Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto: Ogden artists teach students how to ‘Build a Friend’

Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto: Ogden artists teach students how to ‘Build a Friend’

OGDEN — Anybody can make a friend.

But building one? That’s a real art.

Which is why two artists — Hollie McKeeth and Stephanie Howerton — are offering a “Build a Friend” class at The Local Artisan Collective at The Junction in downtown Ogden.

The two Ogden artists teach a lot of classes at the collective, and they’re constantly coming up with new workshops for bringing the artist out in their students, according to McKeeth.

“We’re always bouncing ideas off each other — ‘Ooh, we should teach this,’ or ‘We should teach that,’” she said. “This was one of them.”

The full title of the class is “Build a Friend: Mr. Roboto.”

“It was kind of a play on, like, Build-a-Bear — that idea of creating whatever it is you need — but also using random parts we’d salvaged,” she said. “We thought we could put together little robots that were handheld, or on a necklace, or that could hang from the mirror in a car. We wanted to create a little buddy that would be up for adventures.”

McKeeth and Howerton are offering two “Build a Friend” classes — one for kids, and one for adults.

“We don’t want anybody to miss out on this,” McKeeth said.

The robots will feature wooden blocks as their base, and then budding artists can use paint and salvaged parts to take their little friend it in whatever direction they desire.

McKeeth said she and Howerton know an artist who’d been welding and had procured a large set of drawers filled with screws and clock springs and radio parts and all sorts of wondrous little doo-dads. They’ll provide the tools to create the robots — tools like hammers and screwdrivers — and then give just a tiny bit of direction.

“We love to give class members some tools and guidance on how to do it, but we also want the students to use their imagination and build what they want,” McKeeth said.

The two women have a fairly large assortment of friend-making supplies right now — “Probably enough to make 30 to 40 robots,” according to McKeeth.

Class members will also use a simple binary code to create a name for their robot, and then affix it to their buddy as a barcode.

The three-hour class for children begins at 10 a.m. Friday at The Local Artisan Collective, 2371 Kiesel Ave. The adult class will be that same day at 6 p.m.

“The reason we break it up into two classes is so people have the opportunity to socialize with people their own age,” McKeeth said.

The artists also want to make sure young children are safe using tools that might be designed for someone a bit older, so McKeeth says a parent or adult is welcome to accompany the child to class and assist them.

Cost for the class is $30. Preregistration is recommended, so they know what to expect and have enough materials on hand. Registration can be completed at, or call 801-399-2787 for more information.

McKeeth believes the class is a good opportunity for people to try something different, without having to worry about having all the supplies at home or investing in tools.

Or, worrying about the after-effects.

“Stephanie and I are moms, too, and sometimes we don’t want to do these sorts of projects at home because we know what it’s like to have to clean up afterward,” McKeeth said. “Here, you don’t have to clean up.”

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