BAC Students Make Spoons in One-Day Intensive Workshop

“Let’s Spoon” Campaign Familiarizes Students with Woodshop and Fabrication Tools

Students pose with their spoons.

Students pose with their spoons. Photo by David Morgan.

Despite it being 9 am on a Saturday, The Boston Architectural College's woodshop was lively, buzzing with excitement as students gathered to participate in the "Let's Spoon!" workshop. The one-day intensive workshop introduces students to a concept-to-production workflow and how to utilize the BAC woodshop, CNC router, and 3D scanner to craft beautiful, functional, hand held objects—in this case, spoons.

Passionate about the woodshop and all it has to offer, David Morgan, Bachelor of Architecture candidate at the BAC, is one of the creators of the "Let's Spoon" workshop. In partnership with Section Cut, a design resources website and network of teachers, David led much of its planning and promotion. Together, the BAC team and Section Cut hosted a lively event that offered support and instruction to students so that they could leave with the knowledge and confidence to continue their academic careers as makers.

"Initially, when we ask students to make a spoon using the tools in the woodshop, they say they do not know how," said David. "Within minutes, though, everyone is hard at work creating something so familiar to them. Breaking that boundary builds confidence for any realm of work in the design world."

Students who participated in the workshop started off by researching and formulating their ideas, followed by sketching and collaborating with other participants. Once the profile of cuts was drawn onto the wood itself, students then moved into the woodshop, where they brought their ideas to life.

"Once in the shop, controlled chaos ensued," described Craig Bender, Bachelor of Architecture candidate at the BAC and Let's Spoon participant. "We took turns on the band saw to get the general outline of our spoons, and from there we use several jigged up sanders and chisels to sculpt our objects. If you saw someone doing something you liked, you joined in. It was a liberating exercise."

Taking a realistic approach to design, the workshop supplements what students are learning in the classroom, as well as their internships and jobs.

"Each participant starts with one block of wood with a pre-cut bowl, which in a way is like a site. We then challenge students to use their design knowledge, intuition, and creativity to create a unique, yet common object," explained David, who also works as a monitor in the BAC's woodshop. "We throw a variable (an adjective or character) into the mix to influence the design process. Throughout the day, students are translating their idea into hand sketches and/or digital modeling, and then capturing these ideas with awesome new tools."

The workshop is structured to mimic the interaction between a client with needs and a designer with ideas. Since participants in the Let's Spoon workshop are given a "character" to translate into a design iteration, they must balance these assigned guidelines with their own thoughts and creativity.

"Typically, as a designer, you may have two to three weeks to produce a solid concept along with supporting materials, but during this workshop, you compress that design process and have a finalized product in just eight hours," said Dave Kurachi, Bachelor of Architecture candidate at the BAC and Let's Spoon participant. "It may be hard to believe, but it is truly refreshing when you have such intense time constraints, and at the end, have something tangible to demonstrate your skills. I can only assume Luke felt the same when he finished crafting his lightsaber."

The Let's Spoon workshop is part of a larger campaign to increase student fabrication on campus. The goal is to help students understand the value and positive impact of working with the College's fabrication tools. The process of making can be therapeutic, rewarding, creative, and so much more.

"Producing in the wood shop or fab lab is empowering," concluded Craig. "Understanding making and production allows one to move full circle through a design process. It enables you to become an inventor, to create real objects."

To see what students made in the recent Let's Spoon workshop, check out the photo gallery on Section Cut, and even more photos on Instagram: #SpoonWithBAC. Stay tuned for future events!