beckarahn aka Andrew Rahn
We are a husband & wife team and live in Minneapolis, MN with our big blonde dog. When did you start making with Ponoko and what type of products do you make? AR: We first noticed Ponoko in April of 2008, and my first experiment was built in July of that year. We’ve dabbled with it ever since. BR: Andy started by designing gizmos to help with making oboe reeds. He plays the oboe as a hobby and making reeds is pretty meticulous. Reed tools was the first thing he thought of. My first design idea was the tiny weaving looms. I am an art teacher and fiber artist and I knew there was a niche out there who wouldn’t be able to resist tiny textile tools as holiday ornaments. We worked together on the design and layout since Andy had already figured out the basics and we have been hooked ever since. Our latest design is a do-it-yourself frame loom so you can weave your own tiny projects. How did you come across Ponoko? AR: Becka ran across a blog post in 2008 that talked about Ponoko and a “Design a Puzzle” Challenge. We had designed and built a wooden puzzle for Becka’s dad the previous year so I think that is why it caught her eye. BR: I knew he would totally love the geek aspect of laser cutting your own designs. I think he had started designing his first project by that afternoon. How did you used to make products before Ponoko? AR: We are big fans of handmade. Becka is an artist and teacher, but I’m a computer guy through-and-through. So for me, software is an obvious tool in the creative process -- usually Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. Before Ponoko, I could do a lot of design using the computer, but the creating step always went back to using more traditional tools, materials and techniques. BR: We do a lot of things that are a combination of Ponoko pieces with other techniques. My tiny embroidery hoops are cut by Ponoko, then I drill them and add the “screw” eye to the top and then mount tiny quilt squares of digitally printed fabric from Spoonflower in them. Ponoko has added a whole new level of cool to the materials I have available to me - I can create anything I want. How would you describe your creative process? AR: I don’t really have much of a process. At some point I’ll get an idea and be really excited about it and then I cannot stop until it is finished. It’s always harder and takes longer than I think it should. I enjoy working out the geometry to fit shapes on the material with shared cut lines or making useful shapes with the unused space. BR: I like coming up with the design or concept and he likes doing the math and the drafting, so it is a great collaboration. We do a lot of brainstorming while we are walking the dog.