The Edmond Sun

November 13, 2013

Local artists create new tool

Kickstarter campaign funds initial manufacturing

Heather Moery
Special to The Sun

EDMOND — Local company Miira Artist Tools soon will be manufacturing a new patent pending invention in Edmond.

Leslie Lienau and her son, Seth Capshaw, co-founders of Miira Artist Tools, invented a physical tool called a view frame. A visual artist or designer uses the view frame by holding it out in front of them and moving the magnetic guides to record linear perspective and measure proportions, two of its many functions. After moving the guides to the correct positions, the visual artist or designer can then take the tool and compare what they originally drew to the more accurate view of what the space really is.

“It enables you to transfer the 3D world to a two dimensional surface,” said Lienau, the company owner.

“It helps you compare and contrast your drawing,” Capshaw said.

Capshaw said their product will be entirely American made with the exception of the magnet, which comes from China.

Lienau said artists throughout history, such as Vincent van Gogh, have used tools similar to the view frame she and her son invented, but they were “bulky.” Leonardo da Vinci invented a similar tool as well. The view frame tool Lienau and Capshaw invented is about the size of a medium-sized notepad and is compact and portable

“It’s modern, dynamic and versatile,” Lienau said.

A digital version of the view frame tool was also created for iOS systems and can be purchased on the iTunes Store with the app search word of Miira. Capshaw, the lead designer of the product, said an app for the Android system is in the works for next year.

“This is the first of its kind,” Lienau said. “It came out of a need.”

Lienau, an art teacher of 20 years, said the idea came to her shortly after she awoke one day.

“I realized teaching people how to see is very impossible … before they even paint or draw,” Lienau said.

“Like this table,” she said as she pointed to the coffee table in her living room. “You have to draw it in such a way as in it’s occupying space.”

Lienau said her main purpose for inventing the view frame tool was to help in her teaching, but her son added that it “turns out a lot of people want it.”

Lienau and Capshaw said they found out first-hand just how greatly people believe in their device after they attended the Art Materials World international trade show in Minnesota in May. The mother-son team set up prototypes at the trade show primarily for marketing purposes, but after they won best new exhibitor, they said they realized they had something very special.

After the trade show, Capshaw and Lienau created a Kickstarter account, which is a website where ordinary people can go to donate money to a business venture, in this instance, in order to “kickstart” their project. Capshaw and Lienau needed to raise the $40,000 Kickstarter goal in order for their project to be funded. They ended up raising $1,000 more than they expected and pre-sold 500 units of the view frame tool.

Once product tests and fabrication by Aztec Manufacturing in Edmond are completed some time in November, Lienau and Capshaw said they will fill their Kickstarter orders, then manufacture 1,000 to 2,000 units.

Once that is completed, the two said they hope to talk with companies that sell art supplies, such as Hobby Lobby and Michael’s.

Capshaw said their target audience is also to teachers and students.

“We hope this will be in every art store and on teachers’ supply lists,” Lienau said.

Lienau and Capshaw said they also hope to branch out to fine arts schools and universities as well and will be speaking to University of Oklahoma architectural classes about their product. Lienau said they plan to start in Oklahoma, then branch out to other states.

The view frame tool is available for pre-sale on the Miira Artist Tools website, www.miiraartisttools.com.