The Felt Lab–a different model, same maker spirit

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My friend, Mark Connolly, invited me up to St. Jacobs tonight (thanks Mark!) to UW’s new Felt Lab, which is hosted in the very kick-ass Quarry building on the river.  Mark and the uxWaterloo posse were connecting with REAP students to do fast brainstorming of applications of interactive technologies.  You can get deets on the lab from the recent Record article; I’ll just give a maker’s perspective.

Now the last time…

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I visited Quarry, they were still uptown at King and Allen, so it’s obviously been far too long since.

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This is a really cool workspace.  The Einstein cafe here with student Paul Goodwin setting the stage for…

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the evening’s “thinkering” (nice!)

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Great design sensibility throughout the space.  This must be inspiring to work in every day.

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Ceci n’est pas Photoshop trickery…

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it’s interactive floor projection.

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Mark chatting with Dr. Jill Tomasson Goodwin who is an Associate Professor teaching Digital Arts Communication at UW, and doing interaction design research.  Jill kindly rescued me from being lost on my way to the lab as I arrived a bit late.

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Reconfigurable giant cubes in the lab allow for ad hoc work spaces and (probably) making some really cool forts.  This configuration made me think inuksuk.  Or giant Lego man.

This is a lot cleaner than the spaces where I typically make stuff with makebright.  Speaking of Lego, Felt Lab makes me think of that same model where discrete parts are assembled into something cool.  The “Lego” here, though, is sweet gear like Christie microtiles.  That’s sponsorship we only dreamed of when making kwartzlab where there was a lot of making from first principles.  Out of necessity.  It’s cool that there are now multiple maker spaces in our region that operate under different models and have different strengths.  That’s what I have always (worked towards + hoped for).

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The crowd split up into smaller working groups to focus on the various interactive tech that was available.

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(Manual focus for this one.  Thanks James Bastow for the Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 loan)

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Then back to the cafe area…

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where the individual groups reported back…

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the results of their discussions.  Lots of brainpower in the house.

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Wrap up comments from Dave Goodwin, founder of REAP and an Associate Professor of Digital Arts Communication at UW.  Good to meet you tonight, Dave.  All the makerly best to the Felt Lab.

Happy making,


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5 Responses to The Felt Lab–a different model, same maker spirit

  1. Mark Heine says:

    Nice blog post – great photos! I’m sorry I wasn’t able to make it out last night.

    • dw says:

      Hi Mark! Been a long time since meeting at TEDxWaterloo. Thanks for the kind words and taking the time to leave a comment. Much appreciated. Hope to see your around the creative ecosystem.


  2. bernie rohde says:

    Great coverage as always Darin ! Kwartzlab has a chance to go there on Monday. Nice to have this preview.


    ps the big clock is back in themuseum now, for a much longer stay this time. Thanks again for the introductions !

    • dw says:

      Thanks a lot, Bernie. You guys will have a blast at Felt.

      So happy your clock is on display. Let’s cross our fingers and hope THEMUSEUM purchases that awesome piece. I saw a recent pic on twitter of your latest piece with the LED head displaying text. Another amazing Bernie Rohde original!

      Happy making, my friend.

  3. Pingback: Felt Lab revisited–opportunities reaffirmed | makebright

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