The Talking Stick Blog

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S.T.E.A.M. Maker: Everything Old is “Renewed” Again

Tuesday S.T.E.A.M. Maker

Everything Old is "Renewed" Again

When I took the MIT course Learning Creative Learning one of the people that inspired me the most was Arvind Gupta, an engineer who has dedicated his life to toys and helping children learn. If you have not seen his TED Talk, it is a very inspiring and  wonderful reminder that education is based more on ingenuity than money.

To the chagrin of my family, I am often heard saying, "Wait! Don't throw that out!" to just about everything except what is heading to our compost. There is a large pile of books on my desk threatening to topple.  It  is my current Maker inspiration pile  including D.I.Y. Design It Yourself, Make Space, 1000 Ideas for Creative Reuse, Vinegar, Duct Tape, Milk Jugs & More,  Steampunk Chic, How Things Work: the Physics of Everyday Life, Free to Learn, The Where, the Why, and the How: 75 Artists Illustrate Wondrous Mysteries of ScienceThe Klutz Book of Inventions, and 30-Second Elements, to name a few.  At the bottom of the pile is  The Joy of Less: a Minimalists Living Guide, a book that doesn't stand a chance lately.  I am always finding ways to save everything knowing there is always the potential to made something old into something else.  (I can see the scene from All That Jazz where Ann Reinking is dancing to "Everything Old is New Again.") A plastic milk jug can become a mask, a storage container, a paint aid, or a reusable snack container;  an Altoid tin can become a first aid kit, a magnetic skating rink, a DIY travel battery for your cell phone, a lip balm container, or a tiny doll bed; and any broken appliance can be taken apart or turned into a bird, a planter, or any other work of art.  I find myself turning over random pieces of plastic or other seemingly useless tidbits that normally would have been tossed quickly into recycling and wondering, what could I make with this?  One thing the Maker movement is not helping me with is downsizing the stuff that I accumulate!  Once you turn on your maker mind set, you begin to look at the world differently. On Tuesday we made use of the CD cases I grabbed out of my husband's trash pile.  The idea came from Anna Divinsky, a professor at Pennsylvania State University, who demonstrated in her online art course at Coursera.org,  how to turn them into small art collections.  Our Talking Stick S.T.E.A.M. Maker program talked about the cabinets of curiosity that were popular during the 16th and 17th century, predating museums, and we looked at the assemblages of  Joseph Cornell and Mark Dion's versions of  a  "window into the past" for inspiration. With a seed of an idea it was easy to go out and make the project our own. The results were varied and wonderful.

Tuesday S.T.E.A.M. Maker

Tuesday S.T.E.A.M. Maker

Tuesday S.T.E.A.M. Maker

The Thursday S.T.E.A.M. Maker program began working with recycled paper: toilet paper rolls, to be exact, because in true maker style, with imagination any material at hand can bring out your inner maker.  We found our inspiration in the whimsical, slightly grumpy looking faces of artist Junior Fritz Jacquet.

Using Jaquet's faces as our starting point, we made faces, boats, collages, animals, and body art.

Thursday S.T.E.A.M. Maker

Thursday S.T.E.A.M. Maker

Thursday S.T.E.A.M. Maker

Thursday S.T.E.A.M. Maker

Last week, reuse was the focus of our making. Now the young people in S.T.E.A.M. Maker are honing in on what they would like to start working on for their first independent project. With so many options and ideas picking just one can be challenging. We discussed goal setting and steps, possible needs and materials. We are excited to begin.

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