There are so many things that we love about the Maker Movement. We love that it encourages people not to just go out and buy something they need, but to do research and build it with their own two hands (often at a fraction of the cost). We love that it brings people together through Maker Gatherings, Fablabs, Hackerspaces, etc. and that these places become ground zero for awesome brainstorming sessions and collaborations. We love that it encourages not only building, but also creating and improving products that we already use in order to make our lives easier or more convenient. But, most of all, we love that anyone can be a Maker. Old or young, rich or poor, and any one of any gender can have success within this innovative movement. To highlight this, here’s a list of some of our favorite fe-makers:
For gamers, digital artists, and coders alike, there is nothing more satisfying than a well-designed UI (user interface). Amie Chen has had much success with her UIs over the years, helping multiple startups and larger companies appeal to their clientele with an easy-to-understand interface. Among her programs are Pretzel, which shows keyboard shortcuts depending on which app is the current focus. She’s also the mind behind Stitches, an HTML template generator with CSS functions. In an interview with Maker Mag, she told them “making products is a byproduct of getting to a good solution, and getting closer to a good solution is what gets me out of bed every day.”
On the opposite end of the spectrum of “digital to traditional” lies Ariele Alasko, a woodworker from Brooklyn. What began as a hobby quickly spiraled into a full-time job, with Alasko dedicating her time to crafting both functional and decorative pieces. One of her specialties? Brushes shaped like a “U” with bristles on both sides. But she’s also made cutlery, tables, mobiles, and wall hangings. Her Instagram is updated regularly with pictures of her woodwork as well, some of it for sale. (Occasionally, the updates are of her dog, Mazie.)
Most people find repetition to be… well, repetitive. But Mengly Hernandez relishes in it. According to her website, it’s “a meditation through which she explores and mends traumatic memories.” Beyond personal healing, it results in beautiful patterns and designs full of color. Her craft manifests in art installations and sculptures using a mix of fibers and textiles. She’s even dabbled in performance art. While none of her work is for sale, don’t think she’s just letting it sit in a gallery: much of it adorns her home or her body (or that of her children).
Hailing from Portugal, Sara Vieira is well-known for her unique, front-end apps and advocacy for mental health. In 2018, she released the popular app “Is There Uber In,” which informs travelers whether there’s a ridesharing service available in a certain location. As for mental health, her presentation “Your Brain Does Not Have a Fix Flag” uses pop culture references and easy-to-understand language to tackle a very serious issue. Her retelling of her own struggles with panic disorder and depression are blunt, but the writing and multitude of GIFs make it enjoyable.
Continuing our international tour is Jess Eddy, based out of Sydney, Australia. She’s worked on several projects over the years. Among these are “UI Goodies” and “Get a Room.” The former is a catalog of resources for designers and developers build a user interface. The latter allows users to easily book a conference room. In 2018, she told Maker Mag “to me, indie making is about empowerment. It’s not about waiting for someone else to bring a solution or asking for permission. It’s observing your environment and looking for areas to improve upon or innovate it.”
Here’s a fun motto for you: “work hard, snack often.” These are the words that Lauren Hom has dedicated her life to. You’ve probably seen her lettering before- some of her past clients include Starbucks, YouTube, and TIME Magazine. The McCafé products at McDonald’s? That’s her! And true to her motto, her Instagram frequently features her delectable looking “Hom Noms.” Also worth checking out is her “Flour Crowns” series, where she dons delightful headwear… made of bread. Who says female makers can’t be stylish?
LISA HOLBROOK LEWIS
Lisa Holbrook Lewis is a female maker from Oregon who specializes in handmade goods. Her main passion are stump prints. Using stumps or logs found during hikes, she dips them in ink and stamps them to paper. The result is a one-of-a-kind piece of art. But that’s not all she can do with wood. She’s also crafted stools, candle holders, end tables, and planters from scavenged wood. While her Instagram hasn’t been updated for a while, her website “Light & Ink” still has plenty of prints available for sale.
Known as “Lady Ada,” Limor Fried is more than just an icon among makers. She’s empowering other makers to bring their creations to life. (Much like Inventionland!) Her company, Adafruit, was founded in 2005 and quickly became a staple for the NYC maker scene. In 2016, she was named a White House Champion of Change. Two years later, Forbes Magazine deemed her one of America’s Top 50 Women in Tech. She’s still proud of her honor with Wired Magazine, however, being the first female engineer to grace the cover.