Those who have been following chumby for awhile know that we have always encouraged others to take what we’ve done and to push it into new directions. We’ve been delighted with various developments (“hacks”) that build off of chumby’s electronics — our open schematics are published on our web site. We’re thrilled when software developers make the chumby platform do something that we never even imagined it would do. Of course, we love our amazing widget developers — always blowing us away with their cleverness and creativity. Especially widgets like RoboClock, and Anatomy of a Clock, and chumbyland, and just too many others to name and everyone has their own favorites.
But I have always been especially delighted with emergent chumby “craft hacks,” a phenomenon fairly unique to chumby. One of the main reasons that we made chumby soft and malleable, was the encouragement we thought it might give to the vast craft movement to bring their talents and to consider adorning things electronic. The goal was to enable someone to hack their chumby with a seam-ripper as much as with a soldering iron. We got some very crude craft hacks at first — remember “telechumby?” But the crafting side of chumby has grown more sophisticated. Susan Kare’s chumby charms were a wink to the creative crafting element, likewise her packaging concepts for chumby. And we loved chumbyskins. But I always hoped that someday someone would tackle the task of treating the “stock chumby” as a creative canvas itself and elevate it to a true handcrafted work of art.
Sara Antoinette Martin did exactly that with her hand-painted, hand-crafted “goldfish” chumbys — only 5 painstakingly produced and now for sale at chumby’s online store (well, actually only 4 are available because I’m buying one myself).
We love kidrobot, part of Sara’s resume, and have been inspired by their design ethos. Sara’s designer chumbys are really something to behold — they look even cooler in reality, and these pictures don’t do them justice. If you want the most amazing chumby ever, this is it. They’re not cheap, but for something that an artist of Sara’s caliber slaved over for weeks….? A bargain!
We hope that Sara’s efforts will inspire other artists to try their hands at creating custom chumbys. If you’re an artist, are taken with chumby, and do great work, let us know. If this current experiment is popular, we would love nothing more than to populate chumby’s store with amazing, limited edition masterpieces.
I only wish that all of my sterile, mass-produced electronic products had this kind of hand-crafted soul.