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September 17, 2015

Our Newest Institution: Make Night

September 17, 2015

Flower Mural at SmallBox

Here at SmallBox, we have a variety of institutions. You may have heard of some of our larger ones such as 24 Hour Web Project, Think Kit, and Nice Grants. However, we also have a few mini-institutions such as Game Night and Beer Friday. In January, however, we kicked off our latest mini-institution: Make Night. Once a month, we all get together for an evening filled with—you guessed it—making!

So how did Make Night begin?

Make Night started with the pure desire to make something. Anything. We have boatload of creative types at SmallBox, but sometimes creativity can be stifled by busy schedules, lack of support, or lack of resources. In an attempt to overcome some of these challenges, we decided to create an event once a month that would allow ‘Boxers to experiment with projects of all kinds in a safe and supportive environment.

We believe it’s super important to gather together while we work on personal projects. Most Make Nights, you’ll find everyone gathered in the Collaboratorium, music jamming, art supplies scattered across the table, and small groups talking over whiteboards. There’s no judgment, no grading, no critiquing—unless someone asks for it, of course.

What types of projects have we seen?

There is no limit to what can be created during Make Night. The only requirement? Make something. Knit sweaters, write music, mix cocktails. Just do something. So far this year, projects we’ve completed are:

  • Custom coasters, by Jenny
  • Linocut stamps, by Drew for Fitzcaraldo
  • An acrylic painting, by Colin
  • A tabletop photobooth, by Leigh and Nick
  • Calligraphy, by Lydia
  • Origami flowers, by Jordan
  • A mural, by Jenny and Sarah

Whew! That’s quite the variety! Seriously, there are no rules to Make Night.


What have we learned?

So far, we've learned a lot about making. More importantly, we've learned about how it makes us feel.

This rejuvenance we feel has little to do with what we make, but rather the experience of making itself. Making allows us to work with our hands and our minds in tandem. When we take on personal projects, we’re given the opportunity to express our thoughts and ideas in ways that are meaningful to us. Some like to disconnect with screens and tinker with a tactile experience of making, while others like to build ideas for interactive solutions that can be shared with the world. It’s all about the experience of individual making, as well as the celebration that accompanies the journey.

Do you have a project that you’ve been putting off because you simply “do not have time?” Try creating your own Make Night. Invite your friends and family. And remember to celebrate the experience.

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