Innovative artists in the creative fields.

  • “3Dvarius”: Classical Beauty January 20, 2017

    Who would have guessed that a 3D-printed violin could produce concert-quality sound?

    That was Laurent Bernadac’s vision, five years ago.  Today, he’s made it a reality, with his invention: the “3Dvarius”.

    Laurent, who is both a mechanical engineer and a professional violinist, has created the world’s first fully 3D-printed electric concert violin.  He conceived the idea in 2012. according to his website.   After first trying to create a violin in aluminum, he turned to 3D printing.  The result?

    His “3Dvarius”, designed to play classical music as beautifully as a standard concert violin.

    In early January, Laurent exhibited his  innovation at CES® 2017’s Eureka Park™ Marketplace, in Las Vegas.   He also allowed fellow violinists a chance to play his new instrument–and the sound was incredible!

    Laurent talked about the process of designing, testing and marketing the “3Dvarius”.

    In this edition of Over Coffee® you’ll hear:
    • How Laurent came to choose 3D printing for his new violin;
    • Some of the challenges involved in creating it;
    • Laurent’s experiences testing and showcasing his new instrument;
    • His advice to fellow makers and innovators;
    • Where to see and hear the “3Dvarius” and meet Laurent!
    (Will you be at the National Association of Music Merchants trade show, in Anaheim, January 19th-22, 2017 in Anaheim?  Laurent will be there throughout the show, playing and giving a presentation on his new “3Dvarius” electric concert violin!
    Can’t make it to NAMM?  Here’s the link to Laurent’s YouTube channel, where you can see him play his 3Dvarius violin and check out the sound for yourself!)
  • A Creative Countdown January 1, 2017
    by Dot Cannon

    The 2017 Rose Parade® would happen in just over three days–and counting.

    Each completed float would contain more flowers than one florist uses in five years.

    And decorators were hard at work on Thursday afternoon in Pasadena.

    One of the main “Decorating Places” viewing areas was Phoenix Decorating Company’s Rosemont pavilion.


    While the roses wouldn’t go on until later, volunteers and staff were busily attaching dried materials.

    According to their website, Phoenix Decorating Company is supplying eighteen of the forty-three floats scheduled for the 2017 Rose Parade®.

    The Rotary International float’s theme is “Rotary: Doing Good in the World”.

    A friendly gold-pink-and-purple dragon wears a “100” medallion to commemorate Rotary International’s hundred years of service.  The dragon will blink its eyes and breathe smoke along the parade route, according to the Tournament of Roses®’ press information.  It will also be wearing a Rotary International medallion, dangling from its twenty-foot tail!

    Nearby was the Union Bank float, themed “Keep the Beat Alive”.  Union Bank and the American Heart Association are jointly presenting this one.

    Riding on this float on New Year’s Day will be a CPR survivor: actress/recording artist Ilisa Juried.  She’ll be in the DJ booth at the float’s center, playing both an original song she co-wrote and other songs at 100 beats per minute.  A “CPR Dance Team” will perform to the music, doing a CPR-inspired dance she choreographed, Tournament of Roses® officials say.

    Why 100 beats per minute?  That’ss the recommended compression rate for CPR!  And the float was pretty impressive…

    …even before they tested the red-white-and-blue LED lights.

    The average Rose Parade® float takes between four and six months to build, Phoenix Decorating company officials say.  Then, decorating it with fresh materials takes between four and five days.

    The day we visited, we saw mostly the dry-decoration stage.

    However, one decorator was attaching yellow chrysanthemums to the giraffe on the Kiwanis float.

    Themed, “Children’s Dreams, the World’s Potential”, this one depicts the toys and books a child might enjoy while dreaming of the future.   Those dreams, of course, would lead to future success, in keeping with the 2017 parade’s “Echoes of Success” theme.

    “Is that cotton?” we asked a decorator.  “Yes,” he replied, “and the lamb’s face is made with strawberries.”

    More viewing opportunities awaited, just a short walk away.

    Vehicles for the Rose Parade® dignitaries had not yet been decorated with flowers.  (The temperature remained in the eighties on Thursday.)  But visitors could see the cars in an outdoor pavilion.

    This year, the Rose Parade® will have three Grand Marshals.  Each will travel in a separate vehicle.

    This 1911 Pierce Arrow will be Janet Evans’ ride on Monday morning.

    In the Brookside Pavilion, decorators were working on additional floats.

    The Ragu® Pasta Sauce float’s theme is “Simmered in Tradition”.   According to Phoenix Decorating Company’s press materials, the Ragu® company wanted “the reddest float in the parade”.  The fifty tomatoes, hanging over the arch, are made with more than 25,000 carnations.

    And this is the Cal Poly Universities’ float, themed “A New Leaf”.  Cal Poly Universities are one of only six independent float builders, or “self-builts”, in the Rose Parade®.

    The Cal Poly Universities float is unique, in that it’s the only student-built float in the parade.  It’s also the only float built in two different places!  Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Cal Poly Pomona each build half of the float on their respective campuses.  Then, in October, the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo students bring their half south, and students join the two halves together.

    And those are just a few of the floats we’ll see tomorrow morning, as the Tournament of Roses® Parade wows crowds for the 128th time with its “Echoes of Success”!  Have a safe and happy New Year, and we’ll see you on the parade route.

    The 128th annual Rose Parade® starts Monday, January 2, 2017 at 8:00 am, Pacific time, at Colorado and Orange Grove Boulevards.  Here’s the link for the parade route.    Following the parade, the “Post Parade Float Viewing Showcase” opens at 1:00 pm at Sierra Madre and Washington Boulevards.  Hours are 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm on January 2nd, and 9:00 am to 4:00 pm on January 3rd.  Here’s the link for information.
  • Preparing to Launch into 2017 December 31, 2016
    by Dot Cannon

    Thousands of roses, thirty-nine years of tradition–and three days left until the parade.

    That’s what the La Canada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association was facing, on Thursday, as they worked to complete their thirty-ninth Rose Parade® float, “Backyard Rocketeer”.

    The 2017 float depicts a child who built a rocket from objects he found in his backyard.  Traveling through space, he’s surrounded by stars, and  twenty-three planets of varying sizes.  A friendly alien waves “hello” as the rocket ship approaches.  The young rocketeer’s dog is along for the ride, equipped with his own space helmet.

    Now, all that remained to be done was covering every inch of the float with live materials, to supply the colors, before the parade.

    “We’re right on schedule,” said one of the volunteers.

    At the float barn on Thursday afternoon, the weather was not very Decemberish.  At one point, the temperature registered 84 degrees!  With the parade happening on Monday, no roses were going on “Backyard Rocketeer” as yet.

    But the volunteers had a number of tasks to keep them busy.

    “They have a special tool that removes the thorns,” a docent said. “There will be almost thirty thousand roses (on the float when we’re done).”

    At the time of our visit, those thorns had been removed, and plenty of dry decoration was going on.

    Brussels sprouts and split peas will be among the ingredients used to create the green “alien”.     Meanwhile, decorators will be using cranberry fiber and kanoa seed for the planets.  Seaweed, blue statice and buffalo grass will create the dog’s “fur” and helmet.

    And like all float decorators, the La Canada Flintridge Tournament of Roses volunteers were working against the clock.  They were expecting the first visit from the float judges on December 31st.

    At one time, most Rose Parade® floats were built and decorated non-commercially–by either individuals or communities.  Today, only six of them come from independent organizations, known as “self-builts”.  These nonprofit groups raise their own funds and create their parade entries independently.

    (The six organizations are: South Pasadena Tournament of Roses, Sierra Madre Rose Float Association, Downey Rose Float Association, Burbank Tournament of Roses Association, Cal Poly Universities, and, of course, La Canada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association.)

    And their professionalism is HDTV-quality.  All six self-builts received awards for their floats in the 2016 Rose Parade®.   La Canada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association, which has been participating in the parade since 1978, won the “Bob Hope Humor Award”, for their float “Up a Creek”.

    So, what do independent Rose Parade® float builders need, besides creativity, dedication and talent?  At least sixty thousand dollars, according to a “by the numbers” listing posted for visitors to La Canada Flintridge’s float site.  Construction of the float itself costs between twenty-five and thirty thousand dollars.

    And then, there are the flowers–which the same list shows as costing between thirty and thirty-five thousand dollars.

    However, those figures are a fraction of commercial costs.  The Tournament of Roses®’ website gives $275,000 as “average construction and design costs” for 2018 float participants.

    Looking forward to 2017–and beyond

    Very little sleep appears to be in the immediate future for some members of La Canada Flintridge Tournament of Roses.  The posted schedule listed the float’s departure from the float barn as “sometime after 6 pm” on New Year’s Day.  The 15-ton float travels at five miles per hour from its location to parade lineup. (And it moves at half that speed, in the actual parade.)

    Then, when the Rose Parade® starts at 8:00 on Monday morning, “Backyard Rocketeer”‘s magic will be a team effort.  Inside the float will be the driver, float observer, and a third operator, running the animation.   The docent with whom we spoke said the spaceship will be moving up and down, as well as sideways, as the float travels down Colorado Boulevard.

    Would you like to see “Backyard Rocketeer”?  Here’s the link for information on the 128th Rose Parade®, themed “Echoes of Success”.  The parade starts on Monday, January 2nd (due to New Year’s Day having fallen on a Sunday) at 8 am at Colorado and Orange Grove.

    Can’t be in Pasadena at that time but you’d like to see “Backyard Rocketeer”–and the other floats–anyway?  Here’s the link for details on®”Post Parade Showcase” float viewing, after the 2017 Rose Parade®’s forty floats have wowed parade crowds.

    Meanwhile, La Canada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association is already looking ahead.

    They’ve already opened their “Float Design Concept Contest” for 2018–and you’ve invited to submit your ideas, online, no later than January 18th!  The winner gets two grandstand tickets to the 2018 Rose Parade®.

    Have fun, be kind, and Happy New Year!




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