All posts by Alyssa Pierce

Alyssa’s Summer Reflection

The summer is coming to an end, and with it, my time traveling with the Making in Michigan team to rural libraries in Michigan to hold professional development workshops for librarians and educators. It has been a long and fruitful summer for me. The overwhelming feeling I have from this time is that I am so thankful to all of the amazing librarians I met this summer, who invited us into their spaces and shared their experiences with us. I learned so much from them and definitely gained some insight into perspectives that library school doesn’t give me access to. The passion and the energy that so many librarians and library workers bring to their work, who will fight to give their communities the best resources and programming, was frankly inspiring. I hope to be able to carry over that same passion into my own work.

Often when we talk about innovative and important library programming, we look to the big libraries – Chicago, New York, Ann Arbor, Sacramento, and the like – but what have learned this summer is that, those those institutions are doing good work as well, we are missing out on a big opportunity by not looking closer at the smaller libraries that have less resources. The programs I saw there were innovative and accessible, more so than many of the programs at larger libraries. I think that we in library school fall into the assumption that excess breeds innovation, but I think it’s quite the opposite. Excess can produce innovation, but scarcity demands it.

So that’s what I want to leave this internship with – a fire in my soul and a grateful heart.  Thank you to every one of the people who came out to our workshops and shared their talents and thoughts with us. And thank you to the Making in Michigan Team for letting me be part of it for this short time in my life. The lessons I have learned here will definitely affect how I approach my career from this moment on, and all for the better.

Best wishes,

Alyssa

Benzonia Workshops

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We had a great time in Benzonia this week!

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The first day we had our Making Makers Learning: Intro to the Maker Movement workshop, with some great discussion!

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The second day we had our Selling Handmade Goods Online workshop, where we discussed the business end of craft businesses, followed by our Fashion Hacking workshop. It was really great to see the diverse projects that people made during our fashion hacking time, and people really went out of their way to help each other, it was a great workshop!

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That evening we hosted a Maker Fest open to the public and had stations such as glass etching, button making, paper puppets, and crochet. It was great to see the kiddos engaged and enjoying themselves with all of the activities!

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The next day we wrapped up with our Gaining Financial Support workshop and a Maker Idea Swap, where we had a great discussion about the successes and challenges of Maker programming.

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Thanks to everyone at the Benzonia Public Library for hosting us and to everyone who attended for their thoughtful contributions! Have a good fall everyone!

 

 

Workshop in Alpena: Selling Handmade Goods Online

Our final workshop in lovely Alpena was for Selling Handmade Goods Online. It was so nice to have such an engaged audience who had such excellent questions!

We began by talking about how to find potential sellers in your area, and what libraries can offer to budding entrepreneurs.

We went on to cover the basics of branding and everyone got to have a bit of fun with learning the basics of photographing objects for sale!

We then talked about different sites that patrons can use to sell items online, such as Etsy, Society 6, and Smashwords.

Thanks again to everyone who came out! The materials for this workshop can be found here, and if you are interested in any of our events happening in the next couple months around the state, they can be found here.

Workshop in Alpena: A Full-Day of Fashion Hacking!

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What a fun day for fashion hacking! We started out the day making some t-shirt bags with pockets sewn in them, followed by some very thoughtful conversation on the pros and cons of sew versus no-sew programs – it was great to hear so many well-thought-out ideas about the benefits of each!

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After talking a bit about the reasons why fashion hacking is important, we went to talk about all the different things that people can make with a t-shirt – from kid’s capes to yarn, to a skirt, and beyond!

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We also broke out our silhouette cutter to let people try out the silhouettes as stencils for fabric paints!

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Our final big activity was refashioning men’s button-down shirts. So many creative things were made! Skirts and aprons, a hat, and a pillow among them!

Thanks to everyone who came out today, we had a great time and, as always, it’s such fun to be able to see what ideas people come up with. The materials, including the presentation and links to outside resources, can be found here. If you are interested in our events, you can sign up for them here.

 

 

 

Workshop in Marquette: Introduction to Fashion Hacking

 

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This week in Marquette we started the day with a workshop on Fashion Hacking! We began by making some t-shirt bags, then we sewed pockets in them on the sewing machine!

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We talked about transforming cheap clothing from thrift stores into different kinds of creations, and then the participants got to try that activity out for themselves! People were making aprons, cat-shaped pillows, and baby clothes!

 

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Meanwhile, we discussed ideas about programs concerning fashion hacking, and how to overcome potential sticking points in the process.

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The materials for this class can be found here, and we will be offering this session among others in different towns around the state for the rest of the summer, those can be found here.

 

Ann Arbor Fashion Hacking Workshop

34810235590_a21b22df74_zThis Thursday we held a workshop on Fashion Hacking, using used clothes to create new and useful things!

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We began by talking about the environmental, social, and financial benefits to fashion hacking, and then moved right into hands-on hacking! 35196937845_1bdfbbabe4_z

For this workshop, we focused on thinking about the anatomy of clothing – the different fabric pieces that make up clothes, and how those pieces can be adjusted and rearrange to create new items. People ended up making bags, shirts, skirts, backpacks, and even wigs!

 

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Thanks to everyone who came out, and if you are interested in our slideshow, handouts, or further fashion hacking resources, they can be found here. If you are interested in attending any of our future events, including more fashion hacking later this summer, those events can be found here.
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Houghton Lake After-school Program

34790393270_98dc2c6063_zThis week we went up to Houghton Lake for an afternoon of library making with their middle schoolers!35137090046_95fdc2c479_z

We brought up a sewing machine and a button maker for the kids to try out.35143337366_0a3bc82bb3_z

They got to make small suede wallets and learn how to use the sewing machine, some of them putting their own creative twist on the wallet!34367747223_83ebb15945_z

Over at the button making station, the kids had to option of cutting out pictures from magazines to make buttons, or drawing their own pictures for the buttons!35137090996_246a2a39f5_z

Thanks to everyone who turned out for this program, and thanks to the Houghton Lake Public Library for having us! We had lots of fun and it was so great to see what the kids came up with!

Puppetry Workshop in Ann Arbor

 

IMG_0096We had the pleasure this week of running a puppet making workshop right here in Ann Arbor! We focused on the Bunraku style of puppetry, which originated in Japan and is known for its naturalistic movements. The slides and resources for this workshop, including the instructions for puppet making, can be found here.

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We started out making tabletop puppets, to get used to the process and to experiment with Bunraku-style movement – focusing on the breath, focus, and weight of the puppet.

 

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These puppets were made from printer paper and invisible tape, with optional paper clips to help control the arms.

 

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After that, we moved on to making near-life size puppets, this time using newsprint paper and masking tape.

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Our participants made quick work of the large puppets and soon enough we were acting out skits with the Bunraku style of puppetry, which requires three people to control one puppet. From business men on the moon to nurses in a 1920s speakeasy, the puppets began to come to life!

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Now these puppets can take a well-deserved break after their morning of hard work. Thanks for everybody who came out, we had blast working with you all! Again, the resources can be found here and if you are interested in attending our other workshops this summer, they can be found here.

Frankenmuth Maker Idea Swap and Gathering Financial Support

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On May 8th, we had the pleasure of going to the Frankenmuth Wickson District Library to do a Maker Idea Swap. It was so great to hear about the great programs people are running in their libraries, and learn from their experiences! We accompanied the discussion with a Toy Takeapart activity, so with busy hands and active minds we got to work!

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Our notes from the event can be found here. Thanks to all of the librarians and educators who came out to participate in a fantastic discussion!  33690775884_8b38a6be73_oThen, we spend the afternoon discussing ways to gather financial support for activities or programs that our participants would like to implement in their libraries! The materials for that session can be found here.
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If you are interested in our other events this summer, you can register here!