It is the first day of Tinkering School. We are back from a one-year hiatus – taken to get Brightworks up and running – and it feels like we never left. The barn, the farm, the ranch house – it is all just the way I and the other collaborators who have been here before remember it. It’s us who have changed.
We start the afternoon with a simple project working with wire. Every session starts like this, simple projects that engage everyone’s hands so that we can all get used to each other’s company. A knitting circle where the conversation roams freely while we work to shape something new out of simple materials.
We quickly learn Josie’s look of concentration.
Connor sets himself to the task.
Lauren works out the kinks in a newly fashioned spiral.
Alonzo finds the process engaging, but manages to keep up a steady stream of very witty banter.
Changing to a new medium, Connor his efforts into shaping a very fine stick.
Not realizing what a source of great non-sequiturs it would lead to, Gretchen sets about making a model of her brother Sam’s head. When the wire proves difficult to cut, she asks me “Would you cut Sam’s eye out?” From there it just goes from disturbing to ridiculous in short order.
It is a great source of joy for Connor to know that it’s pretty much ok to climb on anything at the farm.
The goats, as ever, continue to be a great source of amusement for everyone.
They even pause for portraits.
Gever goes over the basic rules of Tinkering School.
New friends Ana and Josie.
Jared soon discovers that the wire does not always do exactly what you ask it to.
Concentration turns to exertion as Lauren applies herself to cutting the wire, squeezing until her elbows shake.
The thing about Blake’s constructions is that he understands exactly what he is making, even if those around him cannot suss it out.
Jared teaches Alonzo how to fold the napkin in a fancy way around the silverware.
After dinner, Gever explains just how big the project for Monday is, and then shows the tinkerers examples of Andy Goldsworthy’s work to help them understand what is possible with simple materials.
Every week of Tinkering School starts with a hypothesis, a question that we ask and attempt to answer in some way. Tomorrow we are asking if tinkerers can be as engaged building something with an aesthetic intent as they are when building a vehicle. It seems odd that we have never tried this before.