Bwogger Mary Clare Greenlees loves the Design Center and thinks that you should too. Full Disclosure: She also works there.
To the Design Center in the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Center for Teaching and Learning,
First, I would like to thank BarnardWorks for bringing us together. While searching for a job I came across the Lab Assistant position in the Design Center. They wanted someone who had experience working with different types of tools such as 3D printers, sewing machines, power tools, soldering, etc. and would be comfortable learning more tools. I had worked at a maker space at home so I thought this would be a perfect opportunity, even if I didn’t get the job.
Thankfully, I got the job! I had previous experience with 3D printers, power tools, and soldering equipment, but I had never properly learned how to use a sewing machine. My supervisors were happy to help! And within a few days, I made a crop top, pillowcase, and a tiny bag to hold apples. And from there, I jumped I became interested in different textile arts, like embroidery and weaving (!!). This exploration would not have been possible without the openness of the staff and their willingness to teach anyone who walks through the glass doors (as long as you have been safety trained which likes 40 minutes MAX). I can now create screen prints using a vinyl cutter (and make stickers!). I can use a sewing machine to make clothes that actually fit me. I can hand embroider clothes (in the process of repurposing my old Model UN shirt). And with my new-found confidence in making, am self-teaching myself how to weave! I never thought that I start my first year of college absolutely obsessed with textiles, but here I am.
Huge windows line west wall of the Design Center, allowing for natural light to illuminate the space. Coupled with the light grey color scheme and natural wood countertops, the Design Center creates an open, warm, and inviting atmosphere. The aesthetic of it is amazing and honestly, it makes working on any project enjoyable. And, they always have lo-fi hip hop study playlist playing in the background which makes it 10000% easier to concentrate on your project.
Spaces like the Design Center are important. It creates a space especially for women and people of color to create and become involved in the pedagogy of design. Most maker spaces are typically centered around white men, this was even evident in the maker space I used in high school. The maker space I used was very open and kind, however, there were few women in the space and even fewer women of color. To contrast that, the Design Center is entirely staffed by women (with a majority being women of color!). Seeing your identity reflected in the staff is empowering and allows users of the space to feel comfortable asking for help and advice. The Design Centers’ mission centers around equity, inclusion, and sustainability-something they take very seriously and contributes to the intoxicating atmosphere of the space.
Please stop by the Design Center! It serves both Barnard and Columbia, although it is on Barnard’s campus and is a gem!
accidental patriotic weaving via Mary Clare Greenlees