Maker: Emily Smith

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 10.05.02 AM

What excites me most, is building from scratch. Whether it’s an event, a program or a toque, I  practice active engagement with all steps of a process. I started knitting after I graduated from design school because I felt starved for some sort of tangible, creative outlet. Spending countless hours and late nights on the computer, I realized that although I’m excited about communication design and graphics, it is necessary for me to physically engage with the world in a way that’s meaningful and tactile. I don’t always make things from scratch (It’s really not all that realistic always), but the experience and time taken to understand the process, is one that I find extremely valuable- and my favourite approach to learning about the world.

Shortly after I picked up my knitting needles again, I became curious about the fibres my yarn was made from and started spinning, felting, and playing with natural dyes. My mind is continually blown by how flexible and malleable these raw materials are. Through engaging with fibre and spending time at  Vancouver Hack Space, I have felt a stronger connection to the people around me and have even discovered a new found appreciation of chemistry, physics, electronics and mathematics and how they work together.

Through my work and play with the maker community, I’ve discovered that this project and experience-based approach to learning really isn’t all that unique. There’s an entire movement of people advocating for STEM-based curriculum – an arts-based approach to learning about engineering, technology and science, told through the language of mathematics. I believe in this teaching model because I believe that it prepares students for the real world, in a meaningful and engaged way. Also. Learning can be (and is) fun and cool.

After 3 years of serving as Director for Vancouver Mini Maker Faire, I am now a board member for Vancouver Maker Foundation (The non-profit behind Vancouver Mini Maker Faire that I co-founded). Read more about my experience spearheading a Maker Faire on MAKE Magazine.

I am also currently working as Educational Coordinator at VIVO Media Arts Centre.

Needle Felting by Emily Smith

You can see some of the projects I’ve been involved with here… yarnbombing, needle felting, glow bike tutorial, arduino patch, Vancouver Experimental Theremin Orchestra and more.

Comments are closed.