Craft Lab Hosts Student Community-building Event

Arianna Mastali (MS-HCI) demonstrates the use of the Craft Lab knitting machine.
Allie Riggs (PhD DM) demonstrates the use of an industrial sewing machine.

Mid-November’s autumn transition foreshadows the stress of preparations for the Thanksgiving holiday, the imminent wrap up of final projects, and the near-term arrival of final exams as the end of the semester approaches. To alleviate some of the forthcoming stress, Hannah Hendricks, a master’s student in digital media (DM), and Allie Teixeira Riggs, a doctoral student in DM, hosted a fun community event for DM students using the Institute for People and Technology’s (IPaT) Craft Lab resources.

The purpose of the event was to let students relax, decompress, bond, and gain new insight into the capabilities of the Craft Lab which provides equipment such as industrial sewing machines, knitting and embroidery machines, 3D printers, and a number of other tools. Tim Trent, manager of the Craft Lab, and Arianna Mastali, a graduate research assistant in the lab, hosted 12 DM students at this community event.

Student feedback from the event included:

  • “It was a supersensory experience for me. Throughout my life, I feared the sewing machine, but the experience yesterday of understanding the mechanics of it and the wonderful workings of the sewing machine after using it has made me mindful of the possibilities. Also, the aspect of community building through knitting is an exciting concept and takeaway.”
  • “The [Craft Lab] experience was transformative, I learned quite a few things, and it was a safe space to be outside my comfort zone in terms of trying out something new. It was a great opportunity to meet new people within different fields of expertise.”
  • “It was interesting to learn about and see a nitty gritty industrial sewing machine and the rotational knitting machine. I learned more about the equipment in the Craft Lab.”
  • “I liked the bringing people together aspect of the event, sharing what we know, crafts we have done, and the digital media/computational craft we can do [using the lab].
  • “I could definitely see this event happening again where we meet and do a particular craft for a day.”

“It is incredibly rewarding to see student-led events like this happen,” said Trent. “When I first envisioned the Craft Lab, I was excited by the potential to take equipment that was already being used for research and open its accessibility and use to create a community space for folks to explore and learn new things. The feedback and energy over the past year, as seen in events like this DM student night, have re-affirmed the importance of the lab spaces IPaT provides, and I'm excited to see where we can progress forward.”

About the Craft Lab:
The Craft Lab is a unique makerspace sponsored by IPaT which is designed to promote craft and algorithmic making. The equipment in the lab is particularly well-suited for wearable/flexible electronic systems and is available to anyone interested in making soft objects. The lab includes equipment like sewing machines, CNC knitting and embroidery machines, soldering irons, and 3D printers. Lab users must complete a lab training session before being allowed to access the lab.

MS-HCI Updates

For More Information, Contact