Category

Minecarft

#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.

Summer, Summer, Summertime!

By | coding, Craft, digital, Minecarft, Raspberry Pi, Science, sewing, sewing machine, stoke, summer, Technology, Vinyl Cutting, young people | No Comments

Summertime is officially here…..well we’ve been forecast a heat wave lasting three days and that is good enough for me! Unfortunately, long gone are the days of six week holidays, staring into the abyss of summer, no school and the constant reminder that only boring people get bored and that my parents were not there to provide entertainment….water fight it is then.

Parents, don’t you fear this summer, Wavemaker is here! This summer we have launched our Stoked-on-Tech Summer 2016 activities programme. Six weeks of fun, making and creating, to keep your little (insert word here) entertained, interested and most importantly happy! With mornings ranging from Minecraft (Building in Minecraft)  and textiles (Make your own printed Tote Bag) to exploring new technology like Periscope (Introduction to Periscope) and also learning about the history of photography(Make your own Pinhole camera) Wavemaker have covered all bases. It really is a summer programme bursting with new activities, giving our community the opportunity to learn great skills and also the encouragement to carry on developing existing interests.

To run alongside the summer activities we will also be launching a special Scratch coding competition in association with Code Club and other clubs across the city. This competition involves children, 13 and under creating a piece of Scratch coding to promote the amazing things in the city, a way to really back the UK City of Culture 2021 bid. The competition will run for the whole summer and entries can be made by going to bit.ly/wavemakerscratch or check out our Scratch Coding Competition post for full details. We will also be running a Code Club drop in on Wednesday 17th August 2-4pm to help support anyone who needs guidance and support whilst creating their coding.

For a long time it’s felt like Stoke-on-Trent has a reputation of being a ‘down and out’ city when compared to its local counterparts, Wavemaker and ‘you’ are going to help change this. This summer our Stoked-on-Tech programme is all about bringing creativity and positivity to our city, instilling in our young people and community that Stoke-on-Trent has an abundance of talent, it’s a great place to live and we need to start saying that more often. I was told once not to hide my light under a bushel, and now Stoke-on-Trent needs to do the same. Let’s show off this summer!

Over the last few weeks we have been putting the finishing touches to our programme, thinking about all the things we could offer to keep people happy during the holidays. Designs by Weather designed and put together some amazing promotional material for us to spread across the city and online. Bookings are now being taken everyday for our different activities and the great thing is that they are affordable. The most you will pay for a two hour workshop is £5.90 and what’s even better is that there are a number of activities that are absolutely free! All you have to do is book on and turn up.

Another fantastic thing about Stoked-on-Tech is that we are running BIG Makes throughout the six weeks. BIG Makes will vary each week from creating a dress made completely of recycled rubbish, helping build a retro game arcade machine to creating a graffiti mural in Wavemaker HQ.  BIG Makes will take place Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons 2-4pm. They will be absolutely free and people can just pop in for as long or as short a time as they want to and get involved with our BIG Make.

With all this going on and everything being created, we quickly realised that if this summer was about showing off the talents of the city, we would need something to showcase this…that’s why we are hosting the Stoked-on-Tech Summer 2016 Exhibition on Friday 2nd September 11am-4pm at the Mitchell Arts Centre in Hanley…which is where Wavemaker is based if you didn’t know that already! The exhibition will be a brilliant way to present all of the amazing makes and creations that have happened over the summer. We will also be awarding prizes for the best makes of the summer, including the best Scratch project!  It will be open to the public and anyone who may or maynot have been involved is invited to look around at raw Stoke-on-Trent talent. We also want to take submissions from established makers in Stoke-on-Trent to come and show their work alongside the creatives of the future. This will be a fabulous way of bringing together the city and showing our community how great we are. If I had a Stoke-on-Trent trumpet it would be tooting its head off right now! So sit back and unwind this Summer, Wavemaker have got this covered.  #makersgonnamake #stokedontech #sot2021
For more information about our Stoked-on-Tech activities and exhibition please go to bit.ly/Wavemakersummer2016 or contact info@wavemaker.org.uk

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

Time flies when you’re making fun

By | artists, Craft, Minecarft, Raspberry Pi, sewing, sewing machine, stoke, Technology, young people | No Comments

Time just seems to be flying here at Wavemaker, it doesn’t seem two minutes since we welcomed in the New Year but six months seem to have flown by! May has been a particularly busy month, Maker Days are now in full swing, new groups are coming in for workshops and the last half term of the school year was lying in wait at the end of the month, which could only mean one thing. Workshops.

A workshop that I was particularly excited about was the Introduction to Sewing using a Machine, and I wasn’t only excited because I was leading the workshop…I’m not bias…I just love sewing and making. To prepare for the workshop I decided to do some CPD (Continuing Professional Development), and go to a sewing workshop to brush up on some skills. This workshop was run by Abakhan, a fabric shop and favourite Hanley haunt of mine. This particular session was at a store in Mostyn, North Wales. I say store, it was more of a converted farm complex, that boasted workshop rooms, hobby and fabric shops as well as a lovely cafe and gift shop. This CPD sounds terrible I know, and to make it even worse the sun was shining all day which made eating lunch outside unbearable…Who am I kidding, this is the best type of CPD I’ve ever done! Boasting aside, the workshop was extremely useful and laid to rest some fears around running my own sewing workshop, especially as this was the first one Wavemaker had ever done.

Back at Wavemaker, the sewing workshop day had arrived. The white machines stood proudly on the tables, the needles reflecting the rays of the early morning sun, ready to be reined by cotton thread like a cavalry of mechanical horses or metallic soldiers marching steadily across fabric fields, laying down line after line of stitching with military precision. Okay, maybe not military precision, the first class was specifically for parents and children after all, I could already hear the sound of the machines racing at breakneck speeds as foot pedals were pushed very firmly to the metal, the controller of the machine momentarily imagining themselves caught up in a Hollywood movie car chase, rather than creating a very fashionable and versatile accessory, the infinity scarf, or snood to those who know their Birkin’s from their Alexa’s.

These concerns aside, the day was a brilliant success. The parents and the children had a great time learning a new skill. The pride and sense of accomplishment of creating something out of nothing is a feeling that makes you truly happy. That moment when you finish, take a step back and admire your efforts, congratulate yourself at your ability to create does wonders for self-confidence, especially in children. That’s not to discredit the adults in the session in anyway, and in the all ages workshop that ran in the afternoon, theses feelings were reflected just as strongly. Helping to improve people’s skills and confidence is the underlying ethos of Wavemaker and I like to think in months and years to come, when our participants sit down in front of their trustee sewing steeds they will think back to their session, and my words will echo in their minds just like Mister Miyagi during the final fight scene in Karate Kid. Sorry I digress.

On Friday of half term, what is fast becoming one of Wavemaker’s most popular activities made an appearance, but this time with a twist. That activity is Minecraft. To those of you completely unaware of what this is, it is a computer game that allows you to build in a virtual world using pixel blocks. That is the extremely simplified version! The twist was that rather than building houses, bridges and towers made of rainbow glass they were making art using the pixel blocks and a Raspberry Pi. The young people who attended could create whatever they wanted within their Minecraft frame. We had Super Mario, Mushroom and Pokeball to name but a few. In the afternoon we went from computer screen to paper, with children designing pixel art on 16 x 16cm grids before copying these images using 1cm squared tiles glued into a wooden frame. The creativity and finished pieces were truly fantastic and really effective. It was great to create links between modern and more traditional mediums of art and making. The session was relaxing and yet productive, the young people walking away with an array of pixel art to proudly showcase and display on bedroom walls, a true testament to their creative skill and imagination .

All in all, half term was a really successful week and although the workshop output smaller than usual due to the Bank Holiday, the activities that we did run were thoroughly enjoyable. Wavemaker are now designing and putting together ideas for our summer activities programme, we are also open to suggestions, so if you have any ideas, get in touch by emailing info@wavemaker.org.uk.

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!