On the occasion of National Science Day, the fashion museum of Antwerp (MoMu) invited me to organize a kids workshop centered around fashion and science. As computers are at their best doing repetitive work, I’ve built an easy to use, sequential editor to generate fashion patterns. By executing each step in a loop, complex and beautiful shapes emerged. The editor was designed so it could be used by kids from around 7 until 12 years old.
Often drawing programs for kids have preconfigured brushes and elements which automatically result in childish looking drawings. With only lines and circles as ‘brushes’ we encouraged the kids to explore new combinations and discover the beauty of abstract shapes.
Some early prototypes showed that working with text-based code was complicated given the short timeframe of the workshop. Introducing sliders to configure the different options made it feel less like programming but made it a lot easier and fun. In the end the most important message was to show them that programming can create complex beautiful things without being to complicated.. Try the editor yourself in this demo version.
When the kids where done with coding they could send their creation to the big wall outside. It’s a very rewarding feeling to see your creation together with all the other pieces. After the workshop we left these animated masterpieces running for one week outside the museum so everybody could enjoy the work.
This workshop was definitely a nice experiment for myself and the kids and will be something we will explore more in the future.