology, engineering, ART, and mathematics). Jane applauded the collection and analysis of data.
Gregory asked to include iWill in a new Pueblo youth docent training program (for places like Rosemount, etc). The program is being piloted at PSAS with Drew and Meral and has strong elements of leadership training. Nate said that he is already talking with Meral.
Wyatt applauded the funding from NASA and asked about the potential for more funding. Susan said that she meets monthly with the NASA STEM Engagement office and talks are in progress. iWill would like to have an extended grant to provide more tanks to more kids at more Clubs and in the school. NASA has asked the team to present at a conference of all grant winners this fall. Susan said there are many roads we can go on with small tanks, demonstration systems, and school districts. We are trying to find stable funding.
The group thanked the iWill team for their presentation and their great work. Jane thanked Cheryl Anderson, executive director of iWill, for having volunteered the group to present at Pueblo Makes.
In community announcements, Gregory said that the Governor has signed legislation with funding for creative industries. Gregory said that legislator Leslie Harris deserves a lot of credit because she kept going back and saying the funding is not enough. The bill (https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb21-1285) includes $6 million for film production and more for creative industries in general. There is no portal yet for application, but applicants will just need to be 18 years of age and a resident of CO.
Gregory also announced a 15-week contemporary speakeasy called The Dig at the Senate Bar. The dates are every Wednesday, June 30 to Oct 6, 6-6:45, then 15-minute Q&A. Each speaker will be a story teller, including Jane speaking on maker culture. Admission will include beverages and appetizers, with a different featured caterer each time providing dinner at additional cost. The title, The Dig, comes from the tag line of the Star Journal (Dig Deeper), which will be published as a weekly soon.
Karen said that CROP, Creative Reuse of Pueblo has been open since March and is getting steady donations but needs more volunteers. The store is open Tu Th Sat 10 am to 3 pm but will add hours if volunteers will work other hours. Contact Karen at 242-6652 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On August’s First Friday, August 6, the Arts Alliance will have a show around LGBTQ+ and they are looking for art. There will also be a prom and an art project (perhaps a chalk mural).
Lois asked about the plastic being collected and Gregory said that is happening outside BloBack Gallery in a large dumpster with a lid. Karen said that artist Helen Eberhardie Dunn (https://www.helleneberhardie.com/) is using the material, melting it into intriguing tapestries, and she will be doing more in future to keep plastics out of the ocean. Gregory said that a huge sculpture called the Heart that Helen did years ago and that was displayed in Oxford, has now arrived in Pueblo. She is doing repairs and working with Diana Hall of ActivArmor to add shields to the top of the heart. It will be displayed at the State Fair. We discussed what types of plastics Helen is using and we concluded she is collecting and using plastic bags and wrappers.
Gregory said that the new executive director of the State Fair Foundation is doing amazing things.
Lois reported that the Woodturners are meeting face-to-face, will present at the fair, and will do demonstrations (turning tops and Christmas ornaments) during the first week of the fair.
Gregory said that BloBack Gallery recently had a panel on installation art. Installation art is a self-contained environment to experience that you enter into. The idea dates back to the 1930s and grew in the 1960s and 70s.
The group heard presentations from two groups of CSU-Pueblo engineering students (now graduates) and from a student from PSAS.
The first group (Keiffer Butler, Wyatt Farris, Daniel Hoyle-Aguon) described and showed videos of their H.E.R.M.Es Firefighting Drone. Given coordinates for a suspected fire, the drone flies to that location, hovers, searches for the fire, then flies above thefire, drops a fire suppressant ball from a trap door, flies back to its starting location, and lands. A microcontroller is at the center of the design, which uses a commercial drone with an added 3D printed trap door component designed by the students. It also uses an OAK-D AI integrated camera and a neural network trained to recognize a fire. Thermal sensors were considered, but they don’t have the necessary range and are too costly.
The second group (Au’lexandria Goodwin, Kelcie Nagler, Megan Nelms) described and showed videos of their Counterfeit Metal Sensor. The provision of metals by suppliers that do not meet specifications is a serious problem for many companies. This robotic system can accurately and consistently test material, currently limited to grades of aluminum, using eddy current sorting. The methods can be extended to nonferrous metals.
CSU-Pueblo Engineering Professor Neb Jaksic described the requirements for the year-long projects, including the requirement to acquire and use knowledge they hadn’t been taught in order to demonstrate life-long learning.
Meral Sarper, STEAM teacher at PSAS, provided a video (https://youtu.be/6bytzjQJNtU?t=4635) of a presentation by PSAS student Willow Stephenson. Meral commented: “”I am very proud of all my students, especially Willow Stephenson who was a State Finalist for STEM Fair as well as for the Pueblo Entrepreneurship Competition! Here is her presentation last month at the PEC.” The Pueblo Makes group was impressed by Willow’s ability to present her ideas and answer questions.
On June 3 at 7 pm Rocky Mountain PBS will air a one hour documentary on the Pueblo flood.
Jane presented the following list, summarizing the results from the visioning exercise at our March meeting, led by Paula. The group added the second item, revised the fifth item, and liked the list. It reflects what we do and what we want to be.
Invite people in.
Educate people about Pueblo’s culture of making. What do you make?
Create a sense of community that nurtures the soul.
Provide the help that people need.
Promote the abundance of makers/creatives/artists/entrepreneurs in Pueblo.
Involve the kids.
Curate spaces and tools.
Gregory described a new project, Pueblo 4.0, involving the Mayor, the County Commission, D60, D70, CSU-Pueblo, PCC to reset the educational system. It will involve the reskilling revolution, teaching Digital, social-emotional skills, and innovation in learning systems.
The VFW, at 724 E 4th, will hold a Farmer’s Market, Crafts, and Vendors, every Saturday starting May 22, 7am to 1pm. For a vendor space, call Shelley at 719-406-5247.
Tom Carrigan is leading a project Human Relations Commission to put together a calendar for next year with photographs of Hispanic history. An announcement will be posted on HRC page. Should PM sponsor a page?
Pueblo has about 20 blessing boxes now. Please check expiration dates on donated items.
Tom reported that the exhibit Food Art of Pueblo was a hit, as sponsored by the Pueblo Art Guild and Pueblo Food Council. The Mayor and BloBack Gallery gave awards presentation. There was a cheese carving.
Holly reported on the quilt show at El Pueblo Museum, with 108 quilts, made by 48 people from 7 different quilt guilds and by other individuals. There were 730 visitors, including many from Springs, Denver, Fort Collins. This was probably one of the first quilt shows since centers are starting to open up. Holly reported there were many positive comments on the show, the museum, the Riverwalk, and Pueblo.
Jane reported that the Pueblo Makes Facebook page has 653 followers and the group has 71 members. She also reminded us that we can post in the Reddit group.
Sharon said that Rawlings library will be remodeled from Aug 2021 to August 2022. The new maker space will be 4500 square feet, which is five times the size of the current space. It will be include everything she asked for in the space. It is meant to be an “entry level maker space,” where someone can explore an idea they haven’t tried before and then be referred to experts (some from Pueblo Makes) and to other spaces. The library will be partnering with Goal Academy as classroom for them sometimes. IdeaCon will be held in person this year, outdoors, August 21, at Grome Park, with food trucks, and more.
Russ reported that the Woodturners are looking at possible space in the Art Hub but they need other people or groups to share the space.
Emily reported that TickTock will reopen soon at their new location in Central Plaza next to Bistoro. Also, the Arts Alliance (Karen), TickTock (Emily), and Pueblo Makes (Jane) are working together to break down silos and have the different communities work together. More announcements will follow. Pueblo Makes will maintain a community calendar of maker events.
Drew reported that nine PSAS -12 education students moved from regionals to state STEM fair and some are finalists and could move to nationals. A student won $500 at SoCo Entrepreneurship competition. Meral has a new book; see Bit.ly/cosmicfamily. Dr Kelly Gelhoff is working on vertical gardening with the students. The second grade class set up a blessing box in front of the school.
This Saturday will be a Spring extravaganza at Project: Inspire Cooperative. On April 24th, at 2828 Granada Blvd. Bldg. 2, Pueblo, Co 81005. From 11am to 3pm. Enjoy music, food truck, activities for kids, and family fun. (We are 5 Star Safe!)
Tom discussed how the Food Project is asking: How is race reflected in all that we do? How did we come into this community? Jane said that Alyssum and she recommend that we always have justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) in our minds regarding Pueblo Makes.
Jason described a revamping of the Industrial Tech Maintenance into the national program, FAME Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education. PCC is the first FAME chapter west of Mississippi. Students will work three days a week at a company ($12-16/hour), and attend classes for five semesters at PCC to complete a highly desired degree. With 13 students signed up so far, the goal is 32 students every year. Applications are still open until May 7: see https://www.pueblocc.edu/fame/. Local companies have been involved in creating this program. It is not a formal internship or apprenticeship with the Department of Labor, but is similar..
LaDoris had her Grand Opening at Project Inspire on March 19 Grand Opening. She has launched Pockets (her line of bags) and is working on Comfortable Pockets, a clothing line. She is looking to hire 10 sewing machine operators for assembly line work, piece work. Some experience is good, but she will train. She will consider having people work at home, but they have to have their own machine. See https://www.facebook.com/designsbyladoris.
Paula announced that the SBDC will have a virtual class 4pm to 5:30 pm on 11 May on understanding the patent process.
Gregory recommended the Olympic museum in Colorado Springs.