Working with Challenging Materials- Crafting With Code 2.2
On the second day of WICO crafting with code camp we practiced techniques for working through frustrating moments, experimented with materials and made some awesome mash-ups of high and low tech tools.
In the morning meeting we had a quick icebreaker where campers worked in pairs to investigate four-legged RGB LED lights. There were lots of surprising discoveries by the campers (and the facilitators) and great practice of note taking, conversation and curiousity.
For the activities of the day we split into two groups to play with coding geometric designs in beetleblocks and making sewn circuits with conductive thread and LEDs.
For beetleblocks, a scratch like programming envionment that allows you to export designs, we started with simple move, rotate, and repeat blocks and changing the variables.
As the explorations became more complex, we optimized the creations to be used with the digital tools we had on hand - a 2D color printer, a vinyl cutter and the watercolor bot! Each of these has their own limitations and affordances and it was a bit of a challenge to match the design to the tool.
Coding can be intimidating, especially with a prompt that emphsizes aesthetics and it took lots of practice for tinkerers to create something that they were proud of and wanted to print.
The other half of the camp gathered in the library to work on sewing with conductive thread to make e-textile circuits. There were lots of challenges from learning how to thread the needle, to praticing stitching to getting the polarity right on the LEDs and batteries.
Although most campers didn't finish their creation, we were happy to see lots of troubleshooting and developing strategies for working through moments that didn't go as planned. Many in the group stuck through the difficulties and were proud of their results.
Over the week we'll be continuing to do activities that stretch the boundaries of traditional crafting with new technolgies. We're excited to see how these ideas grow as campers begin to create more involved projects that represent their innovative ideas.