Skip to content

Category Archives: Workshops

Pinewood Elementary Fundraiser

Pinewood Elementary Fundraiser

One of my favorite things about Ambrose is getting to know local teachers and students through collaborative design & print workshops. This summer we hosted a team-building workshop with the staff at Pinewood Elementary in Jenison, MI, and in concert with their “Teach like a Pirate Day” (a day to explore new adventures in learning) teacher Susan VanTimmeren contacted us about creating t-shirts to sell as a fundraiser for their program. Last week her class ventured to Holland to learned how screen printing works, and their students got their hands metaphorically messy (they actually did an awesome job and printed with clean hands) printing 70 shirts that were pre-sold as a fundraiser.

Sorry, not sorry for the messy tables. ;) Above, students worked on quality control and made sure all the sizes were accounted for. We had an old “Support Child Labor,” campaign a few years back. I promise the student work is more play / learning and less factory, as you can see from the photo below.

Kendall College Portfolio Camp

Kendall College Portfolio Camp

We had a blast hosting students from all of the world for a one day design & printmaking blitz as a part of Kendall College’s Portfolio Camp. My friend Kris Jones runs the program and it’s been really fun to see it evolve into a mini-college-prep experience that really prepares students for life at art school. Check out the highlights above.

Cardboard Regatta

Cardboard Regatta

This summer we teamed up with our cross-town-kindred-spirits CultureWorks to plan and host Holland’s first ever Holland Cardboard Regatta. The competition drew over 90 youth participants to design, build and navigate boats made entirely of corrugated cardboard through a course on Lake Macatawa.

This event would not have been possible without the generous support of our main sponsors: Shoreline ContainerDisher Design, and Tiara Yachts. It’s wonderful to work with local companies whose mission and skill set helps both our local economy grow and creates new opportunities for students to get a taste of the Design-Build experience. We also want to thank Coast 3 and Camp Geneva for loaning us the hardware to keep everyone moving forward (paddles) and safe (life jackets) for the afternoon.Thank you!


The afternoon kicked off with pow-wow lead by the designers at Disher Design. They provided each team with packets of existing models for boats and some best practices and ideas for construction. Teams of 10 had were then given three hours to design and build a boat made with materials supplied and nothing else: 5 large pieces of double ply corrugated cardboard supplied by Shoreline Container, 2 rolls of duct tape, 1 sheet of 3 mil plastic, 2 box cutters, pencils, and a yard stick.


At 5:00 boat building stopped and teams presented their boats to a jury of folks from Tiarra Yachts and Mayor Kurt Dykstra. While inspecing the boats for functional and aesthetic awards students were asked to rationalize why things were constructed the way they were.


It wouldn’t be a summer extravaganza without hot sticks of meat. Brian and Cole ran the grill like machinas. More folks showed up than expected so we may have run out half way through (yikes! learning moment for next year).


We took over the Kollen Park Boat Launch at 6:00. The volunteers from Disher anchored a buoy 100ft off the end of the dock and the goal was to have teams race head to head around the buoy and back to the dock. Since this was our first go round we had no idea how the boats would fare so the whole “distance” thing was an experiment that fell drastically short. We ended up taking the fastest lap time of all boats and awarding that boat the speed trophy, and the boat that stayed topside the longest (there were five initial boats that ran three laps) won the endurance award.



Overall the event was a smashing success! With almost 100 students from around the region participating and a healthy list of corporate sponsors we felt the event was a win for everybody. A lot of things went well (materials, conditions, spirit, participation) but there are a couple lessons learned that will make next year’s event a more engaging one:

1. Build Time – Three hours is bordering on too much time to build a boat made of cardboard. Towards the end some teams Next year we’ll look to shorten it by 30 minutes or so.

2. Sustainability – At the end of the event each team tossed their boats in the dumpster and there was a collective acknowledgement that we were missing the boat on the sustainability piece. Cardboard is one of the most recycled materials around, and it’d be good to capitalize on that component next year by giving a sustainability award to the team with the smallest environmental footprint.

3. Race Structure & Course – We made the initial ask for enough life jackets and oars for two teams to race at a time. Although this allowed for primo water safety, it stretched out what could have been an epic massive race along the shoreline. Next year we’d like to acquire enough lifejackets and paddles for all teams to race at once. If we alter the course to stretch along the coastline, with markers and safety vessels every 100ft, it would be a more climactic finish to an awesome day.

4. STEAM Integration – It’d be fun to develop a series of online videos and curriculum so local schools could integrate this event into their curriculum.

5. Buy More Hotdogs – More folks showed up than expected to watch the event, which is a good problem to have. We had planned for 200 participants and observers and ran out of sustenance about 3/4 through the line. Next year we’ll need to set clearer expectations for who the food is for, and maybe offer food throughout the event at a cost to spectators.


Good things happen when people collaborate with a clearly communicated shared vision. This was the first community event that we ran in partnership with the team from CultureWorks, and it definitely won’t be the last. We’re so grateful for their presence in our community and the creative work they do with young people. Both of our institutions have hearts to engage young people creatively, and it was a blast to connect and make something of communal significance with a like-minded partner. Here’s to the future!

Ambrose Holiday Extravaganza

Ambrose Holiday Extravaganza

Mobile Makery at Haworth

Mobile Makery at Haworth

We took the Mobile Makery over to Haworth for Brand Day. Employees and guests printed their own T-shirts in Haworth’s beautiful corporate headquarters.