We kicked off 2022 with a host of new (and challenging) projects for our students to tackle! We were emboldened to dream up bigger and more ambitious projects, and in just 8 weeks, our students learned how to use a rug-tufting gun, bend metal with a hydraulic press brake, build the exterior plywood frame of a derby car, and more. Even when faced with a new tool or technique, our incredible builders worked together to problem-solve and support each other through the process.

Advanced Design/Build

Our Advanced Design/Build crew always creates pro bono construction projects for community partners, but this term they finally got to create a take-home project: steel lamps! Make no mistake, this project was full of new technical challenges for our seasoned teen builders. Our students took 2 field trips to a local machine shop to witness the incredible waterjet cutting process and to physically bend their sheets of metal on a hydraulic press brake. Chris the machinist was teaching and cheering our students along every step of the way! Back in the Girls Garage workspace, our students assembled their cherry wood bases and used our MIG welder to spot weld the bent metal. And just like that, the light at the end of the proverbial lamp tunnel appeared!

Steel Lamps Advanced Design/Build Girls Garage

Construction + Community

In our second term of Construction + Community, our students tackled a number of construction + design projects. They began the term by building 2×4 benches for the Chapter510 stage with instructors Emily Pilloton-Lam and Augusta Sitney. For their next carpentry project, they built the external plywood structure of the derby car that will race in the legendary SFMoma Soapbox Derby with Augusta at the helm! On the design side of the term, instructor HyeYoon Song led the group in a process of identifying an ancestral talisman and block carving it onto linoleum. The collective print was then printed on the risograph in multiple ink colors on the last day of class.

Girls Garage Soapbox Derby Car

Protest + Print

Our Protest + Print class tackled a new medium to our artistic portfolio: rug-tufting! This winter, our students explored the idea of their own personal ‘talisman,’ drawing from familial, ancestral, and cultural experiences. They translated their talisman into 2 artistic mediums: a rug (which called for the talisman to be simplified) and risograph tarot cards (which invited expansion and illustrative detail). Instructors Emily Pilloton-Lam and Augusta Sitney led the tufting process, and Bethany Kaylor led the tarot card creation. Over the course of the term, our students became experts at rug tufting and troubleshooting the ever-so-lovable, ever-so-sensitive risograph printer!


Carpentry + Woodworking

Carpentry + Woodworking is an afterschool carpentry class for students ages 9-14. With the help of instructors Emily Pilloton-Lam, Augusta Sitney, and Hannah Geitner, the first cohort of students built and painted miniature hand tools, including plyers, hammers, screwdrivers, and even a drill! The second cohort of students built a 2×4 planter box bench for Rock Paper Scissors Collective, an Oakland-based arts community.

Carpentry + Woodworking Girls Garage

In addition to our construction and design projects, here are some other updates that happened in the past 3 months:

  • We released our newest promotional video, created and edited by award-winning documentarian Ellie Wen
  • Emily Pilloton-Lam’s TEDTalk What if women built the world they want to see?¬†dropped to incredible fanfare
  • We added new items to our shop, including a cozy tie-dye hoodie
  • We held our first in-person fundraising event at Ashby Lumber! There was axe-throwing, corn-holeing, taco-eating, and general merriment.
    Girls Garage Fundraiser at Ashby Lumber

And that’s a wrap on winter session! There’s no spring session because our staff is going on sabbatical, but get ready for summer…our projects are gonna be the biggest, boldest, most ambitious yet!