Crafting Connections

Highlights from the December Share and Show with the Maker Learning Collaborative

An amazing time was had by all at the December Share and Show event hosted by the Maker Learning Collaborative, a diverse group of maker educators who have come together to map out maker learning in southwestern Pennsylvania. Powered by Remake Learning, the Maker Learning Collaborative is made possible through the facilitation and leadership of Nina Barbuto, Executive Director of Assemble, Nick Schiner, Director of Peer to Peer Professional Learning, and Kelly McNeil, Learning Experience Designer, both with Digital Promise. 

Share and Show guests convened at the delightfully designed Makeshop located in the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh for food, drinks, networking, and some incredible presentations by local maker educators and teaching artists. You couldn’t ask for a better location to inspire imaginative ideas and hands-on creativity. Design matters at the Makeshop and the attendees were surrounded by art and maker tools showcasing the space’s open invitation to make, play, and design with real tools. 

Share and Show presentations were given in a quick storytelling format that allowed for several great demonstrations of maker learning as well as engagement and questions from the audience.

Jen Haefeli presented her tale as a creator making Leading Ladies of Flight & the Space Age, beautiful hand-drawn historically based paper dolls highlighting the achievements of women in space. Jen shares her designs with educators and provides QR codes to her resources which you can find linked in her presentation.  

Maura Bainbridge, Assistant Director at industrial arts workshop (IAW) shared some wonderful pictures and stories of programs at IAW including the Summer Welding Bootcamp and After School Welding Lab. The programs have been a hit with students as Maura and IAW look to expand opportunities providing unique artistic and skill based experiences to the youth of Pittsburgh. 

Dazzling folding artistry was on display through the presentations of Evelyn Leinhard, Adult Learning Coordinator at Assemble and Madonna Yoder, Origami tessellations instructor and owner of Gathering Folds. Evelyn told The Story of My Paper Jam chronicling her journey with Sky Dog Workshops doing after school origami and special events, boosting students’ confidence, artistry and creativity with simple handmade designs. Madonna shared There is Magic in a Sheet of Paper marveling the audience with the sophisticated, mathematical artistry of origami and tessellation folding. Be sure to check out The Advent of Tess she has created on her website to get started learning origami tessellations yourself!

Also from Assemble, Melannie Taylor, Teaching Artist, and Veronica Green, Off-Site Curriculum Coordinator, presented Afrofuturism and Visions Programs, an offsite youth program using a cultural aesthetic combining science-fiction, history, and fantasy to explore the African-American experience. 

Max “GEMS” Gonzales took the audience on a mini autobiographical journey telling their story as activist, art educator, muralist and Pittsburgh’s most wanted graffiti artist. Max shared how “through their different roles as an artist, Max seeks to give value to underrepresented voices, movements and art forms to challenge any established socioeconomic barriers, elitism, or bigotry to redefine the role and importance of art”. A glimpse of Max’s incredible work can be found at Do What We Love

Rounding out the evening, Kevin Goodwin, first and second-grade teacher at Falk Laboratory School presented Dominos with Intent showing what unstructured, whimsical play can look like and do at a variety of grade levels. Mindfulness, social-emotional learning and potential for research were all takeaways for the group. 

All in all, the event was a great time for maker educators, artists, and community members to learn, share and get connected to each other to further support growth and opportunity in maker learning in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Authored by

A head-and-shoulders portrait of Kelly McNeil
Kelly McNeil

Kelly is a Learning Experience Designer at Digital Promise.