Meeting Makers IRL (in real life)
I am curious - I really like to see how other Makers work. I find inspiration in what they are doing and how they are doing it.
I am friends with many Makers on Twitter, but most I have not met in real life (IRL). Inviting yourself to someone’s home or workshop, if you hadn’t actually met them before, is not really a very British thing to do. Especially not if you are an introvert. And especially not if you are a woman. And all the warnings of “don’t meet random people off the internet” did cross my mind. I could have very easily been put off at this stage. However, “the magic happens outside of your comfort zone” is firmly imprinted in my mind. I took the usual and sensible personal safety precautions and a deep breath and last year I met a few of the most amazing and fun Makers I know. And it was wonderful.
“The magic happens outside of your comfort zone”
I first met Seb at Wuthering Bytes (video below). He describes himself as 'an artist who makes stuff with code'. He does stuff with lasers – and talked about a laser gun that he had made. It is frickin’ awesome – check it out here! We had a great day playing with lasers and finding out other tricks he has used. I loved the e-cig smoke effect he used in the laser gun – so then came back and made indoor firecrackers.
In his talk, Seb mentioned Dominic, and I had already been admiring his GPS Shoes and Soggy-o-meter. A visit to his workshop was mind-blowing. Shared with various others – all sorts of designing and making was going on – from guitars to furniture. However, what mainly caught my eye was Dominic’s wacky ideas – which can be summed up in his book Variations on Normal. He has also developed Little Inventors, which takes children’s inventions and makes them into real items. How inspiring must that be to have your design made into a project while you're still at Primary school? Dominic has definitely helped me put more fun into my projects.
I have been drooling over Saar’s beautiful electronic projects in his Boldport club for ages. Saar calls himself an electronics craftsman, and the attention to functional and aesthetic detail he puts into his work is comparable with a master craftsman of old. It was great to chat with him, and find that he is an artist first, an electronics expert second.
His creations are definitely unique and distinct – and also often fun. He has inspired me to be more artistic, creative and less rigid in my own designs.
Although meeting people on the internet is wonderful, and it can connect people around the world instantaneously, the actual meeting of people face to face and bouncing ideas around, still, for me, can’t be beaten.