Cactus Coloring Kit, wood outline - SamanthaSews
Laser Cutting,  Painting

Laser Cutting and Magic Making

After years of pining for a laser cutter, and many hours and dollars spent renting time in various maker spaces, I finally jumped in and bought my own laser.

It’s a dream come true, and it’s also anything but easy. Most of our quality time together so far has been purely mechanical: tweaking the exhaust to make sure the fumes are extracted; calibrating lens focus and bed depth; running test cuts on each of my materials… just thinking about it wears me out!

But I’ve also had the chance to start making some art, some experiments, and some magic. I’m able to play in a way that I couldn’t justify to myself when I was paying for hourly rental time.

I spent the last few weeks tweaking an idea that finally became this Cactus Coloring Kit (now on Etsy). I’ve been thinking a lot about which direction to take my tiny business, with focus on defining my core values. My personal “mission statement”, or at least my truth, has long been, I love making things. I love making shirts, quilts, dresses, necklaces, stuffed animals……. pretty much anything but face masks. (why are masks so annoying to make??!)

Cactus Coloring Kit - laser cut wood cactus
It would be neat to use collage as the medium for the cactus kit… maybe this will be my next “product tester” task!

This cactus coloring kit fits right into that truth: I get to make something that helps other people make something. How perfect is that? Maybe it’s someone like me, who knows that they love making things, and this kit is a nice flow activity. Or maybe it’s someone who’s decided they aren’t creative, but they want to color a cactus… then they end up with art, and realize creativity is nice and not scary. I love that I might be a part of either of those stories!

It’s a really fun product, and I am loving my job as Product Tester/Painter much more than my other job as Laser Setter-Upper/Maintenance Worker. The cactus art is as easy as a paint-by-number or coloring page, but the framed outline turns it into Art, with almost a stained glass effect.

I shipped an early concept to my cousins a few weeks back, and we had a coloring happy hour over google hangouts with progress updates every half hour or so. “How’s yours looking?” one of us would ask, then we’d all ooh and ahh at the screen. It was so much fun to be making art, separately and together.

Here’s a video of the magic. It’s so fun to watch this machine at work!

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