Attachment is something that we explore all the time in MAKESHOP, from sewing to woodworking to taping things together. We have had a set of building blocks in our space for some time now. These blocks were designed and built by our Museum Exhibits team. They are mostly made out of wood (there is also an aluminum block, a 3D-printed block, an acrylic block and some squishy foam blocks) and can be attached together using metal pegs/nails of varying widths. Recently, Derek and I had the idea of introducing other materials to attach the blocks together with.
We found some really nice cord in the Museum basement and got to work cutting lengths and securing the ends of fraying (we originally used electrical tape but are already finding out that we need another solution; probably glue or something to secure the ends of the cord). The addition of these simple cords changed the way you build with these blocks in so many ways. I couldn’t have predicted how much fun I would have during a day of playing with blocks and cords.
The cords allow for a much more flexible attachment than the nails. Therefore, you can make sculptures that move…sculptures that can be manipulated like puppets. It was great seeing how the addition of one material can change an entire exhibit piece. We prototype a lot in our space and it is always nice to see visitors having fun with things we may have just created that morning. I don’t know who has more fun with these changes; the kids or our MAKESHOP Teaching Artists. It are these little changes that can lead to big ideas.