Make digital art, get your stuff repaired Thursday, Friday

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Have you ever built a banana piano?

Have you ever built a banana piano?

Embedded textiles with digital components to make your fiber art light up?

Wanted to get that broken CD player, bicycle or other small item working again?

If so, come on down to your public library today and tomorrow for two free workshops.

Parachute Factory — a community Makerspace organization from Las Vegas, N.M. — will visit Socorro Public Library today, March 13, to conduct a free, hands-on workshop for teens, ‘tweens and the young at heart. Everyone eight years old and up is invited, according to Youth Librarian Britta Helweg-Samuels.

Makerspaces are “community centers with tools,” according to the group’s website. They bring together community mentors and resources to “design, prototype and create manufactured works that wouldn’t be possible to create with the resources available to individuals working alone.”

The Las Vegas Parachute Factory Makerspace is a collaborative effort of N. M. Highlands University, N. M. Department of Cultural Affairs and the Las Vegas Citizen’s Committee for Historic Preservation. It aims to create community connections through hands-on events in technology, art and culture. Parachute Factory claims to be an alternative to the “throw-away mentality” big-box stores foster, offering “a homegrown creative alternative to the current cycle of production and consumption that is killing rural America.”

The visit is part of the New Mexico State Library’s Makerspace Tour celebrating the library’s state-wide Teen Tech Week.

“Teen Tech Week is an opportunity to experiment with technology (and) try out new things,” Samuels said.

Even though the activities are being promoted for teens, “eight- and nine-year-olds can do them,” she said.

During the workshop at Socorro Public Library, participants will have the opportunity to try out MaKey MaKey, a simple invention kit developed by MIT to turn everyday objects into touch pads and then hook them up with the internet, according to Samuels. A switchboard piece the kit provides can turn anything into a keyboard, even bananas.

MIT invented the hard board; Makerspace — a national recycling/reuse movement — put it to use in creative ways.

“The Makerspace movement is a retro movement — fix what you have, or make it yourself instead of buying it,” Samuels said.

The Parachute Factory visit is a seed for local communities to start their own Makerspace programs, she said.

And for those who just can’t get enough of the great creative energy of the Parachute Factory, there is also an opportunity to participate in its Fix-It-Friday event at the Magdalena Public Library tomorrow, March 14, from 2 to 5 p.m.

“Bring your broken items and expertise in one area and trade it with community members who can fix your things,” Samuels said. “For example, if you know how to fix bikes, somebody else (needing bike repair) could help you fix your toaster or CD player.”

She said it’s a great way to get the get the community active, pool resources and get everyone to pitch in.

For more information, contact Britta Herweg-Samuels at Socorro Public Library at 835-1114 or splyouth@adobelibrary.org, or Jennifer Kent at Magdalena Public Library at 854-2361 or mpl@gilanet.com.

 

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