In my first weeks at the museum, in an exciting brainstorm frenzy, Martha, Caryn, and myself initiated the ideas for what can we make? At the same time I found myself smitten with the Do-It-Yourself technological bent of our Senior Curator of Education, Harry DeLorme. I found that DIY Techno-Bling contained a whole range of artistic ideas I had not been exposed to, and which continue to inspire me. Exploring online resources, I am amazed at the technological simplicity, cheapness, and splendor of these projects.
These technological tools and ideas have coalesced with our open-ended what we can make? studio challenge, creating a fresh creative energy in our approach to developing programing for the museum, and, also in a personal approach to living and working.
The simple question what can we make? has crept into my every action as an employee, artist, and father. I like to think that I have always had a what-can-I-make mind set. However, I have noticed limiting personal levels of expectations and pre-conceptions that had to be eradicated to make room for artistic growth. The active incorporation of the question has led to the creative resolution of several problems or difficulties. I have learned the same lesson that I hope others will find in the programing at the museum.
I have also had some fun that I would like to share with you: the links and sources that help me to see the possibilities, and initiated my thinking about projects.
The first thing that got me all warmed up and excited was “throwies,” just a simple LED, a battery, and a magnet. They are often described as Techno graffiti, and I have to admit the description added some excitement to the simple project. Here is a link to a site with instruction for creating throwies. http://www.instructables.com/id/LED-Throwies/ One the exciting things is that they cost less than a dollar to make, and all the materials are available from Radio Shack, but there are cheaper resources online. (Note the cheap batteries and makershed links a couple of paragraphs down)
My 4-year-old daughters and I had tremendous making and playing with throwies. The girls had some good ideas that led me to think of ways to transform the proje
ct for a Telfair Teen Council meeting. Just before the holidays we made throwie-snowflakes. With the beginning of the New Year, throwies evolved into bugs and then light tubes. For Valentine’s Day we made LED corsages with museum staff, and it looks like these will be refined into a wearable art project for guests at the Leo Villareal opening on February 27th.
At the what can we make? Open studio Family Make, we have a LED challenge to see what you can make that lights up. One of our brilliant interns has taken the challenge to inspire others to make light-up garments for wearing to the Villareal opening. Here are a couple of resources we shared with her to fuel her inspiration.
With all the excitement generated by these projects, I decided to make my own LOL (lots of LEDS) shield, which is essentially a mini Villareal project. During its creation, I found myself remembering the potato clock project and the build-your-own radio I made as an elementary student in the 70’s. Both of these kits are still available, but the LOl shield is just as easy and it’s so much cooler. Super Awesome Sylvia has great video that demonstrates how they are built .
Finally, here is a list of some of the awesome projects I have been messing around with, and some that I still intend to explore myself and with my daughters. Try some yourself, share them with us, and we will post your creations here.