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Mechanical Thinking Collection

Sponsored by
Mechanical Thinking MCD@Home project with Museum of the Craft and Design


Recommended for ages 7 and up with adult supervision.


Girls Garage wants you to get in the garage … and craft studio, and kitchen, and beyond! Whether you’re inspired by the mechanical implements of MOTO MMXX, or have been spending your quarantine getting more familiar with the craft of cooking, your house is undoubtedly home to a plethora of functional objects, tools, and utensils. Use Richard Serra’s famous list of verbs as a guide, and there might even be a prize for you at the end!


Household tools
Richard Serra’s Verblist (1967-68)
Digital camera
Instagram app


  • Access Verblist above, or reference our transcript of the list at the end of this document.
    • Do any of the verbs immediately bring any particular tools to mind?
    • Are there any verbs you have to look up or think about for a bit?
  • Visit various rooms in your home and begin collecting tools. Consider unlikely spaces and tools you haven’t used before.
  • Try to find at least 10 objects that correlate with the list.
    • What additional tools can you find? What would their verbs be?
  • Take all of the tools you’ve gathered and think about how you might arrange them in an organized collection.
    TIP: Check out Jim Golden’s artful arrangements, or the Girls Garage tool wall for inspiration.
  • Lay the tools out in a way that makes visual sense to you:
    • By size?
    • By color?
    • By room in the house?
    • What is your background?
      OPTIONAL: Label each tool with the corresponding verb on a strip of paper.
  • Take a photo from above.
  • Post on Instagram between August 20–September 3, 2020 to enter our giveaway!

Transcript of Verblist:

  • To roll
  • To crease
  • To fold
  • To store
  • To bend
  • To shorten
  • To twist
  • To dapple
  • To crumple
  • To shave
  • To tear
  • To chip
  • To split
  • To cut
  • To sever
  • To drop
  • To remove
  • To simplify
  • To differ
  • To disarrange
  • To open
  • To mix
  • To splash
  • To knot
  • To spill
  • To droop
  • To flow
  • To curve
  • To lift
  • To inlay
  • To impress
  • To fire
  • To flood
  • To smear
  • To rotate
  • To swirl
  • To support
  • To hook
  • To suspend
  • To spread
  • To hang
  • To collect
  • Of tension
  • Of gravity
  • Of entropy
  • Of nature
  • Of grouping
  • Of layering
  • Of felting
  • To grasp
  • To tighten
  • To bundle
  • To heap
  • To gather



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