Staff Recommendation: The Toaster Project: or, A Heroic Attempt to Build a Simple Electric Appliance from Scratch

Have you ever looked at a simple machine or object and figured, given the right materials, you could make one? If you have, where do you think you would even get those materials? In The Toaster Project, Thomas Thwaites sets out to make, you guessed it, a toaster, completely from scratch. This small book is divided into sections based on the materials needed and how Thwaites sets out to acquire them, from pouring a gooey potato concoction into hand-carved molds to make a kind of plastic, to digging for iron ore. There are even correspondences with different experts who charitably (and with varying levels of enthusiasm) try to help Thwaites with his seemingly ridiculous goal.

I first picked up The Toaster Project in college to pass some time. It’s a pretty short read and, in my opinion, interesting enough that you can get through it in one sitting. It’s ended up really sticking with me, and when I saw it in our collection I knew I had to pick it up again. I think what I love about it is that the book and the project are at once self-contained and expansive. There’s something satisfying about getting from one end of the book to the other, seeing the initial conception of the idea and the journey all the way to the final strange-looking, mildly-functional toaster. Thwaites set out to make something and then made it, and that’s that. But the book also brings up broader questions about industry, the environment, the human experience, and more. Where do your things really come from? How long do they take to make and how long do they last? How separated are we from the production of the things around us? And what even is a toaster?

If you’re interested in those kinds of questions, or just in design, fabrication, sculpture, industry, environmentalism, or really any number of various related topics, I suggest giving this book a try. Aside from the project itself, the writing in the book is honest, funny, and just the right amount of self-deprecating. And if you’re interested in Thwaites’ work, you should also check out another of his well known projects, GoatMan: How I Took a Holiday from Being Human.

Find The Toaster Project at Greenfield Library, call # NK1447.6.T49 A35 2011

~Recommended by Kait Sanchez, Music Library Circulation Assistant 

Digital Resource of the Week: Artstor

The University Libraries provides students, faculty, and staff access to Artstor’s expansive digital image library consisting of over two million, high-resolution images from museum and archival collections around the globe.

Did you know that, in the past year, Artstor has implemented a variety of new tools that are totally worth checking out? Whether you’re looking for visual study tools to help you prepare for an upcoming art history exam or are wondering how to properly cite artwork in your bibliography  — the Artstor online database has you covered! Here are two new features available on Artstor that we thought were pretty awesome and wanted to share with the UArts community:

Artstor’s new Quiz Mode feature provides students with the ability to create an interactive flashcard feature that can be used to study for exams while in fullscreen mode. This flashcard feature is even available on mobile so you can study on the go! To activate Quiz Mode, first select an image and click on the Full Screen icon to launch full screen. In the lower right corner, click Quiz Mode Off.

Notice how the captions disappear and you can use the arrows on your keyboard to navigate through the group of images? Pretty cool right?! Visit this image group tutorial we created and try it out yourself!

Artstor also provides students with the option to create citations instantly in APA, MLA, and Chicago styles. All you have to do is navigate to your the image you’d like to cite, open it, then click the “Generate Citation” button. Next, a window will appear providing you with the artwork’s citation in three different formats available to copy and paste directly into the bibliography section of your paper:

To get the most of out your Artstor experience, it is imperative that you register and create an Artstor account. You can access the Artstor database by visiting library.uarts.edu

If you have any questions, need assistance setting up your Artstor account, or are interested in learning more about Artstor, please contact Laura Grutzeck, our Visual Resources and Special Collections Librarian by email or stop by the VRSC located on the mezzanine level of Anderson Hall!

Staff Recommendation – David Bowie Made Me Gay

Newly arrived at the UArts Music Library, David Bowie Made Me Gay, by Darryl W. Bullock, is a chronicle of the past century of the extraordinary contributions to the world of music made by people in the LGBTQ community.  Bullock covers several historical time periods, mostly focusing on countries within the Anglosphere. Taking us through the drag parties of the 1920-30s Pansy Craze era, the underground LGBTQ life of the WWII and post-war period, the liberation of the post-Stonewall era, to the ongoing fight for acceptance in American society, Bullock paints the development of LGBTQ music within its own community and larger society.  The growth and enrichment of musical genres such as blues, jazz, pop, and rock flow through the narratives. More than Bowie himself, notable artists portrayed include Freddie Mercury, Elton John, Leslie Gore, Boy George, and George Michael. We recommend this book for anyone with a curious desire to learn more about LGBTQ history, music, and culture.

David Bowie Made Me Gay: 100 Years of LGBT Music, ML3470 .B85 2017  

 

 

 

 

 

– Mike Romano, Circulation Assistant, Music Library