Hi all! I’m Katie, and I hail from a small island (think 2,000 residents) off the coast of Washington state where I took a ferry to school, and everyone I knew was a maker of some sort because there were few formalized jobs. I grew up with a best friend whose parents made a living blowing glass. My dad was a cabinet maker turned software engineer turned pinball machine repairer, and my mom a writer, so making was all around me. One of my earliest memories is of the biweekly trips my dad and I would take to the island dump (there was no trash collection). I was allowed to select one thing from the “take it or leave it mall” each trip, and without fail I would pick a broken electronic item and spend hours at the dining room table taking every screw out of it until all of the pieces lay isolated before me. I never got into putting them back together; instead, I preferred to make art projects out of the pieces.
When growing up in a small community, particularly one geographically isolated by a maddening ferry system, imagination is expertly cultivated and treasured. Imagination is a chief tool in any sort of making, and my imagination took me from spending hours building intricate gnome villages in the forest, to jumping from behind a hanging sheet into live tv commercials about my best friend’s weiner-dog. In adulthood, I’ve tried to hang on to that imagination and the belief that building something that exists first as only a wacky idea in your head is both exhilarating and incredibly generative.
As of late, my own making has centered around storytelling (some digital and some not). I believe storytelling to be an amazing tool for reflection, self expression, and empathy building, and is one of the oldest traditions among humans. In January I spent time in Panama (a place dear to my heart that I called home years ago) and worked with young people to help them create a mini-movie. In two days they wrote, set designed, filmed, and acted in a movie of their creation. You can learn more about their unique community and watch their movie (and a short behind the scenes documentary) here.
Oh! I also made my first quilt last fall, for a friend whose daughter recently had a baby. I was very proud of how it turned out, and want to embark on a new sewing project soon! Yesterday I impulse-bought two large canvases and some paint with grand ideas for decorating my bedroom; it will be another first in a new medium so we’ll see how that turns out.
I am incredibly excited and honored to be the newest member of the Maker Ed team as the Program Manager for Maker Corps. I feel privileged to join such an amazing team who is dedicated to work I really believe in. I am passionate about engaging young people in different ways of learning, and am especially inspired by making’s ability to develop confidence in young people, particularly young girls.