Tuesday, 2 December 2014

A day at the Institute of Making

I spent yesterday amongst 40 makers exploring the materials library, and playing around with 'stuff' at the Institute of Making.    Hosted by Dr Zoe Laughlin, Co-founder and Director of the institute, along with Richard and Arron, of R&A Collaboration,  who also documented the event.

As well as being the right balance of informative and fun, it was a great opportunity to meet some talented makers and get carried away talking about, amongst other things; where to source the best metal mesh, how long plasti-dip takes to dry, and importantly, how lucky we are to work for ourselves, doing a job we love. 

Highlights of the day included pewter casting in cuttle fish moulds, crocheting in fine copper wire, and fishing 'coolmorph' thermoplastic out of warm water with chopsticks, ready to mould and sculpt with our hands.

 Shelves of wood and metal samples in the materials library.  Each material in the library has a unique number, and is searchable on the library's own app, downloadable from the Apple App store.

Zoe explained that the workshops are designed to be domestic in scale so that one machine sits enticingly next to another, encouraging exploration of more than just the tools you came in to use.  Workshops can be intimidating places for the un-initiated; you search for a 'way in', some way to get started.  Here, not only are the workshops deliberately un-intimidating, but technical help is on hand to help UCL staff and students make something for their course / research, or just for fun.

A rich and meaningful engagement with materials is at the heart of the Institute of Making. I am in awe.

Here's a link to Richard & Arron's photos of the day:

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Rebecca Gouldson