More on Federico Tobon

shapeoko2

I had a great time last week interviewing the always creative and ever resourceful Federico Tobon for the podcast. Federico put up a blog post going into more detail on some of the things we talked about during the podcast, specifically the type of CNC router he uses (the ShapeOko 2 ), his social media rules, a video proving that he’s trained his cats (!), his hand sewn bike messenger bag and a shot of the LA Eco Village rooftop beehive.

We talked for hours before and after recording and could talk for many more. Topics of future conversations could include, for instance, the clever milk crate drawers below the ShapeOko 2 and the tool hanging method in the background. Federico needs to host a TV show.

Save

108 Artist/Maker Federico Tobon

federicopic

Update: Federico wrote up a blog post showing some of the things we talked about.

Our guest this week on the Root Simple Podcast is artist Federico Tobon of WolfCat Workshop. We talk about a lot of things including Federico’s art, adventures in extreme “makerdom,” sharpening tools, knots and even how to train cats!  This is an episode that you’ll want to follow along in the show notes so you can see Federico’s amazing work. Here’s some of the things we talk about:

warm_heart
You can follow Federico’s work at WolfcatWorkshop and he’s @wolfcatworkshop on Instagram. Make sure to sign up for his newsletter.

If you want to leave a question for the Root Simple Podcast please call (213) 537-2591 or send an email to [email protected]. You can subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes store and on Stitcher. The theme music is by Dr. Frankenstein. Additional music by Rho. A downloadable version of this podcast is here.

Save

Save

Cat Scratching Post Update

catscratcherbeforeafter

One of the more successful feline interventions around the Root Simple compound was my idea of turning a corner of our couch into a cat scratching post. Since cats love scratching furniture, why not make the corners out of sisal rope and solve two problems at once?

As you can see from the before and after shots, the cats love their scratching post. With two cats in residence, I’ve found that I have to renew the sisal every four to six months.

IMG_2577

In my original blog post on how-to make a cat scratcher I suggested using heavy duty staples. I’ve since switched to #17 x 1 inch wire nails which are easier to use and do a better job of securing the sisal. I still recommend using 3/8 inch sisal rope. And I also added a few dabs of hot glue to keep the sisal on the post a little longer.

Yesterday I renewed the sisal on the post and, within minutes, it was already in use:

IMG_2584

In that first post on cat scratchers, I proposed building an “integrated cat scratcher/USB charging station/cat perch using a twisty tree branch.” The cats have voted with their claws and love the scratcher so much that I need to get started on that perch notion and other scratcher projects. The cats need to charge their devices too! The whole interior of the house could just get covered in sisal and USB ports.

Why You Should Have a Cat Fountain

buckandfountain

I’ve read varying explanations for the reason why some cats seem to prefer running water. Most cat experts say they perceive it as fresher and more likely to be a safe source of water. Some cats, apparently, won’t drink anything but water flowing from a tap.

While cats are desert creatures they still need water. For our cat’s wild ancestors rodent blood (yum!) provided supplemental hydration. The ideal diet for a cat would be a mouse a day, but we’d get in trouble with the PETA folks if we started a mouse farm at the Root Simple compound. So we’ve got to get them to drink water. Our two cats drink happily from our cat fountain and from bowls of fresh water. We try to have both on hand to encourage them to drink. Our cats get wet food in the morning and dry food in the evening. The wet food provides some hydration and the dry food helps keep their teeth clean.

Encouraging them to drink water is where a cat fountain comes in handy. But, in the ultimate of “first world problems,” most cat fountains are ugly, resembling those plastic things you throw cigarette butts in:

p-35917-48036

And we don’t want to encourage our cats to smoke:

00a9b8dd9d9d22125884dcd652988d96

But I digress. Let’s get back to the cat fountain.

We found an attractive cat fountain several years ago made by ceramicists Keith Davitt and Jackie McKannay whose products are available on Etsy. I don’t think they still make the exact same model we have but they sell plenty of other handsome fountains. I clean out the pump twice a week and change the water frequently.

The pump uses a small amount of electricity and costs just $1.29 a year to run. You need to be careful when you remove the pump from the bowl so as not to rip off the suction cups that hold it to the bottom of the bowl. As a side benefit the fountain adds the sound of running water to our living room, thus giving the space the vibe of a yoga studio or West Coast chiropractor’s office. You have to throw on some new age mp3s for the full effect, but you get the idea.

Our vet has us supplement the water with Oxyfresh Pet Oral Hygiene Solution to help with their tobacco stained teeth (just kidding). One of our cats has tooth resorption so we have to stay on top of oral hygiene.

As component of feline environmental enrichment as well as yoga studio ambiance I wholeheartedly endorse the cat fountain concept. It’s also well loved by the new saluki puppy which I will let Kelly explain in an exclusive blog post to come . . .

Nanotecture: Tiny Built Things

tinybuiltthings
Nanotecture: Tiny Built Things is a tiny book of big ideas. It’s 336 pages of objects ranging from bird houses to sheds to temporary art installations. The unifying theme is clever design and a less than house sized scale.

9780714870601-product-1

This is the kind of book to thumb through if you’ve got a creative block, are curious about materials or just looking for inspiration.

nanpage32
And there’s lots of dog and cat architecture.

sauna
And saunas, like the bike propelled mini sauna above.

I don’t know if I need to own a copy of this book (I’ve got a library copy), but I’ve spent a many evenings leafing through the pages. On a side note, many of the objects in this book are temporary outdoor art installations, something you see a lot of in Northern Europe in the summer. I don’t know why we don’t see more of these types of art and design shows in the U.S. They’re popular and a nice use of public space.

The book has inspired me this morning to cut the blogging short and head to my workshop and build something.