What does it mean to be a maker?
As a Maker, I take an idea I can see in my mind and recreate it with my hands. Three things drive my desire to make: Not having something I need, wanting it now, and not wanting to buy it. When these three things come together I look around until I find objects I can combine to make whatever it is I need. If it involves a skill set and/or tools I don't have, I find others to collaborate with. Often I can find a solution that was in my home or studio all along, just in a different form!
What are you doing in the Maker community?
In addition to being a self-taught leatherworker specializing in masquerade style masks, encouraging creative reuse and empowering lifelong learners are huge passions of mine. As a Doer at Brown Paper Tickets, I focus on these interests at the intersection of art, tech and 'trash'.
In January I founded a Meetup group called Art+Tech+Trash where our members are called Experimenters, and we experiment together on projects any member can propose. Currently we're building an interactive board game for Seattle Mini Maker Faire that combines a high degree of inclusion and collaboration, a lot of cardboard, robots made from candy tins, a hands-on activity for anyone who would like to create an obstacle for the robots out of reclaimed materials.
Inquiry-driven, project-based learning using a variation of the Open Space model has proven to be a great way to work and learn together as a group. My hands-on experience is primarily Art focused, so I invited people from Tech and Reuse backgrounds to co-organize our meetup. Our leadership team is dynamic and knowledgeable, and by using materials that would otherwise be 'trash', our costs are nominal. I encourage others to consider forming similar Art+Tech+Trash Meetups in their cities!
Who are some other Makers you admire and why?
I haven't met a Maker I don't admire! The passion, the creativity, the determined and almost magical problem-solving...
That being said, some of my favorites are Michael Green and his leather hats, unShine headGear; Shaylee Bell and her Dalek Clara; Tom Banwell and his beautiful leather Steampunk designs; Jim Burke and his Power Racing Series; Mark Perez and his incredible Life Size Mousetrap; Jesse Ransom and his crazy yet innovative creations, and especially my brother Scott who took apart everything we owned... but now knows how to make almost anything.