Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Let's Make Stuff - Part 1

Choosing between poetry and everything else is always hard. However, last night's open house at New Vestures makerspace was totally worth leaving Untitled Open Mic at Brew'd Awakening early.  Not only did I finally get to see the cool makerspace Diana Coluntino has put together, but I got to hear some good speakers passionately making the connection between making stuff -- especially clothing -- and science/technology/engineering as well as the importance of community.

Merrimack Street
In honor of the creative economy, I decided to get a little creative with photographing the event. It almost, kinda, sorta fits in with some thoughts I've been having about abstraction lately, but that's another story or another blog entry. Speaking of "entry," the place looks wonderful and creative as soon as you get off the elevator to the basement.
I could feel the energy before I even stepped through the doorway into the room full of people from all segments of the Lowell creative economy and beyond: UMass, city government, artists, makers, entrepreneurs... The only group missing was the slam poets, who were otherwise engaged as mentioned previously.

Makers in Makerspace

More Makers in Makerspace

It was great to see a few kids there too. You never know what will fire a kid's imagination. You never know that taking a typewriter apart at age 8 leads to a career in technical writing :-) Anyway, I am coming more and more to believe that mixing age groups -- kids with teens with twenty-somethings with "grownups" with "elders"-- is going to be vital to keeping American innovation strong.

Crowd Listening to Diana
New Vestures is about making stuff. Diana summed it up "We were making stuff in Lowell a long long time ago, let's bring making back." But wait, there's more... We need to create sustainable, ethical fashion. (Hmm, didn't I promise y'all a blog post about what the fall of the Pemberton Mill has to do with the mill collapse in Bangladesh? Must write that soon.)

Makers and Movers and Shakers Listening to Diana

Last night's key takeaways from Diana and the excellent guest speakers:

  • It's not just about the space and the equipment it's about the community
  • Connection between clothing creation and math and science -- shapes, materials and engineering.
  • You can learn math and science by doing stuff, touching stuff.
  • You can make clothes out of kombucha! How cool is that?

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