When the Haystack Board first discussed the addition of the fab lab on campus several years ago, I wasn’t sure it was such a good idea. I was committed to the the handling of materials to make objects in such a way that it did not allow for the intervention of a tool as abstract as a 3-D printer or a laser cutter. I wasn’t quite pulled along, kicking and screaming, but I grumbled mightily.
Well, I was wrong. The fab lab has been an extraordinary addition to the classes here. It is seen as an auxiliary service. There are no fab lab stand-alone classes. Any student is welcome to take a problem to the lab and work with the technicians to see if there is a solution possible. Kindle took a form she had created from two pieces of paper stitched together and Helga and Margaret interpreted it through software for the laser cutter to understand. The technicians love the challenge and the students are opened up to new possibilities for their work. It is an effective link to the future of craft and fits into the commitment Haystack has to being a research facility in craft as well as an educational institution. Very cool. The byword today was “persevere “. One of the most impressive qualities shown by every one of these students is her commitment to keep pushing, refining and reworking. They keep going. That’s something you can’t really teach because no one truly believes you. There is a tendency to think that there is a secret or a magic formula that makes an admired artwork look easy or inevitable. Every excellent artist I know has worked with discipline and commitment over time, sometimes kicking and screaming, but persevering nonetheless.