We 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.
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.
These puppets were made from printer paper and invisible tape, with optional paper clips to help control the arms.
After that, we moved on to making near-life size puppets, this time using newsprint paper and masking tape.
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!
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.
This morning from 10am to noon we had 7 participants from southeastern Michigan attend our inaugural workshop on Creating Design Challenges. We had a good mix of both school and public librarians as well as experience levels.
A collection of documents (rubrics, methods, and slides + a shopping list of materials we used!) is located here!
We started the day off with a short (or “tiny”) Design Challenge based on our Making in Michigan Libraries-created Design Thinking Game. By chance, we were creating something to help a mermaid organize — but wait, we also had to make sure to not introduce new things as our particular mermaid’s constraint was that she didn’t like new things!
In small groups our participants used a material they were familiar with — Legos — to create organizational inventions for our hypothetical mermaid. As we debriefed and continued to think about the why and the how of design challenges, we also discussed best practices for implementing them and different lengths for different focuses.
We then introduced a second Design Challenge with a less familiar — but still inexpensive — material: Strawbees! We changed up our groups for variety’s sake and had participants consider the challenge, prototype, and finally pitch a commercial for the “something to help a fisherman relax”!
We had a great time pitching, even showing off a Strawbee umbrella! Look at our complete album of photos here.
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!
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! Then, 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.
If you are interested in our other events this summer, you can register here!
On March 18th, the Benzonia Public Library hosted a spring fair with the student athlete from the local schools. The children in the community got to try their hands on crafts, face painting, and t-shirt painting. These were accompanied by fun activities like reading, Corn bag tossing, bowling and a photo booth made possible by different members of the community.