Spring session is our shortest, lasting only 6 weeks, but we made every moment count! From building out a chicken coop bungalow to designing transportable beach chairs, check out what our students—middle schoolers, high schoolers, and adults alike—accomplished this session.

Advanced Design/Build

Spring session was a continuation of the project our Advanced Design/Build cohort started designing in the winter: the chicken coop for Growing Leaders. In April, our high school builders started constructing the coop itself, including framing the walls of the chicken run and building out and framing the California-bungalow style mini chicken house (with a 2 gable roof). On Saturday May 11th, our students and instructors installed the entire chicken coop on-site at Willard Middle School. It was a long day, and the building to-do list was long: raising and attaching the framed walls, hoisting up the pre-assembling coop house, attaching the coop house to the framed walls, attaching roof trusses, fascia board, and blocking to the run side, hanging and leveling all the doors and attaching locks, hasps, and other hardware, trimming out the windows, attaching standing seam roofing, adding bracing underneath the chicken house, and installing roost boxes. The final project itself (affectionately nicknamed the “Bungamelon” for the watermelon painting) was one of our finest, boasting space for 24 chickens to roost, run, lay eggs, and relax.

Architecture + Activism

In lieu of Construction + Community, we decided to offer a brand new class for high school students this spring: Architecture + Activism. This architecture studio course brought 14 high school girls and gender-expansive youth, 12 of whom were brand new to Girls Garage, to learn architectural basics such as precedent studies, site surveys, drawings (plan, section, elevation), and representational techniques. These students worked on designing spatial concepts for a community altar space for Community Works West, a community organization working to support families who have been impacted by incarceration and Designing Justice + Designing Spaces, an architectural and design firm that engages with communities to address the root cause of mass incarceration. The spatial concept design had a few constraints: 1) there needed to be an object to sit on 2) there needed to be an object to place altar items on and 3) there needed to be a vertical element to create semi-privacy.

At the end of this 6-week studio, our students presented their final spatial concepts to members from CWW and DJDS. We couldn’t be prouder of this group’s work, and we can’t wait to for another Girls Garage cohort to build the final design on-site at CWW!

Womxn in the Woodshop

One of the many amazing features of our new workspace is that its almost twice the size of our old one…which means that we can run concurrent classes! We piloted an adult carpentry class, Womxn in the Woodshop, where instructors Augusta Sitney and Evie Ortiz taught a diverse crew of 7 adult women and non-binary folks how to use power tools to build a collapsible step-stool. These adult students had various goals—some wanted to be in community with other creative types, others wanted to be able to repair things in their homes, and one even admitted to wanting to feel more confident in assembling IKEA furniture—but they all walked away with a deeper knowledge of building, including using the chop saw, reading a cut list, and assembling lumber with drills, impact drivers, and a speed square. We loved this group so much, and we’re excited to continue offering adult programming!

Adult student at miter sawFinal step stools

Protest + Print

We mixed it up in Protest + Print this session with a heat press! A heat press is a printing machine that uses high temperatures to transfer a design (made from vinyl or plastisol) onto a “substrate,” which in our case was a t-shirt. (We likened the machine to an ‘intense panini press.’) Our students selected an individual they admired, as well as a resonant quote, and they pressed a stylized stencil of the portrait + text onto two t-shirts, taking care to consider color, composition, and fit. It was a fun way to explore a new medium!

students holding heat pressed shirts

Carpentry + Woodworking

Our middle school students embarked on building one of our coolest small projects to date—nesting beach chairs! This project included using 3 different types of power saws: the chop saw, the jig saw, and the band saw. The chairs were built from the reclaimed redwood that was left over from the geodesic dome we built for the Eames Institute last year.

In other news: