Opposable Thumbs

We tackle a new creative challenge every two weeks and talk about our accomplishments, failures and lessons learned.

About the show

We (Taylor Hokanson and Rob Ray) assign ourselves (and a guest) a new creative challenge every two weeks. We then talk about our discoveries, problems, solutions, failures and successes and.... try to steer clear of catastrophic shop accidents.

Opposable Thumbs on social media

Episodes

  • Episode 30: Prove Yourself Wrong

    April 23rd, 2018  |  1 hr 14 mins
    dovetails, electricity, flask, google, joinery, making, raspberry pi, sewing, totebags, walnut, woodworking

    Tim Sway is our guest this week! Connecticut in tha house!

    We get the juicy details from Tim about how he ended up making "The SqWAYre," his super cool measuring and marking tool. We also talk about the mighty power of high school art teachers (Thank you art teachers!).

    It took Rob only four months to go from swearing he would never do something to doing it twice in one week. Don't look to Rob for guidance about self-control.

    Tim lets fly but in a peaceful way. Except for those birds he's flipping. Those are pretty angsty.

    Taylor dives into the Internet of Energy Wasting Things.

    This is our 30th episode! Every 10 episodes we invite all of our previous guests to call in and let us know what they're up to so we're excited to share some of those with you! So be listening for those around the 55 minute mark.

  • Episode 29: 10x Bigger

    April 10th, 2018  |  1 hr 17 mins
    bullets, cryo-electron microscopy, forks, haeckel, headphones, hepatitis, how-to, nutraloaf, science, skateboards, sun ra, supermax, t4, tamms, virus, youtube, zika

    Rita Blaik is our guest this week! Los Angeles in tha house!

    We kick things off with some discussion on design vs art and gender diversity in science. Then we dive into the projects!

    Taylor the Chef cooked up some supermax treats to get your mouth watering on some nutraloaf! And he gets dinged in the cheek by a bullet fragment that can't be stopped.

    Rita Blaik drops the cryo-electron microscopy science on us! And she shares the wonderful curiosities of Ernst Haeckel and Robert Hooke.

    Rob tries to up the fidelity and weirdness on the video he made last week. And he talks about skateboarding... again...

    You can check out our projects at http://projects.opposablepodcast.com

    Apologies for a few audio quality nuances. It took some psychic surgery to get around some of Rob's microphone problems.

    Props to Nik, Walter, Federico, Kelly, Luke and Mike! They're our top Patreon supporters! And Mike is great too! Join 'em at: https://www.patreon.com/opposablethumbs

  • Episode 28: Stranger Skill Share

    March 26th, 2018  |  1 hr 1 min
    accents, adobe illustrator, drills, duchamp, youtube

    No guest this week! Just Taylor and Rob making big dreams... happen? Chicago, Los Angeles and worldwide! We talk about the professionalization of YouTube, the words we say with an accent. Rob pronounces the word pencil as PEENcyll.

    You can check out our projects at http://projects.opposablepodcast.com

    Taylor casts forth his knowledge of Adobe llustrator like those little whirlybird samara seed pods that fall from Maple trees. Those seed pods are awesome. And so is Taylor's Illustrator aptitude!

    Marcel Duchamp would just scribble stuff on paper and use it as money. WUT... Check your privilege, Marcel. But it would be kinda rad to be able to do that.

    Rob tries to figure out how to navigate his feelings about "professional YouTube." Maybe lightning bolts will help. (Shout out to D. Boon.)

    Rob coughed approximately 567 times during the recording of this podcast but he edited out all of them but two. Sorry about that!

    Props to Nik, Walter, Federico, Kelly, Luke and Mike! They're our top Patreon supporters! And Mike is great too! Join 'em at: https://www.patreon.com/opposablethumbs

  • Episode 27: Nudity

    March 13th, 2018  |  1 hr 7 mins
    anvil, aquatint, bench pin, braille, chicago, copper, eggs, ferric chloride, flour, fusion 360, giving, gnudi, harleys, homelessness, intaglio, jewelry, liver sulfer, metalworking, nakedness, nickel, nudity, parmesean, pasadena, printmaking, ricotta, v block, wallet

    Megan Sterling and Meghann Sotille are our guests this week! Chicago in tha house!

    Nudity is our challenge this week! Artists work a lot of jobs. Motorcycle jewelry is a lot of skulls. Intaglio is pronounced "intalio." Huh!

    Rob makes a thing to make it rain. Megan Sterling (aka Sterling) and Meghann Sotille (aka Mego) joined forces for a really great printmaking meets metalworking collab! You gotta see their process photos over on http://projects.opposablepodcast.com. The photos really help descibe all the cool techniques they used and notes they took. They used intaglio, press n' peel, anvils, ferric chloride and all sorts of other cool stuff!

    Ask Taylor about his erotic carbs.

    Props to Nik, Federico, Kelly, Luke and Mike! They're our top Patreon supporters! And Mike is is great too! Join 'em at: https://www.patreon.com/opposablethumbs

  • Episode 26: Fermentation (and our 1 year birthday!)

    February 28th, 2018  |  1 hr 38 mins
    3d printing, cooking, doubt, fermentation, ginger beer, jodorowsky, learning, making, sketchup

    Cedric Tai is our guest this week! Los Angeles in tha house!

    Fermentation is our challenge this week (and none of us brewed beer.) and it's our 1 year anniversary!!!! WOOP! WOOP!

    We talk about the power and energy of learning, cooking, Alejandro Jodorowsky and getting unstuck!

    Taylor creates CDC-JNCO!
    Cedric ummm... he ummm.... well... we're not sure. But Taylor and I are overwhelmed and stoked by it. Rob had a great conversation with Adam Rothstein of Transistor Beverages in Portland! And he fought the 3D printer for 3 days.

    Thanks to Nik, Adam, Luke and Kelly (http://kellymariemartin.com)! They're our top Patreon supporters! And props to Mike and Jen as well! Ya'll are great too! Join 'em at: https://www.patreon.com/opposablethumbs

  • Ursula K. Le Guin

    February 14th, 2018  |  1 hr 10 mins
    black holes, fermentation, garage band, gary panter, harmonograph, heaven, jiro dreams of sushi, lathe, retrosnickers, samples, sneakers, song, spirograph, tales from earthsea, turning, ursula k. le guin, walnut, wooden bowls

    Molly Allis is our guest this week! Los Angeles in tha house!

    Ursula K. Le Guin is our challenge this week.

    We talk about style and the awesome power of Pee Wee's Playhouse, black holes and sneaker style. We also talked about Jiro Dreams of Sushi, which Rob has not yet seen.

    Rob read Le Guin's "Lathe of Heaven" and got a janky string drawing machine built. Molly read "Tales from Earthsea" and wrote an amazing song! Taylor also read "Lathe of Heaven" and got heaven on the lathe!

    Thanks to Nik, Adam, Luke and Kelly (http://kellymariemartin.com)! They're our top Patreon supporters! And props to Mike and Jen as well! Ya'll are great too! Join 'em at: https://www.patreon.com/opposablethumbs

  • Dismantlefesto!: Undoing Things with Purpose

    January 30th, 2018  |  1 hr 12 mins
    copperplate, etching, hammers, illustrator, screwdrivers, self-healing mat, terry gross, tools, trump, vector, wacom, woodblock, zines

    No guest this week, just Taylor and Rob holding down the fort. Very handy in case a strong wind comes along with its mind set on blowing the fort away. We talk about the art of redundancy. Rob believes no baseball cap should have that little rope in between the cap part and the brim. Rob is also wowed by Taylor's awesome Adobe Illustrator skillz!

    Taylor breaks down the cool differences between copperplate etching and woodblock printing techniques and he shares his 4 Horseman of the Trumpist Apocalypse shudder . Terry Gross is pretty cool. Rob digs though his tools to find the ones critical to the taking apart of things.

    Thanks to Kelly Marie Martin for the challenge!

    Thanks to Nik, Adam, Luke and Kelly (http://kellymariemartin.com)! They're our top Patreon supporters! And props to Mike and Jen as well! Ya'll are great too! Join 'em at: https://www.patreon.com/opposablethumbs

  • Click Training

    January 15th, 2018  |  1 hr 2 mins
    bass, beeminder, bratmobile, bullets, capacitors, click training, cults, dia beacon, dogs, fandor, flyover country, freesound.org, gender fluidity, github, gun blue, i'm in the band, indie comics, jack parsons, journaling, krazy kat, machining, manifestos, mapbox, massmoca, metronomes, my favorite thing is monsters, nasa, occult, omnifocus, parenting, pasadena, productivity, racist christians, ritualistic objects, rocketry, sex stains, shivers, sound effects, sprague, spy planes, thingspeak, todo lists, walnut

    Kelly Marie Martin is our guest this week! Greetings Kelly! Los Angeles in tha house!

    "Click training" is our challenge this episode! We talk about occult rocketry, racist christian cults, and Krazy Kat's gender fluidity. We also talk indie comics we have loved and bullets frozen in time. Kelly also shares her love for "My Favorite Thing is Monsters," the rewards of painting and the pleasures and struggles of being a musician.

    Taylor creates a really cool chunky talisman for staying thoughtful about his eating habits. Kelly creates a metronomic, spacey, spooky and fun song you can hear on the podcast! Rob finally mails a gift he's been meaning to send for 9 years (That's just ridiculous.) and asks the bees to keep him on track.

    Rob apologizes for his audio quality on this episode. Out technology demons! OUT! A shout out to our previous guests Ranjit Bhatnagar, Nick Bontrager, Sara Schnadt and Federico Tobon who are mentioned in this episode!

    Thanks to Nik, Adam, Luke and Kelly (http://kellymariemartin.com)! They're our top Patreon supporters! And props to Mike and Jen as well! Ya'll are great too! Join 'em at: https://www.patreon.com/opposablethumbs

  • Happy New Year! (no challenge)

    January 2nd, 2018  |  46 mins 45 secs
    carpentry, carving, collaborating, creativity, learning, materials, resolutions, sewage, staying motivated, success, teaching, woodworking

    We have no guest and no challenge this episode! We just wanted to say Happy New Year!

    We discuss the visibility of success and the invisibility of the work it takes to succeed. It also is so hard to measure the work it takes to do something when we only see the end result.

    Rob is trying to find ways to make other peoples work more motivating. He's also trying to be mindful of creativity when buying deodorant.

    Taylor is working to stay productive day-to-day and also strategizing to keep his work collaborative and grow those opportunities. He's also gaining first hand experience with Chicago's sewage infrastructures.

    Thanks to Nik, Adam, Luke and Kelly (http://kellymariemartin.com)! They're our top Patreon supporters! And props to Mike and Jen as well! Ya'll are great too! Join 'em at: https://www.patreon.com/opposablethumbs

  • Interpret the Cosmology of Your Book Collection

    December 22nd, 2017  |  1 hr 7 mins
    art, balloons, books, cosmology, detroit, illustration, inception, photogrammetry, photography, plywood, podcast, projectors, routing, synesthesia, the body, the self, video

    Chris Reilly is our guest this week! Detroit in tha house!!!! DEEEE---TROIT!

    We talk about the body, synesthesia, photogrammetry the difficulty of trying to re-invent our creative practice while also trying to reinvent ourselves. The hope is that both issues will sort of just fix the other. SPOILER ALERT: It doesn't really work, but it kind of works, or at least helps. And gentrification comes up. Gentrification always comes up... Welcome to late capitalism!

    Speaking of gentrification, Rob uses an LCD projector as an old school opaque projector and also tries to upcycle your inbox.. so boojie. Chris sets his worries aloft. Will he go full Hindenburg or ride a unicorn off into space? Taylor goes full podcast inception. Stay tuned to see if the universe collapses in on itself!

    Check out our project photos, videos and more at http://projects.opposablepodcast.com

    Thanks to Nik, Adam, Luke and Kelly (http://kellymariemartin.com)! They're our top Patreon supporters! And props to Mike and Jen as well! Ya'll are great too! Join 'em at: https://www.patreon.com/opposablethumbs

  • Swallow the Frog: Tackle the important and uncomfortable in your creative practice.

    December 5th, 2017  |  1 hr 27 mins
    backup, hard drives, mirrors, mood boards, nas, photography, screwdrivers, style guides, ui kit

    Sara Schnadt is our guest this week! Los Angeles in the house!
    Sara, Taylor and Rob talk about tackling things we don't want to tackle. We also chat about collaborating with non-artists and merging the work-life with the art-life. Mirrors are pretty cool, even in the 21st Century. It seems Colonel Sanders had a proclivity for the pistols. We also fit Daredevil and Systems Engineering into the conversation... somehow!

    Taylor decides he should really get his archive situation in order before entropy wins the battle. Sara shares the thinking and re-thinking she's been doing on her art practice after multiple moves, life changes and health hurdles. Rob spends two weeks creating a new sandbox for himself and decides he needs more road trash and hot pink in his work. WARNING: The phrase "mood boards" was used more than once during the recording of this episode.

    Also, it is our 20th episode! Thanks to all our previous guests! You can hear a brief update from Meghan Trainor, Huong Ngo, Dan Bustillo, Federico Tobon, Matt Steinke, Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen (the Root Simple posse!), Violet Juno and Ranjit Bhatnagar on this episode!

    Check out our project photos, videos and more at http://projects.opposablepodcast.com

    Thanks to Nik, Luke and Kelly (http://kellymariemartin.com)! They're our top Patreon supporters! And props to Mike and Jen as well! Ya'll are great too! Join 'em at: https://www.patreon.com/opposablethumbs

  • Lo-Fi Space Exploration

    November 21st, 2017  |  1 hr 9 mins
    2600, 3d printing, audacity, conferences, defcon, feds, frontpage, hacking, interstellar, open source, phreaking, predators, prusa, puzzles, space, style, whiteness

    No guest this week! Taylor and Rob blasting off into the inky void of lo-fi space.... .... ... .. . . . (yikes!) We talk about white male predators. yuck. Defcon, fed spotting, phreaking, hacking, 3d printing, FrontPage 98, Audacity and how scary it can feel to contribute to open source projects.

    Rob channels his inner Container Store and gets packed for nowheresville. Taylor takes us to a cold, dark and lonely place... probably inhabited by little ice monsters.

    Check out our project photos, videos and more at http://projects.opposablepodcast.com

    Thanks to Nik, Luke and Kelly (http://kellymariemartin.com)! They're our top Patreon supporters! And props to Mike and Jen as well! Ya'll are great too! Join 'em at: https://www.patreon.com/opposablethumbs

  • Time Based Improvisation

    November 3rd, 2017  |  1 hr 10 mins
    ableton live, amen break, audacity, frequency hopping, ken burns, lock picking, maps, mustaches, osama bin laden, pepe, protonopia, radio, sdr, shia labeouf, software, space, vietnam

    No guest this week! Taylor and Rob keeping it... real? real loose and jazzy, maybe. If you're interested in Ken Burns' very interesting hairstyle, the toothbrush mustache, protanopia and "the Amen break" you've come to the right podcast.

    We dive into creating and sequencing music with images, random number generation and software defined radios (SDRs). We also get into science fiction, topo maps, lockpicking

    Check out our project photos, videos and more at http://projects.opposablepodcast.com

    Thanks to Nik, Luke and Kelly (http://kellymariemartin.com)! They're our top Patreon supporters! And props to Mike and Jen as well! Ya'll are great too! Join 'em at: https://www.patreon.com/opposablethumbs

  • Microdemocracy

    October 24th, 2017  |  1 hr 17 mins
    braided belts, ca glue, clients, cults, design, ibm, oblong industries, processing, starbursts, superglue, watson

    J Stephen Lee is our guest this week! Portland, Oregon in tha house! We chat about designcraft on really large screens and the craft of design as a distillation and specification process. We also talk about challenges of working with clients the advantages of being articulate about your decisions. And then we got on the topic of braided belts, the Heaven's Gate cult, BBS culture and the Starburst unit of measure... just so you know you're listening to the right podcast.

    Taylor investigates making things as a way to deduce the decision-making capabilities and preferences of two-year-olds. Stephen generates and abstracts in the Trumpist era. Rob puts the nano in microdemocracy.

    Check out our project photos, videos and more at http://projects.opposablepodcast.com

    Thanks to Nik, Luke and Kelly (http://kellymariemartin.com)! They're our top Patreon supporters! And props to Mike and Jen as well! Ya'll are great too! Join 'em at: https://www.patreon.com/opposablethumbs

  • Episode 16: Arrow Through the Heart of Capitalism

    October 7th, 2017  |  1 hr 23 mins
    arduino, arrows, art, blood, bomb, calorimeter, cinchel, cool tools, donald bell, electricity, endurance, esp8266, fletching, ganzeer, gastropod, guitar, hemacite, honest money, instruments, ivan stang, klf, lord of the rings, mapping, money, music, on kawara, pareidolia, pentametron, performance, raubdruckerin, screenprinting, slack, smiley face murder, subgenius, timebanking, trigger, voltmeter, wall street, walter kitundu, wifi, zodiac killer

    Ranjit Bhatnagar is our guest this week! Brooklyn in the house! We talk about plastic made from blood (hemacite!), seeing faces in things (pareidolia! :-) ), the Church of the SubGenius, redaction, instrument making, and beaver pelts as currency.

    Rob tests the flight characteristics of paper and plastic. Ranjit isn't the Smiley Face killer... well... probably isn't. Taylor's project is fire (and electricity)!

    Mad props to The KLF. They burned a million quid. We didn't do that. Also, check our all our links. Holy cow!

    Check out our project photos, videos and more at http://projects.opposablepodcast.com

    Thanks to Nik, Luke and Kelly (http://kellymariemartin.com)! They're our top Patreon supporters! And props to Mike and Jen as well! Ya'll are great too! Join 'em at: https://www.patreon.com/opposablethumbs

  • Episode 15: Exceptions to Originard

    September 25th, 2017  |  1 hr 5 mins
    aliens, bentonite, britannia metal, casting, equifax, furries truckers, gloves, highways, ipod, iron, mold making, optivisors, originality, petroglyphs, pewter, podcasts, poplar, postmodernism, sand, silicone, time, ui, ux

    We have no guest this week! Just Rob and Taylor keepin' it Originard... Originard!?! No! Not a typo! You'll have to listen to Episode 14 to get the details on that! We talk about furries, truckers, Equifax's ridiculously jank website, and Bunnie Huang's awesomeness. Taylor's flocking is on fleek! He revives a past project and gets metal with it. Bluetooth was a person? Rob tries something new and kinda contemplative about aliens, petroglyphs, time, originality and... postmodernism. Listener warning: We got arty.

    Check out our project photos, videos and more at http://projects.opposablepodcast.com

    Thanks to Nik, Luke and Kelly (http://kellymariemartin.com)! They're our top Patreon supporters! And props to Mike and Jen as well! Ya'll are great too! Join 'em at: https://www.patreon.com/opposablethumbs