Milk Rises Up In Engineered Eats 2016

by. Tina Amini (SAIT journalism student and Beakerhead intern)

Milk is a pretty cool thing. When we cook with it we tend to transform it completely. We can change milk into cheese, yogurt, ice cream oooh! or whipped cream! I love whipped cream!!!

The possible conversions of milk are very scientific! Take for example the pasteurization of milk. Pasteurization is a process that kills bacteria. By heating up the liquid most harmful bacteria’s and pathogens die!

There is endless possibilities when cooking with milk – that’s why this year’s Engineered Eats theme is milk!

And of course, Alberta Milk is the presenting sponsor of this year’s program!

Restaurants and bars all over Calgary are welcome to take up the challenge and create a menu item or drink concoction that features this year’s Engineered Eats theme.

Check out this recipe by David Leite that transforms milk and some simple ingredients into a sweet homemade liqueur.


That is just one way science is enhancing milk! I can’t wait to see what else is possible with milk during Engineered Eats! (I hope there is something to do with whipped cream!)

Restaurants and bars who are interested in participating in this year’s Beakerhead Engineered Eats program (September 14 – 18, 2016), please contact Paul at!

Photo by Tina Amini/SAIT Polytechnic
Photo by Tina Amini/SAIT Polytechnic

The future is bright

Highlights of the MakeFashion 2016 Gala

The MakeFashion Wearable Tech Gala and Runway Show last Satuday was … A-MA-ZING!

The annual MakeFashion gala in Calgary is unlike any other fashion or technology show; the pieces created are engineered with high tech electronics that transform the garmet into a stunning, one-of-a-kind piece.

There were both local and international designers who participated this year. One of my favorites was the “snow queen” and “Japanese Lantern” dresses that were created by team “Kiki Forever” part of the Zyris Organization.

Photo by Tina Amini.
Photo by Tina Amini.

The bright LED lighting and colors in the creations by “Kiki Forever” illuminated the silhouette of the dresses, allowing them to take over the catwalk.

Another highlight for me was the prosthetic fashion creations by Alleles Design Studio. I was anticipating their pieces since last year, and they did not disappoint! There were two prosthetic covers designed by them that included LED technology.

Screenshot 2016-04-04 14.34.54 


MakeFashion Gala is Almost Here!

The annual MakeFashion runway gala exhibits technology infused into fashion that creates wearable pieces of art. And this year, the fourth annual show will once again catwalk through TELUS Spark’s atrium on Saturday, April 2.

Three Calgarians founded MakeFashion in 2012, merging fashion, engineering and cutting edge electronics to create high-fashion and high-tech pieces.

2015 was my first experience, and I had a blast taking photos and taking the whole interactive environment.

It was different from any other runway event I had ever seen. The dark atmosphere and lit up pieces of wearable technology were very majestic and fun to watch. Check out the images I took last year. I would recommend the event to anyone who enjoys fashion or technology.

MakeFashion 2015 at the TELUS Spark (Photo by Tina Amini/SAIT Polytechnic)
MakeFashion 2015 at the TELUS Spark (Photo by Tina Amini/SAIT Polytechnic)
(Photo by Tina Amini/SAIT Polytechnic)
(Photo by Tina Amini/SAIT Polytechnic)

And it’s not just for show. Take for example, Alleles Design Studio who design and create prosthetic limbs — their work is both breath-taking and meaningful.

(Photo by Tina Amini/SAIT Polytechnic)
(Photo by Tina Amini/SAIT Polytechnic)

I can’t wait to see what Make Fashion has in store for this year! Be sure to re-visit the Beakerhead website next week for my review blog of this Saturday’s event.

By Tina Amini (SAIT journalist student and Beakerhead 2016 intern) - Above image is from MakeFashion 2015  photography copyright Jeff McDonald


Beakerhead the offspring of art and science!

by Tina Amini (SAIT journalism student and Beakerhead intern)

Imagine if art and science had a child, their child would be called Beakerhead!

So one of my first tasks as this year’s Beakerhead intern was to go explore Calgary for links to my own interpretation of what Beakerhead is.

For me, Beakerhead lights up curiosity and causes intrigue, interacting with our community to give us a mash up of education and art.

The Chinook Arc, a piece of public art at the corner of 12th Avenue and 9th Street SW (in Barb Scott Park) screams the Beakerhead movement. NB: Beakerhead had nothing to do with this awesome public art but triggers inspiration of the same movement.

When I look at the Chinook Arc I immediately think: What is it? Who made it? Why?

The curiosity that comes with this piece of public art brings the community together, whether that be the surrounding neighbours or for me; my pals and I. It becomes something that is both admired and questioned.

So much like Beakerhead that brings science to life in various forms providing the dual awe and wonder for people of any community

As a registered Canadian charity Beakerhead is changing and paving the way for science, art and engineering in Canada, and beyond! Many look forward to the September week of events that are organized each year, but did you know that there are workshops and experiences throughout the year too? If not, make the Beakerhead Events page a bookmark!

Take a look at some photos I took that remind me of Beakerhead. The photos share a common theme: not just art that is put up by the city in hopes of brightening it up, but art that brings the community together. 

Display of LED lights creating art in Calgary on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. This photo was taken during Beakernight. (Photo by Tina Amini/SAIT Polytechnic)
Display of LED lights creating art in Calgary on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. This photo was taken during Beakernight. (Photo by Tina Amini/SAIT Polytechnic)
Calgarians engaging in art on display during beakernight in Calgary on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015.(Photo by Tina Amini/SAIT Polytechnic)
Calgarians engaging in art on display during Beakernight in Calgary on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. (Photo by Tina Amini/SAIT Polytechnic)
Shot taken of Wonderland on Tuesday, March 22, 2016. (Photo by Tina Amini/Beakerhead)
Shot taken of Wonderland on Tuesday, March 22, 2016. (Photo by Tina Amini/Beakerhead)

The Evolution of Food in Space

By Tina Amini (SAIT journalism student and intern for Beakerhead 2016)

I recall being a student in middle school when real live astronauts came to talk to my class about life in space. I was so excited to learn about their lives in space.

Even better, they let us have a taste of living in space, literally! I remember (perhaps not too fondly) the peanut butter and jelly, which I first thought was toothpaste. In fact, everything came in the same packaging as toothpaste, there were different sizes and shapes, but all in airtight packaging that you could squeeze food out of.

From that moment on, I knew that living in space was not my future calling. I love food way too much!

Recent studies taken by NASA show that astronauts who spend long periods of time in space have their sensory reactions diminish. Even worse, the lack of gravity an astronaut experiences is also felt by the “food” that is trying to stay down to be digested … it doesn’t always stay down (warning: don’t stand next to your fellow astronaut after eating!).

Imagine spending months in space and having to eat mushy foods from a squeezable package that you can barely taste due to your diminished senses or because you’ll taste it again when it comes back up! Nope, again not for me!

But thankfully, since my middle school days, food in space has definitely evolved, hopefully for the better.

Check out this infograph by Ana Brady from that shows the evolution of space food, which purports that today space food tastes something like what we eat on earth. If only, this was presented to me in middle school, then I may have indeed had a space calling!
Infographic - Evolution of Food in Space: From Bland Puree to Almost Like on Earth

A day of raw imagination

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On Saturday, January 9, 24 participants journeyed backstage with the magic of The Little Prince – The Musical, and learned how to design and build inflatable art moons and planets.

Award-winning Set and Costume Designer Bretta Gerecke ignited everyone’s imagination in a whole new way, and then put those skills to use to create a collaborative inflatable floating artwork of moons and planets.

The results were truly delightful!

Photos by Andre Goulet.

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How would an astronaut fair in the #OtherHandChallenge?

The astronaut, donned by Rocket House, attempted to hammer nails in the #OtherHandChallenge.

Let’s just say that he won’t be invited to the Space Station to do repairs!

Donations to Beakerhead for the creation of life-long learning programs at the crossroads of art and science, are always welcome and appreciated – click here to donate.

Leor Rotchild pumps for the #OtherHandChallenge

Sustainability Consultant and Entrepreneur Leor Rotchild does a one-handed pushup for the #OtherHandChallenge. See if he actually makes it back up!

Donations to Beakerhead for the creation of life-long learning programs at the crossroads of art and science, are always welcome and appreciated – click here to donate.

Photographer Neil Zeller snaps up the #OtherHandChallenge

Neil Zeller took the Beakerhead #OtherHandChallenge and showed us that when it comes to handling the camera, the camera is the boss!

Donations to Beakerhead for the creation of life-long learning programs at the crossroads of art and science, are always welcome and appreciated – click here to donate.

Fluevog packages up the #OtherHandChallenge

CJ from John Fluevog Shoes in Calgary took the Beakerhead ‪#‎OtherHandChallenge‬ and showed us that we should not leave packaging Christmas gifts with our non-dominant hand … unless we wanted to be included in the packaging!

Donations to Beakerhead for the creation of life-long learning programs at the crossroads of art and science, are always welcome and appreciated – click here to donate.

Dr Huynh brushes up the #OtherHandChallenge

Orthodontist John Huynh took the Beakerhead ‪#‎OtherHandChallenge‬ brushing his patient’s teeth with his non-dominant hand.

Donations to Beakerhead for the creation of life-long learning programs at the crossroads of art and science, are always welcome – click here to donate.

Whitehall Restaurant dices up the #OtherHandChallenge

Chef Neil Mccue from Whitehall Restaurant took the Beakerhead ‪#‎OtherHandChallenge‬ and didn’t cut a finger in the process … relief!

Donations to Beakerhead for the creation of life-long learning programs at the crossroads of art and science, are always welcome – click here to donate.

Learn more about Whitehall Restaurant at

Beakerhead drills through the #OtherHandChallenge

Laura Wells from Beakerhead took the ‪#‎OtherHandChallenge‬! Using your non-dominant hand is harder than you Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 10.40.41 AMthink, but Laura drilled in style and didn’t injure herself!

Donations to Beakerhead for the creation of life-long learning programs at the crossroads of art and science, are always welcome – click here to donate.

Pulse Studios throws down the #OtherHandChallenge

Gomo from Pulse Studios took the Beakerhead ‪#‎OtherHandChallenge‬! Using your non-dominant hScreen Shot 2015-12-02 at 10.27.46 AMand is harder than you think, but Gomo did it in super style!


And donations to Beakerhead for the creation of life-long learning programs at the crossroads of art and science, are always welcome – click here to donate.

CBC Eyeopener takes the #OtherHandChallenge

CBC Eyeopener’s Angela Knight and David Gray took the #OtherHandChallenge today with Beakerhead co-founder Jay Ingram. Watch how they did.

Learn more about Beakerhead’s #OtherHandChallenge on Giving Tuesday – click here!

CBC Eyeopener takes the #OtherHandChallenge from Beakerhead on Vimeo.

Year three flew in on the wings of a butterfly!

Many people are surprised to learn that Beakerhead is only three years old. In this short time, it has been embraced as a cultural event that reflects the complexity and ambitions of who we are today – people from all walks of life who value what we can learn from each other!

Download the 2015 Impact Report

And the Golden Beaker goes to …

Sunalta School’s Grade 6 Class!

Congratulations again to Calgary’s Sunalta School who were today named Atomic 13 Ingenuity Challenge Champions! Presenting them with the Golden Beaker was Beakerhead Co-founder Jay Ingram, who surprisingly was upstaged by six-graders Finn and Sabina who emceed the all-school and media presentation.

Sunalta School emcees and headmaster. Photo by Denise Kitagawa

Emcees Sabina and Finn with Principal Trevor Barkley and Teacher Karen Anderson and Jay Ingram. Photo by Denise Kitagawa

Kudos to the 46 Grade 6 students who competed amongst 8,000 Alberta-based students from 108 schools.

Grade 6 receive the Golden Beaker. Photo by Denise Kitagawa
Grade 6 receive the Golden Beaker. Photo by Denise Kitagawa

DEADLINE SOON for Big Bang Residency Applications

CALL FOR PROPOSALS – Deadline October 9, 2015

Big Bang Residency invites artists and engineers to create new works of art and spectacle

Artists, designers, engineers and technicians are invited to submit proposals to create a new multidisciplinary work of art that will be supported through a program called the Big Bang Residency.

The work will be built over the course of a year by a team of four or five, with backgrounds ranging from art and design to science and engineering, and will premiere on September 14, 2016, at Beakerhead  in Calgary, Canada.

The year of building will be bracketed by two one-week periods in residence, provided by The Banff Centre in support of this program. A globally respected arts, cultural, and educational institution, The Banff Centre is providing expertise and oversight to the selection and creative development process.

The successful team will also be provided with a materials budget of CAD 24,000, additional support for space and equipment rental, and an artist fee for each team member (up to five) of CAD 5,000, through funding from the Remarkable Experience Accelerator, a joint initiative of Calgary Arts Development and the Calgary Hotel Association.

The selection jury is made up of art and engineering professionals from around the world. The deadline for proposals is October 9, 2015, and the successful team will be notified by November 6, 2015.

This is the first year for this three-year program, spearheaded by Beakerhead, an annual smash up of art, science and engineering that erupted in Calgary in 2013.

Click here for details

Photo: The Fabulist by Bee Kingdom – the first friendly, artificially intelligent inflatable artwork. Photo by Neil Zeller Photography. 

Video: What’s In the Petri Dish?!

On September 16, 2015, the third year of Beakerhead exploded with hundreds of photons and science advocate and Grammy-winning rapper, GZA, Canadian astronaut, David Saint-Jacques, and Canadian broadcaster, Jay Ingram.

Directed by: Jarett Sitter –
Edited by: Cody Giles, Jarett Sitter
Videographers: Erik Johnston, Cody Giles, Jarett Sitter, JJ Westbury, Ashley Ohman
Aerial Videography: Matthew Allen
Music: Smalltown DJs – See Thru feat. Lisa Lobsinger
Event Art Direction by Kate Newby

Check out images from Opening Night with GZA by the Beakerhead Photo Crew. Top photo by Brett Morrison.

50,000 + science + engineering = Beakernight love!

More than 50,000 Calgarians and visitors streamed onto four blocks of avenue and alleyway for a delightful collision of art, science and engineering! On the to-do list for next year? More fire power. Faster line-ups. Intergalactic visitors? We’re on it! Thanks to all who made it a truly unique experience!

Video by Vera Hill

Check out the photos from Beakerhead too! Click here

Beakerhead: In Pictures

Beakerhead 2015 week has officially ended. Thanks to everyone who participated, from volunteers, artists, engineers, makers to presenters and crew members, and from dogs and bunnies to … crickets?!

62 events in dozens of different locations around Calgary.

Enjoy Beakerhead: In Pictures brought to you by the Beakerhead Photo Crew.

Click here for Beakerhead: In Pictures

Date Night … in a lab?!

Growing up, I’d never hesitate to pass up the chemistry lab in favour of the library, and conjugating verbs was more my speed than controlling variables. If my science teacher had let me make my own ice cream, taste test top-notch tonic water, or beat my friends in a balancing contest, though, I would have been the first one in class with my lab coat on. On Beakerhead’s Late Night Labs tour, participants will have the chance to do all of this and more, and there’s no research report to hand in when it’s all over!

Pre-lab takes place at Container Bar, where Late Night Lab-ers will be treated to a mystery molecular cocktail. From Kensington, they’ll be whisked off to the University of Calgary, where they’ll put on their lab coats and get down to business, and by business I mean balancing on one foot with their eyes closed, testing their hand washing skills under black light, and making pennies into silver keepsakes. Who knew studying could be so much fun?

We all how hard it is to concentrate in class on an empty stomach, so renowned Calgary chef Nicole Gomes will be supplying dinner to go. She wowed the judges on Top Chef with her creative creations, so I’m pretty envious of the lucky crew that will be eating her gourmet treats on Thursday.

When I’m ready to rush to the lab, you know there has got to be some pretty special science going on. Sadly for me, Late Night Labs is all sold out, but those of you on the tour better get ready for the science class you always wish you had!

By Heather Gummo (Beakerhead Social Media Crew)

Bill Was Here!

A hungry friend will roam the streets during Beakerhead this September… and his name is Bill!

Bill is a money-eating robot complete with swallowing device made from printer parts. His body parts are custom-made steel. He’s a pretty slick robot, thanks to artist Cory Barkman.

As his name suggests, Bill will be making guest appearances at Beakerhead events with his healthy appetite for donations. Feeding Bill is a hands-on experience. First raise his nose to switch on the intake rollers, hear the gears turning then Bill will slurp up his snack, right out of your hand.


All of Bill’s “food” will go straight to supporting more Beakerhead events and programs in Calgary. This includes engaging thousands of students in combined art, science and engineering education programs.

With Beakerhead in its third year of full-swing festivities, Bill is also part of making sure that amazing art/science explosions keep happening across the city.

“Bill is a fun way to donate to a great cause and, like Beakerhead, is a made-in-Alberta original!” says Laura Wells, Director of Development at Beakerhead.


Check out more of Cory’s work.

Look for Bill at Beakerhead events to feed the hungry little guy! You can also follow Bill’s mischief on Twitter @beakerhead  #billwashere

The Barron Building welcomes Beakerhead


As an innovative company that sets no boundaries on creativity, Strategic Group is pleased to dust off the Barron Building and open its doors to several Beakerhead events.

The Gorgeous MoleculeThe Gorgeous Libation, and the Temporary Gallery of Lasting Impressions will debut Sept. 17-20 where science, cuisine, creative libations, and contemporary art will occupy and bring the historic building to life.

Though the building has not been in use for several years and construction has not commenced, Strategic Group has volunteered the expertise of several teams to ensure the necessary requirements are met in order to safely open the space to the public.

Strategic Group’s COO Randy Ferguson says, “We are excited to support Beakerhead. Their programs directly align with our values of being creative and unconventional and are representative of the engineering and scientific industries in which we employ to a large degree.”

Beakerhead is also associated with and highly recognized in the arts community – a passion and commitment Strategic Group can relate to.

“We find the imagination that Beakerhead is able to generate extremely exciting and we look forward to celebrating the event as well as the Barron Building’s history, with the opportunity to showcase its future,” says Ferguson.

With the goal to preserve the building’s historical and character-defining elements, while redeveloping it into a modern building, the iconic Barron Building will soon see a unique transformation and regain its eminence.

But first, Beakerhead.

Written by Roxana Secara, Advisor, Brand & Community, Strategic Group

Step this way. Photo by Andre Goulet
Step this way. Photo by Andre Goulet
Pull. Photo by Denise Kitagawa
Pull. Photo by Denise Kitagawa
Mid-transition. Photo by Denise Kitagawa
Mid-transition. Photo by Denise Kitagawa

The Science of Animation


When watching your favourite blockbuster this summer did you think about what happened every single second during the movie? Not likely. Nor did you wonder about when one second ended and the next began, never mind 1/24th of each second. But for animators Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis it’s a way of life. The award winning National Film Board artists are featured this year at Beakerhead because of the science. Wait, what? There is a keen science to animation that Wendy notes “is extraordinarily tedious and time consuming but the thrill of seeing it come alive keeps you coming back to the table to do more”. From the math of calculating 24 frames a second to the physics of each and every detailed movement – acceleration, motion, how things drop, deceleration – Amanda and Wendy say “we are aiming for an organic math”.

So why don’t we see it? This is the beauty of animation. Different from film where the camera is creating the frames while recording the movement, animators are filming it one at a time. The goal Amanda says “is for the science to be invisible to the audience. We want them to experience the art. And it doesn’t matter if it’s Computer Graphics or the simplest of cut outs – it must transcend the science.”

It is largely intuitive and can’t be too perfect or it doesn’t feel natural. However they agree that a technical foundation is crucial before the intuition can take over; “it has to feel right or that precision overwhelms the original idea”.

Check out Wendy and Amanda’s work at and be sure not to miss BLEAKERHEAD or … Labours of Love and Technology at TELUS Spark September 18 from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm. This is a ticketed event for a paltry $20 – well worth the dosh! Buy tickets here!

Schulich School of Engineering fuels the Beakerhead movement

The idea, the spark, the very notion of Beakerhead has a long story with many hands and minds coming together. But the fuel was to be found at the University of Calgary’s Schulich School of Engineering. From fledgling idea to full blown collaboration, Beakerhead and Schulich have a love affair like no other. They continue their sponsorship of the Festo Canada events including this year’s Bionic Flyer (a.k.a. BionicOpter) at the University of Calgary and the Calgary Zoo, but their relationship and support extend into the teaching curriculum at the school as well.

When asked about the relationship, Dean Bill Rosehart says, “Beakerhead reflects a more powerful meaning of what engineering is and what it needs to be in the future.”

He explains that at Schulich design is integral to the program and introduced right from the beginning. However it is also the inclusion of team collaboration and the notion that “there’s never one solution” he thinks is key. Rosehart notes it is this diversity of community, both within the school and the Calgary community at large, that brings out the program’s strengths.

Last year Huffington Post columnist Gene Marks wrote in his blog post “6 Reasons Why You Should Be an Engineer”;

“To be an engineer you need a certain type of intelligence that you won’t find in a communications, government or economic major. You need to be creative like an artist, and detailed like an accountant. You need to be independent and self confident. You need math and science and programming skills. It’s a specialty that requires using both the left and right brains. Some people have it, that technical and creative predisposition. And some don’t. If you have it then you should major in engineering. Why? Because the world needs engineers.”

Well we couldn’t agree more. Don’t miss the Bionic Flyer at the University of Calgary on September 17 from 11:00 am – 1:00 (free, drop-in and everyone welcome) and then later at the Calgary Zoo September 18 from 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm (Zoo ticket entry applies). And if you see an engineer…show them some love!

They may look crazy …

but Nanoleaf makes the world’s most energy efficient light bulbs

Introduction reprinted with permission from 

Every so often you come across a cool tech device that blows your mind, and makes you rethink what you thought about a gadget. In this case, it’s an everyday object that’s been re-imagined: the light bulb.

Since Edison’s day, light bulbs have been largely the same shape and structure: glass chambers with tiny wire filament inside, heated to glowing by an electrical current. While in modern days we’ve seen the introduction of compact fluorescents, and LED lights, the lowly light bulb has been largely the same, until now.

Enter Nanoleaf. The small startup, with a University of Toronto grad at its helm, began life on Kickstarter. Hoping to raise $30,000 the Nanoleaf team shot past their fundraising goal in 24 hours (2 hours, to be exact!), going on to get over $192,000 pledged to their goal of reinventing the light bulb. These can-do inventors are coming to Beakerhead, the art science and engineering event in Calgary (September 16-20, 2015).

Read further…

Jazzy things to do at Beakerhead

Blog by Janique St Prix

This year Beakerhead is planning a load of interesting and exciting things to do for all ages. Incorporating my three favorite things art, science and engineering, showing how they’re linked to everyday life in extravagant ways. This is the third year that they are doing this. And I’m really looking forward to what they have to offer.

This is my first time at Beakerhead, both going to the events and helping out. But I’m already so excited! The main events I’m well looking forward to are; the Opening Night with GZA, Temporary Gallery of Lasting Impressions (which is part of A String (Theory) of Incredible Encounters), Beakernight, Late Night Labs, Catharsis Catapult Competition, A Trip Down the Rabbit Hole, Inuit Astronomy, Designing Disruption: Merging Fashion and Technology, and Immunity Attack. This may sound like a lot of things, but it’s only a sample of all 68 events throughout those five days [September 16th-20th].

These events would be a bunch of fun if you came with a few friends; I know I’m going to be taking some with. It’s a great chance to learn some really interesting things no matter how weird it initially sounds. For example, the Bugs and Beers event on Wednesday, September 16 will be a blast! You drink beer and eat crickets (eww, I know), but it’s so intriguing to know how it tastes (lol). Who knew that a cricket has more iron and calcium than a COW!

Another great thing about all these events is that majority of them are free (which sounds great to me). And you can also voluntarily donate money, as all donations go to programs which open doors into the world of science and engineering especially for children and youth who are the age of tomorrow.

Thanks to Janique St Prix for sending Beakerhead this blog entry!

How to be Fabulous … by The Fabulist

Calgary-based glassblowing collective, Bee Kingdom, is bringing something out of this world to Beakerhead 2015, and it’s not made of glass.

Founders Ryan Fairweather, Phillip Bandura, and Tim Belliveau are famous for their fun and colourful pieces smashing together everything from nature and mythology to cute culture and technology. Their Beakerhead experience will be no exception with the world premiere of The Fabulist (or perhaps you prefer Eh.I. as an alternate name). Stretching their creative super muscles, Bee Kingdom has ventured into fabric inflatables – a 35-foot artificially intelligent Canadian robot designed to make first contact with alien life on another planet inflatable – to be sure.

It’s not a huge stretch says co-founder Phillip Bandura. The Fabulist is also a 3D sculpture, which is similar to what they do now, explaining it’s an opportunity to exercise their creative muscles without the intense commitment of glass. He notes they have wanted to work with inflatables since their first attendance at the Pictoplasma Conference and Festival in Berlin, Germany. Bandura explains “the crossover makes sense because glass is also an inflatable medium. When you’re inflating anything you are working with soft edges,” noting the challenges and limitations are the same. Glass blown art has craftsmanship along with the idea of the piece, making it more accessible to the audience – even if the vision of the art doesn’t grab you, the craftsmanship will. Bee Kingdom thinks this new piece will appeal to a large group of people for the same reason.

Phillip says they have always enjoyed glass as a medium; “it’s very methodical in setting up the studio to work but then it moves fast so you need to be flexible and spontaneous because mistakes are costly”. Glass is an amorphous solid meaning it’s rigid but has a molecular structure that’s random like a liquid. Made up of silica (high-quality sand), soda (sodium dioxide) and lime (calcium oxide), glass used for glassblowing has other materials added. Metals and metal oxides are used to lower the melting point of the mixture. Glass completely melts/liquefies at approximately 1400 °C to 1600 °C depending on the composition of the glass. Bee Kingdom’s furnace heats to between 1150-1200 °C with the idea to lower the temperature of the glass which extends the workability. Glass shatters 500 °C so they are constantly trying to keep it above that point. The key science Bandura says is in the rate of contraction and expansion, or the COE (Coefficient of Expansion). Bee Kingdom uses Spectrum glass which has a COE of around 96, while Corning’s Pyrex glassware for comparison has a 32 COE. This prevents it from blowing up in the microwave.

Bandura thinks The Fabulist marries the art and craftsmanship; hopefully you find it cute and funny and magical but if not, the science and craftsmanship will appeal to those maybe not jiving with the vision of the art. Fabulist means storyteller and this 35-foot robot will be a representative of Canada – going out and telling our story as Canadians.

The Fabulist will be open to the public from September 16 – 20 during park hours at the new St. Patrick’s Island with daily island tours hosted by East Village. Be sure to test your own breaking point (read: food trucks and Bassbus) with the Co-efficient of Expansion party and artist talk on Friday, September 18, 6:00 – 8:00 pm.