As we move toward the end of 2020-one of the most turbulent and humbling challenges of our lives-it is a pleasure and necessity to celebrate invention and hope. Much to our delight, there is such a celebration, featuring a Black family, and Black people in general! Through the eyes of filmmaker David Talbert, we are celebrating this season with a new tradition and movie, Jingle Jangle. It’s a magical tale about a family of inventors whose belief during this season is renewed by the youngest inventor in the family, Journey.
In a year of delayed, yet renewed expectations, Black people worldwide are sharing even more stories and pushing social systems and narratives to the edge for our humanity. Jingle Jangle is a part of this year’s story, expanding ideas about Black life through a Victorian period musical. And, yes, the story is told with creativity and joy!
Throughout history, Black people have used every form of art as a vehicle for social change. Today, they are extending that creativity to include digital fabrication as well as other technology. In Jingle Jangle, the stories come alive through Afrocentric details- from the costumes and natural hairstyles to the heritage of Black bricolage through making and invention. Like Jeronicus, the grandfather and inventor in the film, many Black families have found themselves using “bricolage” during COVID-19. That means we try to adjust and move on to create what we need. Imagine being Black and discovering the magic of creative power by simply believing!
For this holiday season, with inspiration from Jingle Jangle, I’ve asked three Black creators, educators, and digital fabrication gurus to share their creativity with us. What a gift their contributions will be to all ages! Such a gift is sure to ignite creativity during this unique holiday season. Each has graciously provided an activity to enjoy at home. So I present to you the Jingle Jangle-inspired special collection of activities from Oyedotun “Oye’ Ajewole, Andrea Fields, and Nettrice Gaskins.
Oyedotun “Oye” Ajewole is a project designer. He studied mechanical engineering and applies the principles of engineering to the things he likes. Currently, he works in digital fabrication, textiles, fabric science, and electronics. His activity in this collection teaches us about thermochromic ink, an ink that changes color in response to temperature fluctuations. This technology shows up in the film during a few crucial moments. Now, with Oye’s help, you can create your own moments at home!
Andrea Fields has been making and teaching in fab labs and other innovation spaces since she was 15 years old. She earned a master’s degree in civil engineering and currently manages an early childhood fab lab. Andrea has established her own consultancy and is a sought-after speaker as well as a spokesperson for minority women in STEM. Andrea has been creating home activities for her own young children while also supporting students and families at the early childhood fab lab. In her activity, she helps our youngest makers put on their imagination caps and make their own robots, like Buddy in the film! While using paper, scissors, glue, and crayons; this is a great opportunity for youngsters to practice their shapes, colors, and fine motor skills!
Dr. Nettrice Gaskins is an author, maker, and educator. She earned a bachelor’s degree in computer graphics with Honors from Pratt Institute, and a master’s in art and technology from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Dr. Gaskins worked several years in K-12 and post-secondary education, community media, and technology before earning a doctorate in digital media from Georgia Tech. A sought-after educator, she has worked with students across the country and created an activity that will take your making to the next level this holiday season! Have you ever made an automaton or an ornithopter? Well, you can make one now with this advanced lesson, and be like Jeronicus and Journey – right at home!
With a little time and some creative direction from these amazing makers, you can join the cast from this film as a maker of possibilities. During this holiday season, we invite you to enjoy the magic of this movie. Then, make your own with the hands-on activities in this special collection.
It’s time for a new year and a new story! And, if you no longer believe, look again!