Making That Triggers Family Memories

Making That Triggers Family Memories

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As part of the Making in Michigan Libraries project, we’ve been traveling the state of Michigan this summer for multi-day professional development workshops. On the evening of the second day of the workshop, we host a small MakerFest in the library. We have some variation in what we bring to each workshop. Lately, we’ve had a sewing machine at MakerFest, and we’ve noticed some really interesting things happening:

  1. This finding isn’t new, but it remains consistent over the years: boys and girls visit the sewing machine in equal ratios. Sewing a bean bag — our gateway activity — welcomes kids of both genders.
  2. Moms often talk to their kids about how there is an unused (or, in one case, a never-opened Mother’s Day gift!) sewing machine at home that they’ll need to get out to keep the sewing going.
  3. Moms occasionally sew alongside their children, waiting in line for their turn at the sewing machine. (Dads do not.)
  4. In one town, one of my teammates overheard a mother saying something like, “My mom sewed but never taught me.”
  5. With some parents, conversations start about how someone sewed clothing for them when they were growing up. We realize that there was a time when sewing one’s clothes was less expensive than buying new.

What I’m starting to realize is that the sewing machine represents more than a new machine to explore. It’s a station that connects people back to their families.

What in your space provokes family stories?

Image: “Sewing Machine Precision” by venturaartist on Public domain.

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