Author: Andrew Nguyen

Maker-in-Residence capstone event

For the past month, the Maker-in-Residence students have been working hard on their habitats for native bees.  They are finally finished and will be sharing their projects on November 18th in the Murray Makerspace from 4-6pm.  All UNC undergrads are welcome to come check out the projects and learn more about the artistic process behind creating the habitats! Food and beverages will be provided.  If you are planning on attending, please RSVP to the Facebook event below:

Laurina’s Page

October 8th Post 1

Today, we worked on making paper maquettes of our sculpture ideas. First, Forrest showed us the paper maquette that he had created for his larger metal dandelion sculpture that incorporated tubed for solitary bees. To get a feel for constructing paper sculptures, I first created a flower with 3-D elements that made me move from thinking about paper as two-dimensional, to something that could be folded and arranged to make a three-dimensional object.


After I completed the flower, I decided to try and create one of the concepts that I had drawn out previously: the bee beard. The way I imagined it was as an old man whose beard was entirely made of tubes for bees. While I was constructing it, I realized that for the bee tubes to function, they needed to be a certain length, about eight inches. This would mean that my old man would have a beard that would jut out eight inches from his face. Sadly, I had came to terms with the fact that my “buzz-stache” was not meant to “bee.”


At the end of the session, Abby showed us how the laser-cutter worked, and it was very cool. Hopefully I can learn how to use that tool and incorporate fun laser-cut shapes into my design.

Nancy’s Page

October 8, 2016

Forrest shared the first step to making a big sculpture which was to make a preliminary model of ours sketches or a maquette. This process help me see my original idea in 3D form and modify it accordingly. It was very nice to see the diversity of ideas across the room and see them come alive. I have very little experience making sculptures so this process was definitely a challenge. I was able to work in different maquettes but ultimately I was able to create something that I really liked. Afterwards, we were able to learn a little about laser cutting, a fascinating tool that might complement the final look of my project.


Zac’s Page

Zac’s Blog 1

Waking up last saturday was not particularly enjoyable. I walked out of my suite and it was cold and dark. Rain is one of my least favorite things so I was really was not to happy when I came to the realization that I would be making the 15 minute walk to the makerspace in this rain. There was nothing I could so I made the journey getting drenched as I made it there. I did not enjoy the fact that my socks were soaked by the time I got there but when I made it the makerspace my mood changed. I really enjoy being able to take some time out of my day to learn some new things and build. This week we worked on building paper models of our sculptures. I modeled my sculpture partially off of forest’s flower design but with some elements of my own:


The first piece I created was the tube where the actually bee nest would be held. I cut the top but would go on to change that later.


I then begin to cut out the “petals” for the flower. I used two different templates for the petals and cut them each out a little differently to retain an organic nature to the sculpture.


After all of the petal were cut out, I taped them to the tube and the flower began to come together.


I decided to make model bees that would appear to fly around the flower just as bees in real life do. On the real sculpture, I envision these bees being on springs and hopefully they will move with the wind.


I decided to add a second flower around the ring of the tube because I felt this design looked a lot better than what I had before. For my final sculpture, I would like to find a way to make this piece spin to give the sculpture some life rather than having it be a static piece.


The final product!


Blog post 2

This weeks build session was  far better than the last considering I was not soaking wet when I arrived at the MakerSpace. The weather was a pleasant surprise from last week’s hurricane. We began our session at the community garden where we learned about the garden itself and discussed possible locations for the sculptures. I found the 3 bee hives on the property particularly interesting. I do not believe I have ever actually seen a beehive in person so it was a new and exciting experience. Following our little field trip, we return to the MakerSpace and began the work on our actual sculptures. Cutting the metal we used did prove difficult, but it with a little hard work, most shapes were not too difficult to cut out. I definitely have a lot to do for the sculpture, but this last session was a really good start. Below are some pictures showcasing my work so far.

These are some of the pieces I cut out the the red tool in the background are the tinsnips we were using to cut the metal


Here you can see another piece I cut out, It would go on to become the center of the sculpture.


Here you can a picture of the nesting tubes as well as the pieces of my mockup that I began to take apart to begin the construction of the actual sculpture.


Here is another picture of some more of the pieces that I cut out for the sculpture.


A few more of the pieces


There definitely was a lot of progress made this week and I look forward to seeing where this project goes.



Annie’s page

Build Session Two — October 8

8:45 a.m. Saturday morning. The hurricane is raging, the wind is blowing and the rain is coming down in torrents. I am the only one outside — after all, who is insane enough to go out in this weather? I am, apparently, and I am off to go build native bee nests in the Maker Space in Murray Hall.

It is our second build session. Last week (when the weather was much more cooperative), we went through introductions and began building a wooden prototype nest for mason bees, which are valuable native pollinators that can pollinate at incredibly efficient rates. Scientists are beginning to look at these bees as a potential niche-filler for honeybees, whose populations are beginning to decline.

Facilitating native bee populations is the main point of this project. If we can create optimal habitat spaces that suit native bee species’ needs, then that will attract a higher population of them and thus bolster the community of pollinators.

Mason bees — and many other native bees — like to make their nests in small tubes; in nature, this means hollowed out stems, old beetle holes and natural cavities in wood. In the Maker Space, this means pre-bought cardboard tubes and parchment paper rolled around a pencil and stuck through a hole drilled into a 2×4.  These tubes would be the center point of our individual projects.


We started this build session by working on ideas and beginning prototypes for a nest made of thin metal. Tubes would be inserted into an area in the middle, but otherwise we had the chance to make our metal nest into a sculpture. We started off by creating our designs in paper; I carefully drew, cut, and taped together various pieces of pseudo-metal together to create a delicate flower pattern with lots of pointed petals. I liked the layered look to it, and I couldn’t wait to see how it would look when it was shiny and well put together. The other makers had a lot of really neat ideas as well; every now and then I would sneak a peek at someone else’s prototype — very surreptitiously, of course, — and find myself mentally applauding their work. My first thought had gone to making a tin flower since my mind automatically equated bees with flowers, but others had gone in different directions. One girl was fashioning her paper nest into a hot air balloon. Another was carefully copying the likeness of an Alice in Wonderland character. The creature’s long nose was where the bees’ nest tubes would go.  I was beginning to understand how this workshop was just as much about creative thought as it was about species conservation.


Once our paper prototypes were finished — I was very happy with mine. Although I wouldn’t go so far as to say I don’t have an artistic bone in my body, that bone is probably the size of my pinkie toe. My artistic background comes from my work in technical theater; there, we were given a plan and we brought it to life. This was all very different; I had to make my own plan and then be responsible for it. It was a very big change.


The next thing we did was finish our wood nests for the Bee Hotel from the first build session. I think that we’re going to put all of our finished wood nests together to make a giant one; think a Ritz Carlton for native pollinators. It’s gonna look super dope.  Nissa and I were making one together, and we finished it easily. We were old pros at this point after working on it during the last build session.  It was a cool looking nest; kind of curvy and symmetrical. If I was a mason bee, I’d definitely want to live there.

We also started planning out our Capstone project and discussing ways to share our project with the community. I’m excited to see how those conversations will evolve as time goes on.

Until next time!



MIR Official Blog

Our Fall 2016 Maker-in-Residence got off to a great start! Our participants met on Saturday, Oct. 1st for the first time and we dove right in. Forrest introduced the project and had the participants brainstorm for their projects. Later we were visited by Elsa Youngsteadt, an entomologist research associate at NC State University, who gave an excellent presentation on native bees, their ecological role, how to recognize different species, and how our nest-sculptures can cater to specific species as efficiently and healthily as possible. For the second half of the session, the participants built a prototype of a simple nesting unit that Forrest had modified for the project.

Drilling holes for the habitats


After the session, Forrest and a few of the participants visited the NC Botanical Gardens just down the road, where Forrest gave them tours of the “Birds as Art” and “Sculpture IN The Garden” exhibits. We plan to visit the Gardens again on the 15th of October, so that any of the participants who missed this first trip can go. That’s a wrap on Week 1!