Two tenth graders noticed a certain awkward muteness to the music room during chorus practice. Looking around the room they noticed, because of recent renovations, that the former musical note border had been painted over taking away the whimsical feel to the room. What was left behind was a shell or, in the eyes of the two boys, an opportunity for creativity. Later that week, in make club,they started brainstorming as to what they could do to bring the joy back into their music room. As the days went on they discussed the blossoming project with their friends and soon nine students, three teachers, and an outside consultant were all contributing to the project.
The first few weeks were filled with ideas including:
a mural painted directly on the wall
a 10”x10” printed removable sticker decal
a wire sculpture
a fabric sculpture
and with each new idea came new people.
A consensus was reached that the combo of fabric and wire would work best but many were still tentative. Design was the next big step. Finding inspiration in the music staff, students began to give the staff dimension and shape for the 3D world.
Faculty advisors joined meetings to gather a list of supplies. A trip to home depot was made and the assembly of the first try at a sculpture began. Wire was threaded through the eyelets of screw meant for wood joints to form the ridges of a 3D wavy music staff.
The first notes we created for the staff were poorly produced with thin wire and the first difficulties arose. The wire came wrapped into a circular shape and and the more we formed the wire into the shapes we wanted the more mangled the wire looked. Shaping the wire created little finger sized bumps all over the wire making it look like a kindergarten arts and crafts project. However, before these problems could be addressed the design changed, as a result of an idea from faculty advisor BC. The new design featured a point of convergence from which the two halves of the staff would emerge.
Aesthetics were the next challenge. How do you execute the design without mangling the material? How do you make everything stick and look good? These were among the questions posed when we skyped with fabric sculptor Ana Hernandez, a friend of BC. With Ana’s help the group moved past all doubts about the mixture of fabric and wire. And a second trip to home depot brought us spray paint, extra wire, and window screen to work with, the last pieces to the puzzle.
New found confidence in the design and new supplies lead us to begin making big design choices. We learned to sew, with the help a peer, so we could help make notes. Another student helped to declutter the design and place notes. We took spray painting in turns to get the perfect finish.
With the end of the year fast approaching weekly meetings were no longer going to cut it we started working on building notes and wrapping wires in our free periods and even worked out a two hour after school session. The project became what you did when you were free and at school; Specific lunches were dedicated to working on the time consuming task of sewing the covers onto notes. However, with all the time invested in the project figuring out how to have lights turn on when a frequency is played in the room was quite a challenge for,freshman, Ryder and, sophomore, John. The biggest interactive piece of the project was put on ice to allow for a finished product with the close of school. The lights on this temporary stopping point will light up sequentially and work on the desired product will continue and hopefully result in the finished product we wanted.
This project has made a big impact on make club’s inclusiveness. Make was not very widely populated until the project picked up and filled the media lab with people from a wide variety of backgrounds. Students from the school’s stage crew, students who were active artists, athletes and actors joined to make this project happen. Aside from the two faculty advisors the club already had a third teacher come in to check out the fabric work. The project somehow managed to hold the attention of a professional fabric sculptor. All nine students and three teachers put their time and effort into their specialties and each others specialties to make this project a success. The project allowed for everyone to participate, contribute, and be considered on the same level.