As a part of our community outreach for the NSF Equity in the Making grant , the EiTM Lab hosted face-to-face keepsake box-making workshops in the Innovation Lab at Durham County Public Library. The two hands-on workshops were an excellent opportunity to connect with community members and share our passion for seeking equity through critical making.
We went to the Durham County Main Library (DCPL) with box-making kits (cut using our laser-cutter), portable makerspace equipment (Cricut Machine, wood burning kits, 3Doodlers), and assorted handicraft and art tools. The Innovation Lab at DCPL was already equipped with 3D printers, laser cutting machines, poster printers, and sewing machines – it was a perfect place for the workshop.
After a short presentation, the participants set out to construct and decorate their wooden keepsake boxes. Participants got to observe and try out the Cricut machine, which was in high-demand. Participants were busy cutting on-demand designs like bull silhouettes (after all, Durham Bulls)s and North Carolina stickers for decorating personalized boxes.
Most workshop participants were 50 years old or better. We also welcomed an 8-year grandchild. Despite some frustration and complications with hot glue guns, by the end of the workshop, every participant went home with a personalized wooden box with a hinged lid, an experience with making with technology, and an afternoon to remember. One participant left with an additional kit “to teach her husband” at home.
A thank you email from the Durham Parks & Recreation (DPR) Mature Adult Group Leader said,
“Our Mature Adult participants were so taken with all the tools and ideas they got to try out and be creative with. They are still talking about how much fun they had making their keepsake boxes.”
The truth is that we (the EiTM team) had just as much fun and rewarding experience as the participants did.