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Laser cutting

Stoked-on-Tech Summer 2016 Exhibition

By | 3D design, artists, coding, Craft, digital, Laser cutting, minecraft, Music, Raspberry Pi, Science, sewing, sewing machine, stoke, summer, Technology, Vinyl Cutting, Work, young people | No Comments

Even though the sun is still shining over Stoke-on-Trent in September…yeah we’re not sure what’s going on either….one thing is for certain, here at Wavemaker, the summer is officially over and what a summer is was! Stoked!

After six, activity packed weeks, our Stoked-on-Tech Summer 2016 programme came to a brilliant end on Friday 2nd September, with our Stoked-on-Tech Summer 2016 Exhibition. It was the first time Wavemaker had attempted to organise any event like it. A whole day, open to the public, showcasing all of the fabulous makes and creations of the summer. But here at Wavemaker, we are nothing if not ambitious, so whatever the outcome, we were going to go for it!

Now this wasn’t the “National Portrait Gallery” style of exhibition. Yes, there were information plaques….all laser cut on card, because that’s how we roll…but everything was there to be looked at, touched, picked up and explored. The ‘No Touching’ sign at galleries has always suggested a challenge rather than an instruction, so this exhibition was going to be different. Child-friendly and an opportunity to play, was high on the agenda when it came to planning our big day.  

Our Makerspace became a gallery for the day, all the different makes from the holiday laid out, from our printed tote bags, to our Minecraft Steve cushion. We also had our rubbish fashion creation from our BIG Make, displayed in all its recycled glory. Pinhole cameras and their developed images snaked to the ceiling, as the 3D printer laid out another fascinating creation, layer on layer.

In our breakout area, the BIG Make Retro Games Arcade was ready to play, alongside laptops showcasing our Summer Scratch Code Club Competition entries. Our entries were all so imaginative and entertaining. The only criteria was that they had to be focused on Stoke-on-Trent and the great things about our city, in keeping with our bid for UK City of Culture 2021. We had oatcakes, Back the Bid animations and timed bottle kiln building. Our winning entry came from a Code Club member, Ryan, who at 9 years old is one of the younger members of our Wavemaker Code Club, alongside our brilliant second place Eva-Jayne, another fellow Code Clubber.  Ryan created a scratch game which featured his very own character “Oatie”, yep, you guessed it, an oatcake. It also featured a Spitfire, drawing on the heritage of fellow potter, Reginald Mitchell. For those who don’t know, Reginald Mitchell designed many planes, including the Spitfire, which gained critical acclaim during WWII, although unfortunately, Reginald died before he saw the true success of his creation.

Judging the entries was Tim Wilson, Regional Co-ordinator of West Midlands Code Club. Tim very kindly popped in early afternoon, had a play on the scratch creations, investigated the code and selected a winner. That winner was Ryan, who was thrilled to be awarded the first prize, which was a BBC Micro:Bit, which will hopefully encourage him to continue coding and making.

Alongside our Scratch entries, we had a different coding software for people to have a play with. Processing software is an open source programme developed by visual artists, using a form of javascript code. It was introduced to us at a workshop run as part of the Micro World sessions run in conjunction with the Leicester City Festival. It was a brilliant introduction into coding to create moving images and visual pieces of art, if it sounds like something you would be interested in, check it out here.

Downstairs, we had Minecraft, a game and educational tool, that has proved extremely popular since we began running Building in Minecraft workshops in spring this year. Our exhibition gave people the opportunity to explore our online Wavemaker world, have a look at some of the amazing builds on display and also have a play. We also showcased our fantastic BIG Make Graffiti art, a collaboration with the talented artists at Entrepreneurs in Piccadilly, Hanley and some budding young street artists, who joined us during the holidays to try their hand at spray painting. The piece they created was on proud display, alongside a time lapse film of it being created.

We also wanted the exhibition to host some locally established artists, so we were very happy to display pieces from Entrepreneurs’ clothing line, which included screen printed T-shirts, My Name is Mike and Amy Davis, two artists based at the ACAVA Spode Artist Studios, who both submitted very interesting pieces for the public to look at and explore.

A big thank you goes out to everyone who attended, submitted items, entries and also helped make the day and the Stoked-on-Tech Summer 2016, a great success and one to remember! After all that summer excitement, Wavemaker is now closed to the public for two weeks, to give us time to refuel and freshen up for the Autumn/Winter term. We’ll be back with a firework bang in no time at all.

#StokedonTech: Week 3

By | 3D design, artists, coding, digital, Laser cutting, Minecarft, Raspberry Pi, Science, sewing, stoke, summer, Technology, Vinyl Cutting, Work, young people | No Comments

The creative waves are still rolling in at Wavemaker, especially during the third week of our Stoked-on-Tech summer programme. Our third week was all about street art and stencils, using the laser cutter and design software to produce some brilliant images.

There were many highlights of the week, including Wednesday’s “Make your own printed Tote Bag”, which saw people as young as eight years old master design software skills to create their own personalised bags. Of course Minecraft Steve made an appearance, as did some really unique japanese inspired designs. At the end of the workshop everyone certainly had a bag for life.

We were also joined by a community group on Wednesday afternoon, as part of Appetite’s Big Feast weekend preparations. The group again learned design software skills to produce stencils using the laser cutter. Now, those of you who have tried should understand when I say, creating stencils is the trickiest thing. Trying to visualise in your head what will be cut, what images you will lose once cut, is a mind bending process. What was once an intricate image with beautiful detail can quickly become a big hole in a piece of card, an empty outline of nothing. So it’s not as easy as you might think, but our guys did a brilliant job!

We also ran a sold out Graffiti stencil workshop on Friday to a room full of eager makers, wanting to know all the tips and skills needed to be the next Banksy. And boy, were they hot on the Bristolians heels. We had cats, dogs, hamsters in wheels, as well as octopuses and minecraft swords. There’s no doubting it was an eclectic mix.

Running alongside this fantastic workshop, we also had the privilege of hosting two very talented local graffiti artists Tom Edwards and Andy Cooke, from Entrepreneurs in Piccadilly, Hanley. These boys, alongside fellow artist and businessman, Rob Fenton, also run the Hall of Fame legal graffiti wall in Stoke, as well as Upstairs Gallery and Present Screen Printing workshops. To say these guys know what they are talking about is an understatement! For the whole day, Tom and Andy took it in turns to create a live piece of graffiti art on the patio area of the Mitchell Arts Centre, as part of our BIG Make. People were also welcome to come along, have a look and also have a go at spray painting stencils onto the piece. The sun was shining, the paints were flowing, it was a great afternoon. Who knows, maybe our very own Blek le Rat was born that day.  

The holiday continues to roll on with workshops centred around dressing the city for the bank holiday extravaganza, Appetite’s The Big Feast, which will showcase a whole weekend of street performances, art and culture across the city. Wavemaker will also be working with Future Lights, a Staffordshire University supported competition for recent ceramics graduates from across Europe, where we will introduce them to new technologies and possibilities in ceramic design. And if that wasn’t enough, Friday 2nd September Wavemaker will have its very own Stoked-on-Tech Summer 2016 Exhibition. This will give the opportunity for makers across the summer to showcase their creations from the various workshops, and also give local artists in the city the opportunity to exhibit their work, bringing together present artists from the city with our future makers. We want to give young people in the city the chance to meet current artists and make them aware that the career opportunities are there to do what you love, and love what you do.  

The holidays may be drawing slowly to a sunny close, but there’s no doubt the last few weeks will be some of our busiest. #StokedonTech #LoveStokeLouder

#StokedonTech: Week 2

By | 3D design, 3D Printing, artists, coding, Craft, digital, Laser cutting, Minecarft, Raspberry Pi, Science, sewing, sewing machine, stoke, summer, Technology | No Comments

 

Two weeks in and our Stoked-on-Tech Summer 2016 is in full flow. A handmade Minecraft Steve cushion adorns our sofa…and a creeper that we made to keep him company. Our first BIG Make, a retro games arcade using RetroPi, stands proudly in the break out area, Doom flashing invitingly at our visitors. It’s a welcome addition to our video and photo booth, again masterminded by the brilliantly creative and talented Alex of the Wavemaker team.

The first session of our Stoked-on-Tech Summer, kicked off with a two hour session in Minecraft, which still continues to attract fans across all ages. Our enthusiasts turn up, rocking Minecraft t-shirts of every kind and spend two hours flying through our very own Wavemaker World, helping each other build the most amazing structures and generally just having a ball.

To continue with the theme of Minecraft we also decided to put on a Make your own Minecraft Steve cushion. Now, some people may think that sewing is hardly exciting, but I’ll have you know that it’s a skill that will always be important. Teaching children to mend and create from scratch is so important to us. The pride you get from creating something from nothing is what we get up for in the morning. In a society that is slowly turning its back on the ‘throw away’ culture, the ability to mend and sew is more necessary than ever. Everyone has that one toy or teddy that was loved to death as a child and had to mended multiple times. And there was no greater gift that receiving said toy back, all limbs in tact….even if a little wonky.

Our budding sewers did a fantastic job, the patience that is required is sometimes something that puts people off activities like sewing, but these guys had the patience of saints. They were going to sew that Steve cushion, no matter how many times they lost their thread or struggled with their needle. At the end of the two hours they all left with their cushions, made from determination, commitment and a love of everything Minecraft. We’ve since been told that Steve is being very well looked after at home, and a creeper of their very own making has also joined him. It’s good to know that he’s settled.

In week one we also hosted our first BIG Make and we had a week of building, wiring, sawing and drilling. The guys who came to help were fantastic! They jumped head first into the challenge, and at the end of Friday afternoon everyone stepped back in wonder. We’d done it. Then ensued the fraught ‘taking of turns’, it’s a surprise we’re not still all stood there now waiting for our go.

Friday rolled around and it was the turn of our Wanne be a YouTuber workshop. This workshop was set up in response to a number of young people, whose love of vloggers and online commentators encouraged them to have a go themselves. If you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em I guess! The session covered everything from setting up, to internet safety, editing and creating their first online video. Parents even attended the session, intrigued as to what was involved, eager to get all the information required to ensure their mini YouTuber was happy and also safe.

Week two the activities continued with Rubbish Accessories, following on this theme of making from nothing, and make we did! Coin purses from drinks cartons to be exact. Simple yet very effective. One attendee even runs her own crafting group for kids and said the activity was a great idea for her own class. It’s always good to spread crafting knowledge beyond the walls of Wavemaker HQ and we hope the group get the same fabulous results ours did.

Our BIG Makes have continued, this week with Recycled to Regal fashion creation. An opportunity for budding designers to get involved in creating a haute couture costume made entirely of recycled rubbish. The finished item will put Karl Lagerfield to shame no doubt.

So that’s nearly it for another week! Customise Me is half an hour away from finishing and I can’t wait to get in there and see the decals that have been created this morning. Bedroom walls, laptops, any available flat surface will be getting a facelift this afternoon that’s for sure!

We still have four weeks left of what has so far been a great success, long may it continue until the end of the holiday and beyond. It’s safe to say that the Wavemaker team and its visitors are truly Stoked-on-Tech this summer.

Stoked-on-Tech Summer 2016 is here!

By | artists, coding, Craft, Laser cutting, Minecarft, Raspberry Pi, stoke, summer, Technology, young people | No Comments

Our brilliant Stoked-on-Tech Summer 2016 activities are here and ready to book!

This Summer in Stoke-on-Trent, Wavemaker want you to get creative!

We want to spread this positive vibe around our wonderful city. We are a place for your to experiment, innovate, and bring your ideas to life.

Our amazing, jam packed programme has loads to offer from Minecraft Monday’s to our brilliant city-wide Code Club Competition, Recycled Fashion, Textiles and loads more! Every week we will also host a new Big Make project in the afternoon for anyone to drop in and help out.  

Bring your Activity Planner to each activity to earn creativity points and prizes!

The best makes will be put on display during our Stoked-on-Trent Summer 2016 Exhibition on Friday 2nd September.

 

To book visit www.bit.ly/Wavemakersummer2016

#StokedonTech #LoveStokeLouder

Making waves while the sun shines

By | artists, digital, Laser cutting, stoke, Technology, Vinyl Cutting | No Comments

 

April has been a busy month here at Wavemaker, not least because we launched our new Maker Days, every Tuesday and Thursday 10am-5pm.

These two days give established makers and those just starting out on the road to makerdom the brilliant opportunity to come into our space, here on the top floor of the Mitchell Arts Centre in Hanley, and take advantage of our equipment, resources, great humour, fantastic hosting skills and modest nature (cough, cough!)

 

This month we have had a steady influx of makers and creatives, faces both new and also well established. We have had the pleasure of hosting the boys from Design by Weather as they wait to move into their new studio space at Spode. Our breakout space has doubled as a temporary office for the Weather team, and come rain or shine (Weather…get it?!) they have been steadily creating various website and graphic designs for local businesses and national projects.

 

Getting to grips with the laser cutter are our new members, Bret and Emma. Both working on different projects, Bret has been using the equipment to further develop ideas around creating 3D Minton tile designs for the visually impaired and Emma has been putting her Surface Pattern degree to great use by exploring different etching designs and effects. Both have been great additions to the Wavemaker space and we look forward to seeing how their research progresses.

 

Already established makers and creators in the city have also been in to try out our space. Local artists Deb Rogers laser cut some fab stencils for the new Art Stop in Stoke, which is a new creative co-working office and studio space for local arts organisations, The Cultural Sisters and Letting in the Light. If you haven’t had chance to get down there and check out Art Stop, you should do, it’s fantastic!

Another local artist who has been experimenting with the laser cutter is the lovely Nicola Winstanley, who came in to trial some ideas for a new art installation in the city. It has been great to start the first month of Maker Days off with artists from the city, using the equipment to benefit arts within the city. Long may it continue!

 

We have also had first year Birmingham City University student Liam in constructing his end of year design for his architecture degree. Liam, originally from Snyed Green, used plywood to create a model following his viewing platform brief. Through using the precision and speed of the laser cutter, he was able to start assembling something pretty amazing…let’s hope his lecturers feel the same way!

 

Another group who have been in to explore their creative flair, were the lovely ladies from the YMCA North Staffs based in Hanley. The girls created some fabulous pieces of jewellry and crafts during their maker session. We even saw some of these being sold at the monthly Community Meal hosted at the YMCA and sponsored each month by a local group or business. Alongside the meal, residents sell different items from knitted hats to ceramic crafts and CDs of original  music. It was brilliant to see the things they created here at Wavemaker being sold to the public and they enjoyed their time so much, that they will be back every fortnight to carry on creating!

 

With  a new sewing programme about to start here at Wavemaker, alongside our other offerings and Maker Days, April has definitely been a busy month and May is shaping up to be even more active. We have half term activities about to be revealed for the end of May, a new Code Club soon to be announced and yet more sessions to run with the truly talented people of Stoke, it’s definitely put a spring in our step.

 

out-landscape-blue

Is it Easter already?!

By | coding, Laser cutting, Minecarft, Music, robot wars, robotics, Sonic Pi, young people | No Comments

It’s been a busy Easter here at Wavemaker, two weeks filled with exciting and innovative activities….if we do say so ourselves!

 

Kicking off this chocolate marathon was our first workshop on Tuesday 29th March, Make you own Charm Bracelet. This workshop gave participants the opportunity to learn how to use Illustrator software to create custom charm designs, the laser cutter and then assemble their bracelet using jewellry tools. The session included both parents and their children working side-by-side to create, which was brilliant to see and something that we wholeheartedly encourage here at Wavemaker.

The session was a real success, and it was a great way to link technology with more traditional crafting skills, which is definitely a theme we hope to continue. By the end, everybody left the workshop with a bracelet adorned with personalised charms from stars and hearts to hamsters….yes hamsters…which strangely was a recurring theme throughout the week!

 

On Wednesday 30th it was the turn of a technology that has already had meteoric growth over the last few years and is set to boom in 2016, Virtual Reality. With Google launching the Google Cardboard in 2014/15 and smartphone technology now making virtual reality more accessible to the masses, this was an area of growing technology that Wavemaker felt needed exploring by the people of Stoke-on-Trent. Leading the session was Ollie and Sam from So Visual, a commercial photography company based in Stafford who also specialise in image stitching of your workspace/gym/home.

The workshop saw an influx of both parents and children, giving them the opportunity to build their own VR cardboard device and also feature in their own virtual reality environment, which was stitched together during the workshop. Using a special 180 degree fisheye lense and tripod, So Visual took photos of the group in a circle at 90 degree intervals and then stitched the images together to make our very own virtual reality mockup of our makerspace. Information about each person in the group was also written and then added to the VR environment so that pop-ups would appear when moving through the VR space. The session also gave the group information about the best VR applications available and there was also playtime, which allowed the group time to play in Virtual Reality and see whether their new assembled VR cardboard stood the test of virtual time.

Thursday’s workshop was a personal highlight for everyone at Wavemaker, a day that few here will forget. We were lucky enough to have one of the creators of the cult TV show Robot Wars host a session building small super antweight robots. John Findlay from Roaming Robots, now travels the country and internationally hosting robot competitions, events and workshops both public and private. John even made many a Robot Wars dream come true and bought in the world-famous Matilda for a meet and greet. For those of you don’t know Matilda, I suggest you look her up, (as a girl that grew up with two older brothers she was a personal hero.)

The session saw groups divide into teams, design and build their own ‘antweight’ robots. A robotic hamster also made an appearance, boasting a string tail and whiskers. Attention to detail was definitely high in that particular animal loving team. What followed was passion to rival any football derby or sporting competition, a head-to-head robot battle. The aim was to knock the opposing robot out of the sumo circle, best of three. Teams took it in turns to remotely control their robot, testing their design to the maximum in an effort to achieve eternal robot glory. The makerspace took on the atmosphere of an amphitheatre, adults and children alike cheering for their favourite cardboard gladiator. The three sessions that ran that day were fully booked and a day which Wavemaker will always remember.

 

This weekend was split exploring new emerging technology at the NEC’s Gadget Show and also hosting another hugely successful Building in Minecraft session, run in conjunction with the BBC Get Creative Day. This allowed young people across the city to come together and share their love of Minecraft in a two-hour free play and building session. Our next session will take place at the end of April so keep an eye on our facebook page and website. After all this weekend activity Wavemaker were ready for our second easter week of workshops. The first of these was Sonic Pi, hosted by its inventor Dr. Sam Aaron. This was such a momentous occasion for music and coding enthusiasts alike that I have created a blog post just for it. Check out Sonic Boom: A Day with Sonic Pi creator Dr. Sam Aaron for a full low down on that day’s events.

Last but in no means least was Wednesday 6th April workshop on Building your own Website in Weebly. The number of young people that attended this session was amazing, and they created some interesting and varied websites for you all to enjoy from football and rugby facts and figures to information on scratch coding and how to care for hamsters….yep told you it was a recurring theme!

 

All in all the Easter holiday has been a huge success, we have had new visitors to the space and have hosted some fabulous workshops, the likes of which have not been available in the city before. We will now pore over the feedback and begin to design a new programme for half term and also the summer, both of which we promise will offer workshops and experiences that you don’t want to miss!