One of the things I have been occupied with lately was to establish a community of artists and designers in our local community center.
Very experimental if I may say so.
We started by picking a theme every period of time and offering lectures and workshops within that theme. Our current theme is construction and deconstruction. We launched the period with a talk and free community workshop of building from nothing. My initial idea was to bring in an amazing designer - Joy from GodSpeed. I was excited when I found he was living in israel, too happy too fast. Because unfortunately, he moved back to Europe before our workshop was to take place. Since I am a true optimist and always see the good in every bad, I immediately decided we can just do it ourselves (crazy me), and instead of having each participant build his own thing to take home we will build something together for the Community Center lounge. So I called it a deconstruction and spontaneous construction of furniture.
Now all we needed was junk, nails, hammers, drills, food, paint, and lots of hands that were eager to make something.
Events like this are really hard to predict. It all depends on how many people participate, their skills and the junk we have to work with.
We had about 20 people, 7 of them kids. Only one of the adults was an actual carpenter.
The goal was to build few pieces of furniture for the Center lounge:
a sitting area
The process was as follows:
Getting together for the first cup of coffee
Presenting the list of things we were hoping to build
Breaking into groups
Deconstructing all the broken furniture we had collected
Reconstructing what we needed.
It took about an hour for people overcome their fear of the unknown, and before the creative juices were pouring like crazy. The most interesting thing was what happened with the kids. At first they ate...a lot... then they tried to help with what they could (getting nails out etc.), but then the equation changed and they took control. They decided this was not enough and they wanted to make something themselves (we are talking about kids 5 to 10 years of age). Soon enough they deconstructed old skateboards, and with the help of Zvi they constructed a sliding board and a time machine. The younger kids teamed up with their fathers in building a car, a horse, and a wheelchair. All the furniture and toys that were built stayed in the Community Center (which was hard for some of the kids).
I know that if we were to have another day like that it would not turn out the same, and that’s what’s so nice about it. It was a fantastic day. We got so much done. What a great sense of community and accomplishment.
I think another workshop we’ll have to do is about building with wheels.