Learning for Life in the Makerspace

What’s the best way to make the vibe in the Makerspace instantly fun?

…Fill it with our friends from EVS and let them loose on tools!

This Summer, with organizing help from folks at the Teaching and Learning Commons, the Swarthmore Makerspace hosted a workshop as an event in the TLC’s Learning for Life program. L4L is a student-staff-faculty collaborative teaching project which looks to make the educational opportunities at Swat available to everyone on campus.

What a perfect platform for a woodshop workshop! For four mornings, about eight Swarthmore Staff joined in safety trainings, woodshop orientations and tool tutorials, and then unleashed their creative brains on projects in the shop. In just these four 90-minute sessions, they crafted personalized pieces from scratch.

We started with a set of basic premises of what you can do with a slab of nice hardwood and a few manual skills, and then had a decent brainstorm as to how those skills might combine. We saw cutting boards, serving trays, a group shot glass delivery device (no further questions), and various keepsakes and fabrications — many with custom laser engravings. With the forgivable exception of cheering for the wrong NFL team, their projects were all inventive, crafty, and beautiful.

The best part of this workshop was being able to work with our friends on the staff in a not-everyday scenario. These folks are already the most familiar faces around the Makerspace, keeping our space safe and clean while we’re not here (often overnight!) and making Swarthmore feel like a comfy home for those who also work here. Now they were our students and design partners in funky woodshop projects, the type of which the Makerspace aspires to in its basic mission.

Thanks to the folks who gave their time and creative effort in the workshop, and we can certainly look forward to more L4L events in the near future, given the success and fun of this one.