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Entries in CHA (3)


Carving Time Out to Learn to Make

I am a proud Maker Mom. No, my children are not prodigies, the next Ender, or being tapped by a major science or math type programs... they are simply insanely curious, wanting to learn, needing to build, and having to share what they made, kids... as are yours (if you are a parent, grandparent, custodian, or mentor). I think the misconception many people have about Maker Faire in general is, you have to be science-y or math-y to have the geek cred in order to get in... holy smokes batman, if that were the case, I would have never been made the cut afterall, I'm "just a crafter/artist/inventor/author/play in the dirt type" with a background in forensics and finance... My family did not even have a computer until my sophomore year of college (I know, I heard the audible gasp there)

My qualifications for being a Maker Mom started early in life. I was the product of craftspeople, folks who had a tool shed, a designated workspace, and a mindset that said, "if we don't have it, we can build it... or at least something that could work in a pinch." My childhood was a giant shopclass. I also happened to be one of those kids that found themselves on the short side of a parent's patience (codespeak for, "go to your room and think about what you did!") on a regular basis. We did not have distractions like gaming systems or television in our rooms. My parents, being a particular brand of evil, would give my brothers and I old dictionaries, atlases, and encyclopedias (which after we got done reading and flipping through were discovered to be heavy enough to hold a tented bedsheet on a dresser for "Fort Solitude") I was Calvin and my brother was Hobbes. We lived for cardboard refrigerator boxes and a hammer with a handful of nails. Being sent to our room was like a Maker Faire... we were given the time to think and the freedom to build, to carve out our own little world from what was on hand.

I've been a Designer/Inventor in the Craft and Hobby Association for almost 14 years now, a part of Maker Faire since its inception, and am rabid advocate for the Young Maker movement and MakerEd. Our kids are Hackschoolers (they go to a virtual academy) and they spend their afternoons in local makerspaces, fab labs, on set, in studio, or in the classroom (teaching along side me)- they are surrounded by Makers. My deepest wish is that all kids have the chance to be surrounded by Makers as well. Our mission as a family has always been to share what we know to equip, enable, and inspire, others to make the world they want to live in... this starts by teaching others how to carve time out of their every day in order to make their mark on the timeline of history.

This year at Maker Faire San Francisco I am hoping to teach Moms, Parents, Grandparents, and Mentors how to not only carve time out of their days to make, but impress upon them the need for us as a culture to embrace making in our everyday lives and sharing what we have learned with others in a meaningful way. As always, Maker Moms Bootcamp is an interactive class... you will roll up your sleeves, learn a skill to share (so you can feel confident when visiting local Makerspaces or building your own at the Kitchen Table), and go home with something purposefully made and designed to make your mark on the world. I believe that when we decide to make things, we invest in what it is to be human. Every kid is a maker- the worlds they come up with are possible if we take the time to give them the tools to do so. 

Carving Time To Make


Designer Press Kit Award

Sarahndipitous Designs was awarded the Designer Press Kit Award at the Summer Craft and Hobby Association Convention in Chicago. It is a tremendous honor to be recognized by a leader in the Creative Industry and chosen by one's professional peers to be singled out for their handiwork... My deepest thanks.

I have been asked numerous times about Press Kits, specifically, how to create something that solidifies branding, engages the end consumer, and connects in such a way that those who come in contact with the pieces do not see a slick marketing campaign but are genuinely attached to the message... How is it that we build evangelists rather than 'dutiful click the like button' fans. This is a tough question made tougher when that "something" we're selling isn't tangible, isn't a physical product but rather, an idea wrapped in the cloak of a potential needed outcome. Designers sell art but, most times, we're hired to generate ideas, concepts, processes, and techniques... intellectual 'noseeums' hidden behind the veil of Non-Disclosure Agreements and Non-Compete Clauses in some Batcave.

So, I decided to pick apart this year's Press Kit a bit to illustrate the process and point out some of the thinking behind the entire campaign.

The theme of this year's Press Kit was "How to Be a Creative Super Hero In One Week." I had been marinating on the concept of a year's worth of weeks, 52 somethings that were bursting at the seams with purpose, deliberate actions that affect a positive change in those giving and receiving those actions. I encounter people daily that insist that they were overlooked when the art talent magic wand was sprinkling glitter over the Universe, people who genuinely believe that they are missing the "Create" gene. I personally believe that our humanity itself is discovered when we use our own two hands to craft the world we envision, that making things and producing something of value *is* what sticks us to the timeline of history- I believe this right down to my core.

I decided that I needed to illustrate how an ordinary person could be transformed in small increments over the course of a week to be decidedly extraordinary through their own initiative. I also decided that I would create this message sans fancy tools unaccessible to the average person (no editing software, no computer wizardry, no expensive tools that make us all look good and streamline the process... I went old school folks- recycled copy paper, a pencil, a permanent black marker, a straight edge, a gluestick and scissors (this was both liberating and incredibly frustrating incidentally))

I hand drew the comics and photocopied them at the local FedEx/Kinkos onto overhead projector transparencies. Each comic cell (7 x the 200 kits I made for the event) were each individually hand colored, painted in with acrylic paints in a series of layers on the backside. I wanted each and every person who received one of these kits to know that they were holding a signed and numbered piece of art, that they were worth an original and that the message was so important, the conviction so deep, that it was worth the time investment gifted in each kit. 

Each comic book was housed in an elaborate mechanical card shell. I actually love making things that are not static and creating objects that are intended to be played with and pondered (yes, for those initiated and desperately curious to know how the mechanics worked, there was a secret message to them alone all sealed up behind the scenes). The card was black and in the lower right hand corner, an abstract of some urban city. When the necessary pulls were engaged, the wheeled mechanism became a spotlight (a proverbial "batsignal") that called for a hero over the city.

Lastly, in following through with the promise to "Equip. Enable. and Inspire" (our trademarked tagline), I packaged each how-to comic book with a proper superhero mask in a clear bag that protects artwork and belted the outside with a custom crafted "utility belt"... a deck of 52 cards that my children had transformed sticker by sticker (200 x 52... we kept all the jokers) into meaningful ways to be someone's super hero... ordinary things that mean everything to someone in need, ordinary ways to use our hands to create the kind of world we'd like to live in, ordinary reminders that it was us, normal folks, who built Makermetropolis.

There were other facets and nifty new technologies we employed for the whole campaign that were dotted here and there throughout the show floor and sprinkled in the various presentations that made the message cohesive and fun. Press kits are really created to announce things, the point of this kit was to turn the spotlight a bit and shine it on the reason why I and my team love getting up every morning and going to work... for our clients and the end consumer who gets to interact with what we made.

If we do our job as Designers, they don't see us, they see our clients shine. When we edify others, when we encourage the very best out of people by using the talents we have been blessed with to their absolute fullest, those we affect turn around and do amazing things for themselves. In being someone else's hero, we in essence save ourselves I think.


{Pro} Fusion

As a Designer Member of the Craft and Hobby Association, I try to participate in the various events that highlight the creativity and innovation of our designer members when my schedule provides for it. Cloth, Paper, Scissors Magazine sponsored the Crafty Couture exhibit, a showcase of dresses created by Designer members that embody mixed media technique whilst using products found in the arts and crafting industry.

The dress is a fabric base, hand-sewn with connective thread that interfaces with Arduino technology (AdaFruit), and is embellished with copper and wood pieces (Lee Valley). The idea of mixed media is a "fusion" between crafting techniques and the emerging mediums and media outside of the crafting industry. To be relevent in today's creative spaces, those who create must be willing to step outside of their traditional comfort zones and test the boundaries arbitrarily set in place by one industry or another. Our dress was never meant to stay on a mannequin, it was designed to be worn, to be functional, and to be an ambassador of sorts... a mouth-piece of what mixed media could become.

Thank you to Lee Valley Hardware, AdaFruit, BIC Mark-it Markers, 3M, Fiskars and all the incredible folks who voted for it. 

Copper Conductive Dress