Karen Wilkinson and Mike Petrich are Science Educators for the Institute For Inquiry and project directors for a several NSF and NEA funded science, art, and technology programs at the Exploratorium. They founded and now direct the Tinkering Studio, and draw on more than ten years of working as a team, integrating science and art and technology curriculum for in-school and out-of-school learning environments. Of particular interest to them is the functional design of informal learning environments to foster creative thinking, and inquiry learning. They live in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Every day, there’s something new and wildly wonderful out there that someone has made by hand—a city built out of 100,000 toothpicks, a musical instrument that’s powered by the ocean, or a pop-up book that lights up, too. In The Art of Tinkering, you’ll be introduced to the individuals behind these and many more marvelous works, find out how they create, and get inspired to start tinkering yourself.
The Art of Tinkering is a collection of exhibits, artwork, and projects that celebrate a whole new way to learn, in which people create their own knowledge through making and doing, working with readily available materials, getting their hands dirty, collaborating with others, problem-solving in the most fun sense of the word, and, yes, oftentimes failing and bouncing back from getting stuck.
Each artist featured in The Art of Tinkering goes through this process, and lovingly shares the backstory behind their own work so that readers can feel invited to join in on the whimsy. Whether it’s sharing their favorite tools (who knew toenail clippers could be so handy?) or offering a glimpse of their workspaces (you’d be amazed how many electronics tools you can pack into one pantry!), the stories, lessons, and tips in The Art of Tinkering offer a fascinating portrait of today’s maker scene.
The artists and authors don’t stop there, though: They’ve also developed beginner activities for you to try on your own. So you can make your own circuits out of playdough, film your own time-lapse movie, build tiny robots that create art as they move, fuse plastics into beautiful fabric, make your own automata, and much, much more.
Shie Chien Huang
Cardboard Institute of Technology (CIT)
Leigh Anne Langwell
and many, many more!