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August 3, 2021

Groundwork RI – Developing & Model Making | Juliana Soltys, Jason Hebert | MID ’22

by Juliana Soltys

Intended Curriculum

Each group is at very different stages of the design cycle. Since we were unable to meet with PCF-Monday last week, we worked through the discovery phase. PVD and PCF-Thursday were both at the development stage. The main goal was to brainstorm the 2D drawings/sketches and 3D sketch models using cardboard and hot glue for the various design solutions. It was a fun, hands-on week for the youth to be creative and express themselves!

PVD Monday

It was a super hot Monday to be working outside, so we walked over to the South Providence Library next door. The librarians were very kind and generous to let us work downstairs in their community room. We set up a couple of folding tables and plugged in the hot glue, and the youth started cutting up cardboard, making 3D sketch models of trash cans. We gave them free rein to create any shape or designs they wanted; They just had to keep in mind the construction limitations and time constraints to build the cans.  

The girls decided to work together and created one larger model. They sketched out ideas and collectively constructed a rectangular bin, each taking a side to draw designs of messaging to paint on the can. The boys decided to create their sketch models but used each other to bounce off ideas. We walked around helping with construction questions and chatted about where we wanted to place the bins along Prairie Ave. 

Youth sketching and ideating trash can models
Youth using box cutters to cut cardboard and build models
Jason tallying votes of favorite trash can models

After an hour and a half of building, we came back to the greenhouse to vote on the top two designs to build full-scale models. Again, each youth voted for their two favorites, and the heart bin and trapezoid bin won!

Winning Final Designs

PCF Thursday

We took the primed planks of wood to the Hope Artiste Village to spend the afternoon painting with the youth. First, we divided and painted the 25 boards in Spanish and English using the list of vital signs. It was fun to get to know the youth better and bond about K-pop and their other interests. Then, using outdoor paint, we spent the afternoon sketching and painting colorful signs to plant (haha, no pun intended) around the garden.

Final Painted Signs
Final Painted Signs

PCF Monday 

Since we did not meet last week, we decided to spend the afternoon coming to a consensus about where we wanted to work. We spoke a bit about Hope Artiste Village and decided to continue the work at Galego. At first, we discussed solutions for soil drop-off and compost piles since they block the main path and are cumbersome. We traveled to Galego to discuss with Chandelle our ideas but soon realized that this was an area we could not intervene in our time frame and budget. After further discussion with Chandelle and the youth, we decided to focus on community engagement in terms of handing out communal veggies. Galego produces extra food, but the residents often do not know about the garden or its amenities. There is an opportunity to bridge the gap between the garden and residents through a weekly produce stand. 

We continued to ideate about what the stand was going to share with the community. It was not only going to be a place to give out extra produce but also share recipe cards. Since the garden produces veggies the residents might not usually cook with, we thought it would be essential to include a simple recipe to go with it. 

Back at the office, we used the whiteboard to sketch out ideas of what the stand could look like to draw residents to it and share the produce and information. It was important to have signage by the street and on the table for labeling the produce and recipe cards. Also, setup needs to be easy and simple enough for one person since Chandelle doesn’t have help every day. We came to a consensus on the table design and the advertising signage. 

Ideating Table Designs

Additional Activities

Jason and I are definitely not woodworkers, and there was a significant learning curve to building the trash cans. We first found plastic trash bins to go inside to hold the trash and started designing around the cans. We decided the housing should be made from 2×4’s and plywood for ease of construction and to keep costs down. Afterward, we reached out to a friend to check on our rough design and intended materials for construction. At the hardware store, we were ready to purchase materials, soon realizing that 2×4’s aren’t actually 2 inches by 4 inches. In reality, they are only 1.5 inches by 3.5 inches…a big mistake in all of our calculations…oops. Slightly frustrated and laughing at our mistakes, we sat under a pergola and recalculated all of the measurements to fit the 2×4 lengths at the store. 

Take 2 with our calculations…

We bought lumber, hardware, drills, and primer over three different hardware stores since some didn’t have the necessary materials we needed or their panel saws weren’t functioning correctly (always call ahead because it’s a 50% chance they work). Eventually, we were able to buy the necessary materials to start building one of PVD’s trash cans and get the proper materials for signs, even having to cut some planks with a pull saw (A great workout if you can’t get to the gym, 10/10 would not recommend). 

Back at the ID building, we constructed one PVD trashcan frame using 2×4’s, screws, and L-brackets. We still needed to get the plywood for the sides of the can, but that would be a trip to the hardware store for next week! We also cut down the smaller planks into 1.5 ft signs for PCF-Thursday to paint and primed the wood to protect it from wear and tear from the elements. Finally, the signs were ready for the youth to paint!


Overall, this week was highly productive but involved more backend work on our end than expected. Much of our time was spent finding and preparing the materials for the youth to work on in the following weeks. Because of time and resource limitations, we had to simplify a few concepts the youth had decided upon. Notably, we had to scrap the idea of a trapezoidal bin because of the amount of niche machining and purchasing necessary; therefore, we settled on creating a rectangular bin as a replacement. Surprisingly, finding the resources was the trickiest part of the week! Because of the obstacles mentioned previously, we had to spend more time looking than preparing. Regardless, it was a fun experience in light of the silly mistakes and obstacles that stood in our way.

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