Meet the Maker : Karen Corliss

Colorado Maker Hub: Maker Relations

Engineering Project Manager: Barry-Wehmiller Design Group

How did you become a member of the maker community?

At the time, I never really considered myself a Maker but I did start sewing at a young age, first with doll clothes followed by clothes for me, in questionable fashion styles, which I proudly wore to Jr. High School. Sadly, making slowed down for me as I travelled the traditional school/college/corporate job path.

Then years later, my sister, a Maker, started talking to me about this awesome new magazine called Make: and this new thing called Maker Faire in San Francisco she insisted I come visit to see, and this new place called TechShop being built. I started a subscription to Make: but didn’t prioritize making anything new (other than sewing fun stuff). Every year, sis would invite me to Maker Faire. It took 6 more years to finally get to Maker Faire Bay Area and for me to wonder why Colorado didn’t yet have a Maker Faire. And in 2013, I was introduced, through a mutual friend, to Elise and we changed all that by producing Colorado’s first Mini Maker Faire and we have been making Maker Faires ever since.

What is your earliest maker memory?

My Mom ran a daycare from the house and I always remember having some craft, game, toy or musical instrument in my hands. An early specific memory was around 5 yrs old making Christmas ornaments at a youth group with my Mom, classic clothes pin angels!

What do you think is the value of the maker movement?

The Maker Movement to me is the ultimate safe place for experimentation. Truly, Everyone is welcome. No other organization, school, association, or group I have experience with has been sincerely this welcoming to people of all disciplines, ages, experience level, cognitive ability, interests, country of origin, income level, race, religion, gender, dietary needs, political preferences or physical ability. All are welcome.

What is your motivation to being a member of the maker community?

I come from a manufacturing background and there are few young folks who are interested in that type of work anymore it seems. Working with your hands keeps both the mind and body sharp and fit. Working with your hands empowers one with the tools to build something from scratch. Working with your hands creates experiences and knowledge that cannot be taught in school. Working with your hands, mind and heart among teammates and friends to create something that wasn’t there before builds communities into places where change is not feared, but expected and part of everyday life. What will you Make today?

What is your favorite experiment gone wrong?

Making baked goods at Mile High…. which sometimes result in supremely flat cookies, hollow sunken cupcakes, fallen angel food cake and rock hard bread. It’s almost always a calamity. Oops!

An interesting fact we should all know?

Every car I’ve ever owned and driven has been one with a manual transmission. If I’m nearby and you need an additional person to move, swap, pick up or relocate a standard vehicle, I’m your gal.

 

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