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Kids turn e-waste into art at Hacker Junk school vacation classes

Posted by Melissa Massello  February 17, 2013 10:44 AM

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Photo: Keith Simmons


A finished "hacker junk" mosaic by artist/arts educator Melissa Glick.

If this winter has your kids climbing the walls and you're looking to direct their energy into more creative pursuits, send them over to the Arts at the Armory in Somerville this week, where they'll learn to design various art projects from discarded computer parts and other e-waste in daily "Hacker Junk" classes.

The series of classes, which start tomorrow in two sessions — one for 8 to 12 year olds (three classes) and one for 13 to 18 year olds (four classes) — are taught by Melissa Glick, a local arts educator who began making art from mechanical trash growing up as the child of a Raytheon employee.

"[Dad] would bring home discarded equipment and things he thought were interesting or could be used in some way," Glick said. "He saved everything. Taking them apart is like harvesting an ocean of unusual shapes, colors, materials. When you see them all spread out, sorted into like piles, its like a penny candy store. Eye candy, there are shiny pieces, bendy pieces, plastic gears all crying out to be played with."

In the Hacker Junk classes, Glick shows kids how e-waste can be broken down into those smaller and smaller parts and then used as materials for art projects, such as using lasers and mirrors from old scanners for mosaics. She began developing the multi-session educational program last July through the Artisan's Aslyum and road-tested the class with much success at October's "Mini Maker Faire" in Union Square.

Each class will focuses on a different project: drawing the objects and experimenting with composition and collage (day 1); clay impressions and designing patterns to use in a tile (day 2); carving rubber stamps based on an abstracted design from the clay project (day 3).

"The final mosaic will be a culmination of the focus, observation, and interpretation of the computer parts and will contain a complex interaction or 'conversation' between two-dimensional and three-dimensional objects based on their experience," Glick said. "It's a fun, unusual, creative project, and I think it's important for kids to get a rudimentary idea of how things we use every day work — that they are made up of many different parts and that people just like you and me design and make these things."

Classes are small (limited to between six and 10 students per class) and cost $59 per student (materials included). Sessions begin tomorrow, February 18th, at the Arts at the Armory (191 Highland Avenue, Somerville).

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the Authors

Melissa Massello is a newspaper journalist turned startup junkie and lifelong Bostonian who prides herself on her do-it-yourself attitude. From making her prom dress out More »
Tara Bellucci is a Boston-based writer that lives for fonts, food, and flea market finds. Whether decorating jars of her homemade jam for The Boston More »

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