Tinkering School

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Day One - Fooling Around, With a Purpose

2012 Session 1 - Juniorsgever2 Comments

It is the first day of Tinkering School. We are back from a one-year hiatus - taken to get Brightworks up and running - and it feels like we never left. The barn, the farm, the ranch house - it is all just the way I and the other collaborators who have been here before remember it. It's us who have changed. We start the afternoon with a simple project working with wire. Every session starts like this, simple projects that engage everyone's hands so that we can all get used to each other's company. A knitting circle where the conversation roams freely while we work to shape something new out of simple materials.

B IMG 0661 B

We quickly learn Josie's look of concentration.B IMG 0671 B Connor sets himself to the task.

B IMG 0676 B Lauren works out the kinks in a newly fashioned spiral.

B IMG 0698 B Alonzo finds the process engaging, but manages to keep up a steady stream of very witty banter.

B IMG 0703 B Changing to a new medium, Connor his efforts into shaping a very fine stick.

B IMG 0706 B Not realizing what a source of great non-sequiturs it would lead to, Gretchen sets about making a model of her brother Sam's head. When the wire proves difficult to cut, she asks me "Would you cut Sam's eye out?" From there it just goes from disturbing to ridiculous in short order.

B IMG 0719 B It is a great source of joy for Connor to know that it's pretty much ok to climb on anything at the farm.

B IMG 0732 B The goats, as ever, continue to be a great source of amusement for everyone.

B IMG 0743 B They even pause for portraits.

B IMG 0751 B Gever goes over the basic rules of Tinkering School.

B IMG 0755 B New friends Ana and Josie.

B IMG 0756 B Jared soon discovers that the wire does not always do exactly what you ask it to.

B IMG 0759 B Concentration turns to exertion as Lauren applies herself to cutting the wire, squeezing until her elbows shake.

B IMG 0761 B The thing about Blake's constructions is that he understands exactly what he is making, even if those around him cannot suss it out.

B IMG 0772 B Jared teaches Alonzo how to fold the napkin in a fancy way around the silverware.

B IMG 0799 B After dinner, Gever explains just how big the project for Monday is, and then shows the tinkerers examples of Andy Goldsworthy's work to help them understand what is possible with simple materials.

Every week of Tinkering School starts with a hypothesis, a question that we ask and attempt to answer in some way. Tomorrow we are asking if tinkerers can be as engaged building something with an aesthetic intent as they are when building a vehicle. It seems odd that we have never tried this before.

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