The entire DIY process for me has been a whirlwind of different events, emotions, and learning experiences. The process came with its trials and tribulations- and there were definitely some points where I wanted to pull my hair out, or just give up. But pressure, and anxiety became my motivators alongside of course my passion for the class and the projects we pursued. This class gave me the opportunity to explore a topic of interest of mine through creative DIY blog posts, and exploration of the skill. With the making process portfolio posts I could explore the world of electronics DIY, teach myself a valuable set of skills, and bring others along for the journey. I found it therapeutic toward the end of the project to be able to write my findings down, and solidify the knowledge I had just gained in a blog post. It was also comforting to be able to reflect on each days journey, and better envision where I would go from one blog post to the next. I will always be able to look back on my making process portfolio fondly, and see my personal growth throughout the duration of the project. Although the making process portfolio was a project that carried through the entire semester, we had many other projects as a class which I thoroughly enjoyed. Projects such as the class making project, creation of a podcast, zines, book binding and more.
Each class presented something new, and allowed me to gain knowledge on a subject I had previously known little of. Such as the class period where Makerspace pioneer Lauren Britton came in and spoke to our class about the upcoming wave of cyborgs: or those who use DIY methods to modify their bodies with electronics. I was extremely grateful for the opportunity to have Mrs. Britton speak in our classroom as she is such an influential figure in the making community. When we didn’t have guests speaking in our classroom, we had to opportunity of writing short answer responses to writing prompts, and exploring and critically writing/thinking about ourselves as writers and makers. I learned the most- in my opinion- in these class periods where we tried to answer questions that seemed to not have a distinctly right or wrong answer. Such as the prompt which addressed the question “what is writing.” The discussions that rose after we were able to write down our thoughts for a period of time I found immensely gratifying, and enjoyable. It felt like a great way to unify our class, and allow us all to share our opinions in a judgement free environment.
Along with having presenters come to us in the classroom, we made our own class field trip to the Kimmel makerspace on campus. Before the class trip I had been to the makerspace once before in order to gather information for my group’s podcast. Most of the magic of the makerspace however was introduced to me when we went the second time all together as a class. We were given a tour of the space and shown the machinery that is made available to all Syracuse University students 24/7. There were mulitple 3d printers humming at the same time, an embroidery machine tucked in the corner of the glass enclosed room, the vinyl cutter which had freshly cut stickers lain in front of it, and even a 3d machine which could produce a tangible 3d model of just about anything you could imagine. The makerspace really reignited my interest for the class, and opened my mind to the possibilities of 3d printing.
Another project that was a challenge but was also really fun was the class project. Our goal was to make something which had a rhetorical argument and we chose to make a model of the carrier dome, and highlight some of the injustices happening around the city of Syracuse and on the Syracuse campus. We used paper mache to create the top of the dome and cut the walls out of cardboard: making the intricate side details with paint. We left one side of the dome open to a figure of Otto the Orange displaying a message of the ideal Syracuse and Syracuse community relationship. On the outside of the carrier dome we placed clay figures under and outside the building being crushed by the structure, while holding little cardboard picket signs protesting the poverty, and huge social inequalities present in the city of Syracuse.
Through the combination of the activities and projects I was able to participate in within this DIY publishing course, I feel comfortable saying that participating in these activities and projects has made me a better critical writer, thinker, and maker.