We have been holding a series of open studios, which have been fun and something I look forward to, but yesterday was the best one so far. We had an interesting range of people show up, and we tried out our flying fish camera, which gets ~two full tables, and whatever you do over them, but not much else.
One issue that emerged was that we had too much stuff, too many options. I knew I had clear goals (trouble shoot my cardboard LED sculpture and coerce LEGOs). But probably no one else did. But I did not want to do something structured. This was supposed to be OPEN studio.
One affordance of having 8 people crowded around these two tables and a pile of stuff (the two tables, again, dictated by the flying fish cam), was that it was easy to do just in time (or maybe slightly late) instruction. Someone was sewing with conductive thread, and it was easy for me to lean over, hand off a little LED and battery, and demonstrate how to test an LED if you are unsure about the current direction. And that led to a successful and interesting etextile product. It was a nice mashup of sewing skill combined with circuitry. The classic "you got your peanut butter in my chocolate" part of maker culture that I first fell in love with.
The table got messier by the end of the hour!
I thnk Previously, I'd been trying to hide anything that seemed like instructions for how to do something. I forgot to this time, and of course someone found them and followed them. I noticed that they dove right in—maybe into a space that they would not otherwise have felt comfortable.
I admit to being pretty anti-kit in general. Except, of course, when I am not.
For instance, the other day a new piece of furniture I'd ordered for the lab arrived. Well, technically, about 200 pieces (including screws) arrived in a slender box. And I admit to being pretty proud that I forged in and assembled this new piece of furniture for our lab. And it was intimidating EVEN with instructions.
So I ended up with a nice piece of furniture, and maybe feel more confident about assembling. But I don't certainly don't think I learned anything about how to MAKE a piece of furniture. Though perhaps this would be different if I had the right scaffolds. Suppositional points along the way that get us to think, what else could this be? See that thing you just did? What else could you do with that technique?
I think this gets right at the heart of what I am trying to do with this space actually—identify strategies that we can use deliberately to surmount barriers, overcome intimidations, and break out of the mundane.
I am determined to see what other things we can coerce LEGOs to do. Chris showed me a few new tricks, but I was most proud of this discovery: a weird brick with openings on the side—exactly the kind that I never know what to do with—is PERFECT for threading things through, such as tiger striped pipe cleaners!
Which become wonderful ears!
And I did finally get my little LED sculpture working. I think the copper tape maybe is not as conductive on its sticky side, plus I think 3 LEDs might be the limit on one little battery.