The time we got Overlapped!

Posted by on Jul 3, 2013 in Uncategorized | No Comments

We got invited to the last Overlap in Touchstone centre for Crafts, out in the wilder parts of Pensylvania, working with Mike Hruska and Ryan Coleman, longer term Overlappers. The Centre hosts blacksmithing with Dennis and ceramics with Leigh, as well as plenty of other skills to learn.


We took over the whole place for a weekend themed on making, and including some of our favorite makers and so many new people to meet.


Together, we had planned a loose structure for people who wanted to experience some make space, and a whole range of starting points for those who didn’t arrive with something they wanted to make already in mind.

Pooling our skills and what we all wanted to offer made the first day full of many new things to do and experience. Touchstone Centre also provided ceramics and iron work.


Collaborating with Madeline Gannon, I developed a reverse scavenger hunt – one where the clues are instructions around what you should make in the environment. Around the grounds we placed recipes to react to and make from, and we were so delighted at the responses.

Overlappers produced some subtle responses to the clues we placed around the Centre’s grounds.


As well as running socializing, business modeling games, arduino and icebreaking sessions, we also got some making time ourselves, hence a great big fan-hugging inflatable, and a longer term


For some time I had been working on a prevaricating about a paper chandelier, made with led’s and small disposable batteries and connected with Bare paint. Finally I got some down time to put it together, and maybe a little too subtle for me, it did work.


Meanwhile, Madeline and Zack had been creating an underwater trail using led’s and disposable batteries and sealing them in ziplock bags, and placing them under the water. So we combined forces and created a nighttime trail with such subtle lighting, we were delighted at the effect.
pic here


Mike Hruska blew us all away with a bed base filled with large scale fireworks, which dazzled us into the later part of the night. Then we made cocktail until we could no more. There were some wonderful thoughts and issues that emerged from all of the making over the three days.


Issues in making from emailed list
Embodying the mastery, and the learning in something
How unapproachable new things can be, and how a good guide can walk you through the early steps and make it manageable
How can you scale mentorship?
How wonderful fire is, how elemental, and the pleasure of sparks
The basics of things, like twisting metal
Striking whilst the iron is hot: The moments when things are malleable, and then become set, and what that means for us.
That moment when you get an audience to suspend their disbelief, and join you in the magic
How ceramics and blacksmithing show the importance of the tangible in what we do, especially in experience design.
The levels of physical expertise we need to do things.
The importance of having an artifact.
The different ways people approach making.
The value of simply learning from people.
Sharing arduino and enjoying the serendipitous moments.
The sheer joy of creating.
Does this need to be made or why should it be made?What’s here that I can work with?
Its more than “I mad fit” it’s awesome!
Knowing when to stop
You can get good at anything if you do it 10k times.
Using the work fail is interesting – its just a part of the process. People outside of this place think failure is to lose.
Get the ides to where it needs to be in the form that it is.
Sometimes the idea just comes with working on something, as if the final form is inside the material, and all you need to do is to coax it out.
Watching the fire, so inviting, but you can’t go in there.
The value of rehearsing the choreography of the next movement you will take before you do it.
Intentional and unintentional creation.
Simplifying the making kits after use.
Picking up on the work of others and making it better.
The things we use can be right there.
Lets reposition bugs and failure.
The biggest barriers for others is the time that it takes


Everyone has a plan until they get hit – how you recover is what matters
Inclusive rather than an exclusive view works better
Don’t wait until you use your ideas
A quilting bee is not necessarily about quilting
Sometimes having the right name is all that you need
The context of the creek was missing from our prototyping
Its awesome to do things with others
Partnerships make things easier and more fun
Shiny stickers make things go faster
No matter what angle you come from there are deep things to find in every problem
Know your materials
If you take time with the design, you get better results when you make it
There is nothing stopping you from making anything
When a bird shits on your hat, wash it off.
It was nice that we got to sketch things out first
Having access to really good tools is a big part of the process
I’m struck at how a tiny bit of structure drives people to do things
Hot glue guns are fucking awesome
Learned to change a piece of polystyrene into a polyhedron
The importance of using waste
Sometimes when you are sailing with the current, some rocks can come up
Its important to zoom in and zoom out
I want to plan more randomness in my day
How easy conversations are when you are doing something with your hands
Test early, and this gets you into a new direction
Leave unstructured time open for amazing possibilities
Its special to have this moment together
Its fun to test a lot as well as standing in the creek testing your boat
Structuring open time into life
Had some amazing, amazing conversations
You need the pushback from others – if you surround yourself with yes people you don’t get it, and will go off blind
Always find room for someone to challenge you
I can forget the things I tell people at work (like testing and prototyping)
If you don’t know the laws of nature its easy to make them up
Mixing heavy and light materials – one to float and one to go far
Bending space time with a toothpick
Deep and rich conversations with people

The flakey internet was a blessing
Set a simple direction
Respect yourself as a maker
An amazing community of hugely talented people was our delight to play with for the weekend.


Making tin can telephones during the first evening session.
Making tin can telephones during the first evening session.
Oh, and I got to make an inflatable to clip over the huge fans they had at the Centre.
Making our own boats and racing them was a real highlight of the second day.
And a winning boat…created from foam core and gaffer tape, this baby could bounce anywhere.


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