Attending the Rhode Island School of Design, I was exposed to a multitude of makers, crafting everything from films to motorcycles. I begin to question if there were connections in the types of people or experiences that brought these individuals to the campus, and what drove them into these different practices.
Beyond that, I wanted to collect the stories of both students and graduates, examining what compels some of us to make, how we are encouraged down that path, what tools we use, and where that takes us.
I consider why-we-make an extension of my own interest in thinkers, makers, and doers—and why they do it.
why-we-make has digital and physical components. Currently existing as a choose-your-own-adventure website, why-we-make.com allows folks can explore stories through multiple entry-points depending on what sparks their own interest. I'm also in the process of bringing this to print. Stay tuned.
I joined the CreativeMornings team in June of 2012, when they were exploring the idea of themed months across their (then) 29 chapters. We decided to implement it across all chapters in 2013, and looked for a way to collect and display all the wonderful themed content being produced.
A newsletter seemed like a great solution to this and, as head of all things content for CreativeMornings, I cull and curate different images, videos, quotes, and highlights from all (now) 71 chapters and compile them together for our audience each month .
I took over management of the CreativeMornings' tumblr when I joined the team June 2012, expanding its content to include photos from events, talk highlight and summaries, sketch notes, as well as work by speakers and our chapter organizers, and anything within six degrees of separation of CreativeMornings.
Two years later, its following has quintupled in size to 70k. It serves as a source of visual inspiration for our audience and a testament to our community.
I had the pleasure of taking Ben Shaykin's Booklab, a studio in the Graphic Design Department that explored aspects of the book. My Reading Machine is a device I created based off of the reading The Readies, a story by Bob Brown (excerpt below).
“Though we have advanced from Gutenberg’s movable type through the linotype and monotype to photo-composing we still consult the book in its original archaic form as the only oracular means we know for carrying the word mystically to the eye. “A simple reading machine which I can carry or move around, attach to any old electric light plug and read hundred thousand word novels if I want to, and I want to.” My machine is equipped with controls so the reading record can be turned back or shot ahead, a chapter reread or the happy ending anticipated.”
— Bob Brown, 1929
11" x 17"
20" x 30"
Quotes taken from James Bridle's essay, The New Value of Text, type and pattern created from 3D-printed OCR A Std type on a Makerbot Replicator 2, scanned and reprinted.
ABOUT THIS BOOK
This book is a collection of glitches and artefacts that occur through manipulating Shades of Gray from its state as an eBook.
The Fifty Shade of Grey series has sold over 70 million copies worldwide, setting the record as the fastest-selling paperback of all time. The success of the initial book in the trilogy has often been attributed to the rising popularity of e-readers, allowing for discreet reading of the sordid tales.
The corruption of the digital eBook file is only on par with the corruption of the narrative itself, as sentence fragments reemerged through multiple disruption of the file. The were then interlaid with other artefacts to create the gradient of greys seen throughout these pages.
The Shades of Grey ePub file was first opened in a text editor, manipulated via deleting or moving segments, before being re-saved as a PDF.
That PDF was opened again using Adobe Reader as a corrupt file. Images were captured through Reader, as well as exported as PNG files or see through Apple Preview to render the book in a variety of ways.
While working in the Office of Government Relations at the Rhode Island School of Design, I had the pleasure and opportunity to work on various projects extracurricularly. One of these projects was STEAM, an initiative to bridge the gap between STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) learning and STEAM (adding the Arts). These are a few of the events and endeavors I helped work on during my time there.
03/2013 SXSW STEAM
As a research assistant, I had the pleasure of accompanying Babette Allina, RISD Director of Government Relations, and John Maeda, RISD President Emeritus to Austin, Texas to support the panel “STEM to STEAM: Full Circle from Education to Economy,” a discussion intended to illuminate the ways in which Art + Design serve to deepen the value of technological advances and enhance the processes of scientific learning.
06/2012 RISD + CreativeMornings
In partnership with RISD, CreativeMornings hosted its first ever global theme month "Arts + Tech"— focusing on the intersection of technology and art, and the magic that often results.
As part of the inaugural theme, I helped organize a pop-up chapter on campus at RISD where professor Kelly Dobson spoke.
06/2011 STEAM Congressional Briefing
I was honored to work under the guidance of Babette Allina, to help host and run RISD's first Congressional Briefing in Washington, DC alongside other assistants Arthur Yidi and Peter Simon. At the briefing, we released the latest House Resolution to promote funding for arts education as part of STEM learning, as well as RISD's very own STEAM cards.
Other research assistants who supported us in Providence leading up to the event were Sarah Pease and Annie Wu.
01/2011 Bridging STEM to STEAM
One of the other STEAM initiatives we launched was a two day workshop sponsored by the National Science Foundation and RISD called "Bridging STEM to STEAM." The workshop, which took place on RISD's campus, brought together 60 scientists, artists, engineers, designers, thinkers, and innovators to come and contemplate what science and art and design thinking have to offer their respective fields.
As a research assistant, I helped organize the event and various activities taking place on both days. By instigating conversations and raising questions, I worked both as facilitator and participant, bridging the gap between STEM and STEAM thinking.
An amazing event full of rich dialogue and new ideas, the workshop required a strong follow-up of documentation and compilation of data. I headed up the compilation process alongside Arthur Yidi, Peter Simon, and Andreas Nicholas. With Arthur focusing on the website, I focused on content, culling and curating the data from the workshop.
In an effort to improve the relationship of RISD's Industrial Design department with its local and global community, I launched RISD-ID.ORG in fall of 2010 with in collaboration with Isaac Blankensmith.
As elected student representative to the department at the time, I recognized a strong sense of disconnect within the department between students, faculty, and alumni, as well as what was being done at other schools across the country. The site's mission is to provide information and insight into the work done both inside and outside of the curriculum by students, faculty, and alumni, in hopes to increase the flow of information and knowledge between members of the community.
Here are some things I made in my computer.
Done using Solidworks or Rhino and Keyshot.
While taking Ben Shaykin's Booklab studio, we were experimenting with a wide-range of mediums and techniques for re-inventing the book. He tasked me with printing a book, which I did on a Makerbot Replicator.
Ingredients: Unbleached wheat flour, water, sugar, oat hull fiber, yeast, soybean and/or canola oil, wheat gluten, salt, natural sour flavour (bacterial culture), soy flour, cultured wheat starch solids, vinegar, soy lecithin. Coming soon to a grocery store near you.
This January, I was asked to take on the role of TEDActive Intern on campus as part of RISD's first partnership with the TED Conferences. In this position, I organized teams of students on campus to participate in a TEDActive Takeover on campus. This was TED's inaugural year to host TEDActive Takeovers with seven partnering universities.
Throughout the month of February, I worked with students to form teams that tackled TED Projects, simultaneously with TEDActive attendees around the world, to come up with new ideas and solutions to the prompts.
TED Projects: IMPACT, LIFEHACK, LOCAL, & MOBILE
40" x 60" samples
Repeating patterns created from 3D-printed text in OCR A Std on a Makerbot Replicator 2, scanned, photographed, arrayed, and reprinted.
Photos by Sarah Pease.
While at the Rhode Island School of Design, I worked for three years in the Office of Government Relations alongside a small, but swift team of students under the guidance of Babette Allina. One of the projects I worked on with fellow student Sarah Pease was an analog map that gave us an idea of where STEAM practitioners, activists, and supporters existed in the United States. The final goal being to translate this groundwork into an online archive where individuals and organizations could add themselves and connect with each other.
risdmakes started off a small side project when I wanted to be able to feature student and alumni work beyond the Industrial Design Department, visually, and opening up a dialogue with others beyond just comments at the bottom of a post.
I loved the success of RISD-ID.ORG, but always hated turning down submissions of work from other departments for the Industrial Design Department-centric blog.
I also maintain a Twitter account, @risdmakes, for the site, which pushes the posts to Twitter and attributes them back to the artists and designers behind each piece.
This provided an excellent opportunity for me to publicly swoon over my favorite RISD-bred artists and designers, and meet some interesting folks/robots along the way.
27.5" x 15.75" x 75"
ash, birch, aluminum
Standing a little over five and a half feet, this wall-leaning coat rack is formed from bent-laminated ash, with machined aluminum pegs. Birch plywood makes up the shelving, designed to catch all the miscellaneous items that accompany one into their dwelling.
Photos by Sarah Pease.
6.75" x 9"
The perfect mantra for hanging up around studio!
When CreativeMornings launched their Kickstarter Campaign, I put together a micro-site to help us get the word out internally and distribute all the copy to our chapters. Running on a modified Tumblr theme, Kickstarty was a party, in a website, for our Kickstarter. Fit with lovingly crafted confetti gif in all the colors of our chapters.
Mean Cupcakes is a photo series of, well, mostly mean cupcakes printed as nice glossy postcards.
My mother faux finishes walls.
I was intrigued by the idea of applying the illusion of textures to other objects, particularly in unnatural settings. Such was born the idea for marble Keds, which my wonderful mother painted for me. They match my marble bedsheets.
Always be knolling.
11" x 17"
hand-painted with conductive ink,
script creates complete circuit
This bowl is an exploration in creating a rounded form from a flat sheet of stainless steel. Through a series of concentric patterns that grew smaller in size, I was able to shape its form by hand.
steel, walnut, swarovski crystals
A grown-up version of the familiar childhood toy, this kaleidoscope is crafted from one and a half inch steel tube. This project was an exploration in machining metal using a lathe to create components that fit together securely, yet still allowed for rotation. All pieces including lenses and eyepiece are pressure fit.
Photographs of kaleidoscope by Sarah Pease, lovely hand model, my roommate, Kelsey Lim.
8.75" x 11.5"
A checklist to help me remember all the things I have to do every day, letterpressed.
Photo and lettering by Sarah Pease.