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The Inside Scoop on The Studio

By Daniela La Rocca

As I dig a little deeper into The Studio in the Target Gallery, I thought it was crucial to not only learn the wonderful benefits of a makerspace but learn what it takes to MAKE a makerspace and who better to talk to than Michelle Blodgett, designer and creator of The Studio. Michelle goes in depth about the curation of The Studio and what that space means to her;

Daniela: “Where did the idea for The Studio originate from?”

Michelle: “The idea originated during our planning process when we were creating a master plan, we looked at a similar studio that was using their hands and analyzed the connection between using hands as a tool and the mind. The Studio activates and supports the valuable partnership between the hands and the mind, its experiences offer opportunities for children and adults to gather and use information that comes through the hands, to think with their hands, and to use their hands as tools”.

Daniela: “What was the most surprising or challenging aspect when developing The Studio?”

Michelle: “Leaving space for our visitors to add to the gallery.  We wanted to make sure there is room to grow into The Studio that not every space was already filled or complete”.

Daniela: “When designing The Studio was there anything you had to keep in mind?”

Michelle: “When we were thinking of the experience in the gallery we wanted to make sure that the experience was material base and not project based. So for example the first experience is an exploration of paper and we wanted to challenge the thinking of what you can do with paper. So often with children, paper is used just for coloring or marking on. In The Studio we have limited writing materials as we wanted visitors to challenge themselves of what they can do with paper. We also wanted to build off of each experience in The Studio. So for example, in one area you can use stamps on the paper, then you can take it into another area and create a book out of it with the tools provide and then possible add light bulbs and an make the book light up with paper circuits. So each experience can build off the next”.

Daniela: “What is your favorite activity in The Studio?”

Michelle: “I really enjoy the circuit puzzles and observing visitors working together on completing a circuit and the excitement when the light bulb lights up or the buzzer sounds”.

Daniela: “How can the powers of play be demonstrated in The Studio?” (

Michelle: “There are several but mainly confidence, there is no clear-cut way to achieve certain outcomes in this gallery. The possibilities are quite literally endless. For some, not having exact directions to follow will be frustrating, so visitors will have to rely on perseverance and confidence as they navigate through”.

Daniela: “Explain a “maker mindset” and what that means to you?”

Michelle: “To me, a “maker mindset” is a way of approaching life. It is about the confidence to try something new, learn from mistakes, collaborate with others and share your knowledge. It is about problem-solving and the joy of the process and things discovered”.

Daniela: “Any fun future activities planned for The Studio in the near future?”

Michelle: “Yes we have some great artist in residencies coming up this year as well as a change of the experience with new materials and tools”.

Daniela: “Creativity, collaboration, and confidence come to mind when I think of The Studio, what 3 words come to mind for you?”

Michelle: “Those three for sure and critical thinking, curiosity, and joy!”

Make sure to keep an eye out for the mosaic collaboration installation in The Studio which will be up late this summer. With some upgrades and guest teachers visiting, The Studio is to remain busy and a favorite exhibit for many. Visit the Studio with your family to begin exploring the magic that can flourish within this space.

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