This week we taught at Hogeland College in Warffum. The students were introduced to design, local materials, crafts, new techniques and our local value chain model. It was nice to see how enthusiastic the students became of creating something with their hands.
“I really like it, I’m getting all kinds of ideas.” – says one of the students, after we asked them to think of a sustainable product as an alternative to single use plastic. They come up with creative solutions to recycle plastic and to shop without packaging, and they use the local value chain model. After this first lesson about the working method of House of Design and the project Local Making Place, they will be taught by three professional designers.
‘As long as it bends’
The first day they learn to braid. Under the guidance of designer Esme Hofman, they make a basket of willow twigs. The technique that was used is called “random weaving”. Esme gives a short presentation about her work, materials and craft. It quickly becomes clear that there are countless possibilities. ‘You can actually braid anything, as long as it bends.’ The students pick it up quickly and are surprised at their own results.
Digging and drilling for clay
On day two we start working with clay. At half past nine in the morning we are – defying wind and weather – digging and drilling behind the dike at Noordpolderzijl. After about half a meter, the clay appears that we are looking for and take back to the classroom. Designer Marc Paulusma then explains to them how to process the clay before you can use it. With Tinkercad, the students make their own 3D design and Marc has brought a 3D clay printer, which he uses to print a cup. “I am pleasantly surprised at the designs they have made” – says Marc.
Clay specialist Wybren Veenstra takes over the lesson in the afternoon and briefly tells about the history of clay in Groningen and shows products that are and were made of clay. Then the students make different shapes, including a thumb jar, in order to get to know the material and the different techniques. Wybren gives tips: how they can best handle the material and how they can decorate the shapes.
Excited about creating
Looking back at the lessons, the students are especially enthusiastic about making something. They think it is special that they have made something with their own hands that comes from their own neighborhood: ‘It is special that you can make something like this out of a tree!’ During the making, you see a nice concentration and focus in the students. We also see that the students have a talent for a specific material or technique. For some the braiding goes very well and others are better with clay.
The involved teacher and director of the school are very enthusiastic and mention the added value of these lessons for the students. In addition to your head you also need to learn with your hands and it also adds meaning for the students.
Due to corona we had to adjust the program slightly, but we are very happy with the final result. We will soon discuss how we can take this further. Together we design the future!
Here are some pictures of the lessons: