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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: Scratch Coding Competition

By | coding, Science, stoke, summer, Technology, young people | No Comments

Calling all Coders! Whether you love Coding or are new to this fun and creative skill, this competition is for you.

To celebrate and promote Stoke-on-Trent’s City of Culture Bid 2021, Wavemaker have teamed up with the nationwide coding network Code Club and other Code Clubs around the city, including Hanley City Central Library,  to bring you an exciting competition for you to showcase your coding talents!

What do I need to do?

We would like you to create a piece of Scratch coding all about our amazing city, Stoke-on-Trent!

It can be:

  • A quiz
  • A game
  • An animation
  • An interactive sprite….or anything you want.

What are the rules?

  1. Coders must be aged 13 years and under
  2. Scratch project MUST be about Stoke-on-Trent and showcase all the amazing things the city has to offer!

How do I enter?

  1. Download Scratch for free if you haven’t got it all ready.
  2. Create your project.
  3. Open an online Scratch account for free at www.scratch.mit.edu
  4. Upload project to your online account.
  5. Share your Scratch project with the WavemakerStoke – Stoked-on-Tech Summer Coding Competition Studio on the Scratch Website bit.ly/wavemakerscratch

***Make sure that you get permission from an adult to enter and you put your name, age and a way of contact through a parent/guardian into the Notes and Credits section of your project.***

How long do I have?

Projects must be submitted into the Scratch studio (see above details) by 5pm on Friday 26th August. The best projects will be showcased at the Stoked-on-Tech Summer 2016 Exhibition on Friday 2nd September at the Mitchell Arts Centre, Hanley ST1 4HG. The Code Competition Runners Up and Winners for each age category will be announced at 2pm on Friday 2nd September, so make sure you can attend to claim your prize and Coding glory!

Get thinking. Get Coding. Get Creating.

#stokedontech #sot2021

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.

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.