FabLab Heads to the Brooklyn Flea
On a scorching Saturday morning in July, 16-year-old Mylee Rodriguez sat at a table at the hip Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene, talking to market shoppers about the jewelry she’d created through FabLab, a program of SSBx’s education department. Rodriguez had created bracelets and necklaces by laser cutting shiny black Plexiglass in the shape of handlebar mustaches, then stringing them together with Flexwire and adding beading.
Rodriguez was one of two dozen Bronx high school students who completed the final semester of SSBX’s six-year FabLab program—a hands-on practicum in sustainable design. FabLab exemplified SSBx’s mission of promoting sustainability by teaching arts-interested students the principals of sustainable design, including repurposing materials and using sustainable materials to create everything from jewelry to baby products to camera bags to wall decals. Schools represented included Hyde Academy, Fannie Lou Hamer High School, Bronx Lab School, St. Michael’s and New Explorers .
For Rodriguez, the experience made her see that her passion for art could actually be a career. “I’ve always been interested in art, but I never liked graphic design because I thought that drawing on a computer instead of by hand was fake art,” the 16-year-old Bronx native said. “But I learned that you can actually have more freedom by using the computer. You can change the colors. You can make things bigger or smaller. “
Like all Education Department programs, FabLab combined theoretical instruction with hands-on learning. We’re proud of the six-year run, and the students who participated.