Let’s make something.
Girls Who Make is a special weekend program for 6th-8th grade girls every Saturday from November 3rd to January 12th, from 10:30am to 1:30pm (except December 29th). In this 10-week workshop, participants will build skills in circuitry, sewing, fabrication, and storytelling. Each week, we will complete increasingly complex projects that incorporate these skills. The workshop will culminate with an original piece of interactive artwork, such as a sculpture that senses motion or a book that responds to touch. This program is for 6th through 8th grade girls and is free of charge.
This program is full.
See what we're up to at Girls Who Make!Weeks 1 and 2
“Hey I did a running stitch Mom, a RUNNING STITCH!!”
– from a maker who came in saying “Oh, I can’t sew”
Girls Who Make has begun! Our first meeting was filled with nervous energy that quickly melted away to excitement as we explored the different kinds of soft circuits we’d be making over the next 10 weeks. We fried a LED egg and cooked up different ways to attach a battery, we lit up an eyeball to see the variety of LEDs we can work with, and we wore a hat that was wired to wink on command.
To start, we must learn the basics. First, we focused on the basic of sewing. We stitched a bag to carry the supplies we will be using for the rest of the week, learning different kinds of stitches from each other, some which are classics and some which have never existed before. By the end of our first two session, the makers saw definite improvement in their technique. After a break, a game, and a snack, we got to play with wires and electricity to get a handle of series and parallel circuits, two things we will return to again and again.
Week one and two have been great introduction into the skills we can learn and the skills we have to share. Everyone came with knowledge to share and encouragement to give, and each left with something they’ve never done before. Next week, we bring it all together with our first sewn circuit!
This week we made our first soft circuit!
A soft circuit is basically a circuit embedded into a flexible material, but in our case it means it is sewn into fabric. Using quilting rulers, rotary cutters, and a little bit of math, we were able to cut precisely to make our base of felt for our soft circuit. All our hard work learning how to master the needle is beginning to pay off as we configure battery, LED, and conductive stainless steel thread into a functioning light up display! After persisting through cross circuits and broken threads, we were finally able to come out the other side triumphantly wielding our first functioning soft circuit!
Next week, we will explore a bit about LilyPad technology and how to manipulate code to get what we want. Another set of skills that will expand what we can do for our final project!
We’re writing our names in lights!
This week was two-pronged. We spent the majority of our time together learning the basics of embroidery to finish up our name tags and pocket another skill for our final project. While this was happening, each maker came up for a little one-on-one time to get to know the LilyPad Arduino. Arduino technology is a microcontroller than can be programmed to sense and control objects in the physical and digital world. The LilyPad Arduino is a little different from a regular Arduino because it is flat and the wire connection ports can be sewn through, making it ideal for soft circuits. Each maker got some time to change around small pieces of the code used for blinking an LED at a certain rate. Some sped the rate up, mirroring a sense of excitement, others slowed it down to a rate as calm as the patience required to finish a long row of stitches.
We’re very excited for our newest arrival of goods to play around with: light sensors, temperature sensors, and lots of LEDs in a whole spectrum of colors. We’ll let you know how it goes next week!
Time to switch it up!
Today, we worked on how to turn a circuit on and off without a computer programmed switch. Using a bit of a soda can and a metal bead connected to conductive thread, we created different ways to interact with an object to tell a story. One maker made a game controller that lights up when you tilt it, another created a shooting star that goes out when it’s held in the wrong orientation, another a star that shimmers when you shake it.
While we worked on these projects, each maker met with a facilitator one on one to brainstorm and plan for their final project. We are so excited to show you what we come up with!
A big Thank you to our sponsor: