One of the first things we forget on the road between adolescence and adulthood is that making things can be very, very fun.
That’s the central premise of The Make Space, a group of 15 people who gather regularly under the auspices of founders John Stitzinger and Eric Furjanic with the goal of creating ... something.
Suffice it to say that the particulars aren’t important, but they are diverse — electronic clothing, hydroponics, traditional woodworking — all of it is fair game.
“The scope is pretty broad,” Furjanic said.
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But they’ve had to be a little more precise with their latest endeavor, a communitywide project that seeks to line South Allen Street with upward of 3,000 ice luminaries, more than enough to break the previously established world record held by Vuollerim, Sweden.
It’s a project so grand, so ambitious, so far reaching in scope that it begs the question — what the heck is an ice luminary?
It’s kind of a place for people of different skills to collaborate and work together.
Imagine a candle made entirely out of frozen water, with a small LED light taking the place of a wick and flame. If this sounds a little advanced for your current skill level, then take heart. You can’t make an ice cube without a tray and The Make Space is providing all of the tools needed to mold something worthy of the cause.
Earlier this month, kits were made available free of charge at locations throughout State College, including New Leaf Initiative, Happy Valley LaunchBox, Movement Arts Studio, Old State Clothing Co., Appalachian Outdoors and Noodles & Company.
At The Make Space, members have already begun experimenting with different production methods, incorporating balloons, blowtorches and other tools of what is admittedly a very weird trade into the process.
This kind of exploratory craftsmanship is par for the course at The Make Space, it’s raison d’etre in a handcrafted nutshell.
“It’s kind of a place for people of different skills to collaborate and work together,” Furjanic said.
The idea is for people to come to that little corner of Kelly Alley with an idea and assurances that all of the supplies that they might need for any given project are already waiting for them on the other side of the door.
That equipment roster includes a forge that can meltdown aluminum cans, a laser cutter and a 3-D printer. There’s also a steady supply wood and other materials that have been donated for use.
“It’s sort of always a mess. I think that indicates a healthy workshop in some ways,” Furjanic said.
Part of the appeal of the ice luminaries is that they can be constructed with many of the resources that can be found in the average kitchen, but to make it happen, The Make Space still needed a little seed money.
The applied for and received a 2016 grant from The Knight Cities Challenge, an initiative designed to spur civic innovation and engagement. So far, it seems to be working.
We have a few more people in State College but they likely have the advantage of colder weather.
Sheridan Sheehan is the marketing coordinator for State College Orthodontics. She heard about Light Up State College on Facebook and thought that it was a fun idea for the patients and employees traveling through the office.
SCO distributed 25 luminary kits in five days and an additional 30 units were delivered last week.
“People are more than happy to take a kit,” Sheehan said.
Finished luminaries can be dropped off from 2 to 5 p.m. on Feb. 4 at the block of South Allen Street between College and Beaver avenues, where The Make Space and company will attempt to make history.
While support for the project may be strong, nobody should be taking victory laps around the Swedes just yet.
“We have a few more people in State College, but they likely have the advantage of colder weather,” Stitzinger said.
How to help break the world record
▪ Pick up a free kit at the following locations downtown: Appalachian Outdoors, Discovery Space of Central Pennsylvania, Happy Valley LaunchBox, The Make Space, The Makery, Movement Arts Studio, Noodles & Company, New Leaf Initiative, Old State Clothing Co., Schlow Centre Region Library, Woskob Family Gallery
▪ Find directions on how to make an ice luminary and more information on the project, at www.lightupstatecollege.com
▪ Drop off your luminaries between 2-5 p.m. on Feb. 4 at the block of South Allen Street between College and Beaver avenues