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Our colleague Kayla Carcucci’s work featured!

We loaned some MML equipment we wouldn’t be using this summer to Kayla Carucci, a doctoral student at U-M School of Information. Check out what she’s doing with it! From the article on My Central Jersey:

You might think that a nursing home is the last place you will find an innovative workshop where people can create works of art, on their own schedule, using some pretty high-tech gadgets.

But think again, because that’s exactly what’s going on at Reformed Church Home in Old Bridge this summer.

The brainchild of Kayla Carucci, a Middletown resident and PhD student at the University of Michigan, “Creations with Kayla” has found great traction among RCH residents as they explore traditional crafting using some pretty cutting-edge technologies — ones that might even surprise some millennials.

And the best part is, they are creating mainly on their own, with little instruction from Carucci herself.

The concept is known in popular culture as a “makerspace,” but Carucci has added her own spin by applying the fundamentals of the maker movement in the senior, long-term care setting. Her goal is to determine if the well-being of long-term care residents can be improved by offering self-directed sessions using low- and high-tech tools to create whatever the participant chooses …

 “I hope to empower residents to make the decision to come at their convenience and create to their hearts desire. It’s a chance to do something different and challenging. There’s no reason seniors can’t take advantage of spaces that are in place in libraries, schools, and commercial settings,” Carucci said.

Indeed, the makerspace model has been around since the early 2000s, fueled mostly by an interest in computer science and robotics. It has evolved to become a hands on learning environment for children, DIY-ers, crafters and entrepreneurs. Equipment used in some makerspaces include 3D printers, iPads, digital embroidery equipment and even sewing machines, all of which are in place at Reformed Church Home for the residents to explore …

“I could do this all day, I really enjoy it,” says Mary Puskar, an assisted-living resident at the Home. “I’m learning so many things, like candle making and how to paint on an iPad using a stylus. We even digitally embroidered my name on a sweater so I wouldn’t misplace it again.”

Nursing home resident Sabina McCarthy agreed. “I have arthritis and can’t write or do much with my hands, but I can design something on the 3D printer and watch it print,” she said. “I can finally do crafts again.”

Great job, Kayla! Be sure to click through to the original article to see the photos!

Michigan Makers at Scarlett, Winter 2018, Session 10: Smaller Notebooks & Videogame Breakthrough

Again, in response to a student request, we tried another, smaller version of handmade notebooks, this time half-sized, with less sewing and thinner cardboard. We also made great strides in Bloxels game creation as we introduced a storyboard to plan out levels. We challenged the students to create at least six rooms for the character to navigate through. More attention was also helpful for students to ask questions of the mentors and be challenged at every step of the way. Stay tuned for our final week this week!

MM@ Scarlett 4/5/2018

Michigan Makers at Scarlett, Winter 2018, Session 8 & 9: Small Sewing & Cardboard Challenge

MM@Scarlett 3/22/2018

The next two weeks we had smaller groups as students were eager to get to spring break or were balancing other responsibilities. We had a lesson on sewing small monsters, but some people stuck with pillows because they were so tired! The week after that was a Cardboard Design Challenge that had some good engagement at first, but quickly dissipated as they reached something that satisfied them. One student really enjoyed the simple action of punching holes in the cardboard and then screwing in the MakeDo screws.



Michigan Makers at Scarlett, Winter 2018, Session 7: Variety is the Spice of Life

MM@Scarlett 3/8/2018

This week we had a wide range of activities: we returned with the sewing machine for any applique additions to the notebooks, but also had stop motion with a great Lego book and Bloxels for the students first introduction to videogame creation. We had a lot of fun, but there was much more “testing” of the videogames than actual creation. We made some progress on introducing the concepts though!

Michigan Makers at Scarlett, Winter 2018, Session 5 & 6: Zines & Handsewn Notebooks

MM@Scarlett: 2/8/2018

This week, we made Zines with the students! Having a few artists in the group meant that they got the chance to shine, but all the students enjoyed getting a chance to write something that was important to them!

We also took a suggestion for the following week about making our own notebooks using hand-sewing techniques. This was probably our most successful project from start to finish! We prepped the “signatures” (collections of blank pages, to be sewn together), with thumbtack-punched holes (6) down the middle. We also prepped several hand-sewing needles. The method for sewing them together was a little difficult for the students to understand, even with demonstrations and diagrams, but most of them eventually completed the sewing together of the signatures.

We then had several pieces of old clothing in different styles for the students to choose from for their cover of their notebook. One student really wanted the breast pocket to be on the front of his notebook! Others chose leather as their cover. This project took the whole 90 minute session and students left with something that was able to be used right away. Some students wanted to created addtional appliques for their notebooks in the coming weeks as well.

MM@Scarlett: 2/15/2018

Michigan Makers at Scarlett, Winter 2018, Session 4: Light Up T-Shirt Bracelets

MM@Scarlett: 2/1/2018

One of our most successful projects this semester was making T-Shirt Light Up Bracelets! We pre-cut rectangles of cloth from different colored t-shirts and gave students the option of picking their favorite color.

The students then sewed a simple straight line to make the rectangle into a tube. (Some of them stopped after this point and simply made an arm sleeve with no bulb or battery.) Then they took a battery and an LED bulb of their color choice and put the battery inside the tube and poked the LED wires through the fabric. To create an on/off button, the sleeve was turned inside-out and double-sided tape was positioned in such a way that the wire would only touch the battery when pressed!

Finally, the kids measured the bracelet around their wrist and made one more sewing line. We could imagine this with hand-sewing as well, but it was an extremely easy introduction to the sewing machine for many of the students!



Michigan Makers at Scarlett, Winter 2018, Session 3: Boardgames

MM@Scarlett: 1/25/2018

This week we wanted students to work as teams to create boardgames. We thought starting with boardgames could make an easy transition into videogames but the pathway wasn’t so clear. Students were very happy to make boardgames together though — we had a lot of cool ideas! Check out these pictures.

As the students wanted more exposure to videogames, we had considered Scratch, but the open-ended nature of the platform usually led to them just playing already-made videogames within a few minutes.



Michigan Makers at Scarlett, Winter 2018, Sessions 1 & 2

Returning to Scarlett we had contacted the after-school coordinator Sal Barrientes, and he had promoted our club more broadly throughout the school and when we returned we had more than double the students we had last semester! We almost ran out of buttons for students to make!

Our first couple sessions involved brainstorming what sessions would be most engaging for the students. We heard multiple students ask for building their own videogames and a couple for slime as well. Other suggestions, like “robots”, were a little beyond our abilities, but we tried to tease out what exactly the students wanted.

We also re-introduced the concept of Design Challenges, but students felt a little constrained by them. Since we had so many new students, we decided to do backstitching with them, but challenged them to first start with a sketch and a plan for how they wanted to use the completed design — what item would they end up ironing it onto back home?