What I thought was going to be a stroll through Burlington's Art Hop yesterday, ended up to be a HANG at the Generator (Burlington's maker space) reconnecting with SEWING as Making!
I love the fact that many maker spaces have sewing machines ranging from standard sewing machines to industrial sewing machines. I had recently picked up a new portable sewing machine for EMMA - my mobile studio for creating and making, but I had yet to hop on any of those sewing machines until yesterday.
Watching some fellow Generator members gathered around sewing machines and fabric in the Learning Lab, I decided to join the fun.
I picked up a red T-Shirt, laid down the Pillow Body People pattern pieces that Adriana had for us, and started to trace and cut! It has been 40 years since I had used a sewing machine. Since the sewing machine was 'ready to go', I didn't have to futz around with the dreaded threading of the needle!
The directions were minimalist, so I spent some time with 'close observing' of the Pillow People in various stages of creation around me.
As I was going through my 'making' I got to watch a magical process happen. A young girl approached the sewing machine, but stayed at a distance. Karen (one of the Generators sewing experts) invited her to join us and make with us. The young girl kept her distant mumbling that she didn't know how to use a sewing machine.
Within minutes, Karen had engaged her with the colorful upholstery samples and piles of available T-Shirts as they looked at some of the T-Shirt Hack bags on display! She started to imagine and talk about the type of bag she would like to make.
It didn't take long for her reluctance to transform to fully engaged and then to confident maker! By the time her bag was finished, she was begging her grandma to stay longer so she could make a pillow person, too!
Again the magical maker formula of Inspiration, available Tools and Materials, and inviting Mentors were at play in turning an observer into a maker.
Nice job Generator for setting up an inviting place to Make with just the right tools!
Nice job Adraiana for setting up accessible maker materials in a way that inspired!
Nice job, Karen for being the perfect welcoming mentor!
The whole process reminded me of a tweet I saw recently with a 3 questions to help you assess the accessibility of your maker space. I wish I remembered who tweeted these, but because the questions were spot on and are firmly ingrained in the way I look at maker spaces and access!
I've been invited to join the Generator members during some of the maker sessions around sewing. Yesterday I felt very welcomed (no matter what my skills were). And suddenly I'm eager to find out when the next event is so that I can show up!
As for my Pillow Person? Well.... I got it all cut and mostly sewed up. I picked up a copy of the pattern and directions from Adriana and took the partially complete project home so that I could add some e-textile components to it.
And as soon as I got home I took a recently purchased portable sewing machine, out of the box and made room for it on my home maker bench!