Creative Circuit Kits for Girls
Sven TravisWriting and Research
Loretta Joelle Wolozin
blink blink designs creative circuit kits that provide all the necessary materials to engineer arts, crafts, and fashion projects embedded with circuits and simple electronics, specifically focusing on young girls & their beautifully inspired and uninhibited creativity.
Joselyn McDonald, a filmmaker turned technology designer, and Nicole Messier, an aerospace engineer, met in graduate school at Parsons School of Design where they both fell in love with all things wearable tech and creative circuits. Their passions aligned where technology and creativity intersect, and they both shared the same sentiment, “”Why didn’t we come across this earlier?” and “We have to get this experience in front of young girls!” Thus was the beginning of blink blink.
Passionate about getting more girls in tech and engineering, Nicole and Joselyn started designing an experience for girls to explore ‘making’ and crafting with technology and art. They began by hosting blink blink workshops in middle and high schools and after school programs where girls created sculptures embedded with circuits, paintings alight with LEDs, and fashion technology. Joselyn and Nicole knew they were doing something right when girls were interacting with building circuits for the first time and wanted more.
“I’ve never built anything technical, so it was really cool to learn something new!” Krista, an art student from Hamilton High School who attended a blink blink workshop, explained energetically. “I would love to do it again!”
After hosting workshops regularly for one-year, Joselyn and Nicole aimed to get this experience in front of as many girls as possible by designing Creative Circuit Kits. They started co-designing the kit, tutorials, and website with young girls to ensure the circuit materials, the aesthetic, and the language were inviting and accessible. In December 2014, they launched a first run of blink blink kits for the holidays and sold out. Girls were ready for blink blink!
“Learning how to build creative circuits changes the way you see the world, and you start to think about how you can incorporate circuits into everyday objects.” says co-founder Nicole Messier. “Building these projects is an empowering process!”
Over the course of the last year, blink blink has won numerous awards and presented at SXSWedu. In May of 2015, they are launching their Kickstarter campaign in order to get more blink blink creative circuit kits in front of young girls. Their site is buzzing with magical LED and circuit projects lighting up the world through arts, crafts, and fashion that are girl tested and girl approved.
Joselyn McDonald is an artist and technologist. Her creative practice incorporates a variety of media, from software, to video, technology design, and installation design, in order to explore subjects of meaning to her - like gender and equality. She has shown work internationally and across the US. Most recently, she's presented at The Computer Human Interaction Conference in Toronto, SXSW, and The International Tangible Embedded Interaction Conference. She currently lives, studies, and works in New York City. She is an MFA Design and Technology candidate at Parsons the New School for Design and an Media Lab Intern at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She is the cofounder of blink blink, the founder of FemTech(Design + Technology), and a founding member of the artist collective, Snaxx_and_Macs. In the fall of 2015, she will be joining Carnegie Mellon University's Human Computer Interaction Institute Ph.D program.
Nicole Messier is an engineer, maker, and designer pursuing her MFA in Design and Technology at Parsons The New School for Design. Her work and interest are focused on education, playful systems, and social change. She has been invited to teach workshops and present her work at major events and conferences including the International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction, Maker Faire, and The Contours of Algorithmic Life: a conference. In a past life, she earned a B.S. in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering from The George Washington University and spent many years living in the District of Columbia. She worked as a consultant for the federal government and Deloitte’s Postdigital Enterprise community, after working as a researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.