In May 2021 we gave a workshop at Hogeland College in Warffum. The students were introduced to design, local materials, crafts, new techniques and the local value chain model from House of Design. It was nice to see how enthusiastic the students became of creating something with their hands.
Check the video:
“I really like it, I’m getting all kinds of ideas.” – says one of the students, after we asked them to think of a sustainable product as an alternative to single use plastic. They came up with creative solutions to recycle plastic and to shop without packaging, and they used the local value chain model. After this first lesson about the working method of House of Design and the project Local Making Place, they followed a workshop by three professional designers.
‘As long as it bends’
The first day they learned to braid. Under the guidance of designer Esme Hofman, they made a basket of willow twigs. The technique that was used is called “random weaving”. Esme gave a short presentation about her work, materials and craft. It quickly became clear that there are countless possibilities. ‘You can actually braid anything, as long as it bends.’ The students picked it up quickly and were surprised at their own results.
Digging and drilling for clay
On day two we started to work with clay. At half past nine in the morning we were – defying wind and weather – digging and drilling behind the dike at Noordpolderzijl. After about half a meter, the clay appeared that we were looking for and took back to the classroom. Designer Marc Paulusma then explained to them how to process the clay before you can use it. With Tinkercad, the students made their own 3D design and Marc had brought a 3D clay printer, which he used to print a cup. “I am pleasantly surprised at the designs they have made” – says Marc.
Clay specialist and craftsman Wybren Veenstra took over the lesson in the afternoon and briefly told about the history of clay in Groningen and showd products that are and were made of clay. Then the students made different shapes, including a thumb jar, in order to get to know the material and the different techniques. Wybren gave tips: how they can handle the material the best way and how they can decorate the shapes.
Excited about creating
Looking back at the lessons, the students were especially enthusiastic about making something. They think it is special that they have made something with their own hands that comes from their own neighborhood: ‘It is special that you can make something like this out of a tree!’ During the making, you saw a nice concentration and focus in the students. We also see that the students have a talent for a specific material or technique. For some students the braiding goes very well and others are better with clay.
The involved teacher and director of the school are very enthusiastic and mention the added value of these lessons for the students. In addition to your head you also need to learn with your hands and it also adds meaning for the students.
Due to corona we had to adjust the program slightly, but we are very happy with the final result. We will soon discuss how we can take this further. Together we design the future!
Here are some pictures of the lessons: