Weekend workshops begin in the ARS Makerspace


Emma Foster

Itzel and Abby, juniors, work on making a Do-Nothing toy. They will host a workshop on how to make this toy on Sunday, November 23rd.

Emma Foster, Co-Editor In-Chief

Starting last weekend, the Maker Studio class will host workshops in the Makerspace throughout the semester. These workshops are open to students, parents, and the community, and will teach skills ranging from woodworking to sewing to digital illustration.

“I knew that what a Makerspace needed to be was like a place where a community of people can come together,” said Ana Josephson, who teaches the Maker Studio class.

This class is officially called Problems and Solutions under AISD’s curriculum, and requires students to solve a big problem as their final project. “I just thought, ‘well there’s the problem: how do we make this a community space?’” said Josephson.

Jana Ploetz and her group are leading a workshop on how to make puppets.

“We got the idea because puppets are really cool,” said Jana. “In ninth grade physics we made a Ms. Jo puppet for a physics project and that went over really well…now we’re making puppets again but bigger and better.”

“I’ve learned puppets are a lot harder than sock puppets, like there’s a lot of stuff that goes into it,” said Sophie Penniman, one of Jana’s groupmates. “It’s really fun and I enjoy sewing…even high schoolers and adults have reacted very positively to our puppets.”

Abby Dougherty and Itzel Ruiz are leading a workshop teaching participants how to make a “Do-Nothing” Toy. Through preparing for this workshop, Abby and Itzel said they’ve learned valuable skills like woodworking and patience.

“We’re super close to being done…this is the third class period,” said Abby. “It just doesn’t like to work!”

Bookbinding Workshop at the Ann Richards #makerspace #arstars #arsmaker

A video posted by Ana Josephson (@anajostudio) on

The Maker Studio class is held in the Makerspace, which is now almost complete after ARS received a grant from Impact Austin to build one in the school last summer.

So far, many of the students have said they enjoyed it.

“Making things is fun,” said Itzel. “I love [the Makerspace]… my favorite part is the chop saw. (unclear?) It’s always been my favorite part, even when we didn’t have this space.”

However, the Makerspace still has some ways to go before it’s ready to welcome the greater community.

“I feel like not everyone knows how to use the materials and tools,” said Jana. “If we’re going to open [the Makerspace] up for everyone, like the public…it’s going to be a lot harder for people to come in and use it if they don’t know how to use the materials.”

The weekend workshops will transition this Makerspace into being more community focused.

“The whole idea is that it’s a student-led space,” said Josephson. “We can offer lots of leadership roles for students…they feel safe, and they’ve been preparing for it in class, and it’s something they choose themselves so they enjoy it and they’re going to be passionate about it and have pride in it.”