EDITOR’S NOTE: Sorry to all my loyal readers who got faked out with my previous post. I hope you enjoyed it, because I enjoyed writing it and I’m not sorry if you read both this and the other one.
Now, let’s try this again.
On the 14th of August, the great Kylie Burgess and I embarked upon a crafty quest to learn some new things (you can read her blow by blow of the day here). As Neil and Kaley have already illustrated this week, SLQ’s space The Edge is a fantastic lurking place where inspiration, creativity and power tools come out to play, and the public is greatly encouraged to join the playground. Kylie and I did just that one Sunday afternoon, and the process was amazing.
Thanks to the affordances of modern technology, I was able to book and pay for my place in the workshop right from the comfort of my own home. The Eventbrite website is a great facilitator for crafty people who want to see at a glance what is coming up over the weeks. Admittedly, $80 is a steep price tag for a makerspace workshop. And for some, perhaps a prohibitive cost. But the reason that I chose to part with my hard earned cash is because SLQ have a policy regarding these sorts of courses, in that for the 80% of tickets they sell, they try to donate the remaining 20% to low income groups who could benefit from the service (I can’t find a link that backs this up, but it was something I was told on a tour of The Edge in 2015. I hope this is still the case).
I already knew that the space was very well resourced. On top of the sewing machines that I already knew about, workshop supervisor Jim had brought in 4 boiling pots for dye baths and heating elements to get them on the go. I was also impressed that Jim had brought many of the resources in and had put in a lot of preparation leading up to the class. We walked away with plenty of information, plenty of examples of our own work, and a finished product that we could be proud of. Additionally, he made recommendations to books we could read in our spare time, that could be hired from BCC Library. Nice touch, bringing it back to libraries and books.
When faced with the prospect of not having enough materials to go around (the wooden blocks needed to shape cloth for the itajime shibori technique), Jim was quick to come up with a solution. His time management was also quite good, and I felt he was able to give us all the attention we needed. What I was most impressed with is that he delivered the notepad cover project in two modes: Simple mode and ‘professional’ mode. If you weren’t experienced with sewing? No drama, a simple zigzag stitch to finish your edges will be fine. Want something a bit more challenging? He sat down with some of us and showed us exactly where to sew and trim our corners, to have a “seamless” cover. His personal sewing experience showed here.
The process was expertly handled right to the end. Two days after the workshop, I was invited to complete a short survey about my experience. SLQ are using the data collected from the booking site, contact patrons using The Edge, and then follow up to make sure they are providing a useful program. While I haven’t had a chance to fill out the survey yet (I know, naughty me!), this gave me a great feeling. While some might argue that makerspaces are not appropriate for libraries, I don’t think you could say that in the case of SLQ. They have done a very good job of ensuring that the program meets the needs of their patrons, and are checking in on it with regularity. I can’t wait to see what they run in the future.
And how did my project go in the end? Well, you’ve read this far, I guess I should ‘reward’ you…
Now I just need to find a note pad the right size.