We kick off our Meet the Chibi Maker series with Seattle based maker and founder of Make Something studio Joanna Chou. She has been tinkering with Chibitronics Circuit Stickers since she first heard about it on the internet and was blown away by its creative potential. A full-time mom with true passion for design and creativity, Joanna encourages people to embrace their inner creativity. She shares her creative ideas, process and inspiration…
What’s your story?
I’m a mompreneur, maker and founder of Make Something, a concept studio where I imagine, create and inspire others to learn through making. Prior to the Make Something project, I’d spent over ten years as a Marketing professional in the Hi-Tech sector and turned full time mom when my two girls became my priorities. Chief homemaker by day and part-time making by night were far from my life goals (or my Asian parents’ hopes for me) when I set out to make something of my business degree from Berkeley fifteen years ago. However, this unplanned diversion from the corporate life have helped me discover a true passion and led me down a creative path that redefined meaning of success. By sharing this story, I hope to encourage people without arts and design background to explore and blossom their inner creativity.
What are the things that you like to make?
The projects I take on are driven by my fascination for a particular subject in the moment. My love for making comes from the process of discovering and working with different mediums and techniques, much like what a mixed media artist go through when creating an art piece. If I have to pinpoint a category of things I like to make, I find myself having a fondness for woodland creatures and forest themes. I love all things magical and whimsy because it brings out the inner child play in me.
What is your favorite personal project
Lately, I’m spending a lot of time learning about circuitry and experimenting with different ways to integrate it into arts and crafts. The woodland fairy that came out of the process has been my most favorite creation because it was truly a mish-mash of techniques, materials and style that I enjoy working with.
How would you describe your creative making process?
I find that my best creations are made when I keep an open mind and letting the dots connect during the process. For example, the woodland fairy started as a simple peg doll project and transformed into something unexpected as I incorporate materials that inspired me. The natural curves from a wood branch as the body and organic feel from the moss clashed with the hard wires and circuits but combining science and nature made the project complete. None of the elements were planned and that’s the beauty and joy of making and flowing with your aha-moments.
What inspires your making?
I’m very much inspired by European and Japanese crafts. I spend a lot of time browsing books, social media sites and Pinterest boards to stay abreast of new trends and techniques. Learning a new skill and inventing new ways to evolve an idea are core drivers for a lot of my work.
What helpful hints do you have for future makers?
Don’t spend too much time coming up with the perfect plan. Roll up your sleeves and let ideas come to you as you tinker. Making is a trans-disciplinary process, the more knowledge you gain and diverse you become, the better your ideas and work will be. The process can sometimes be discouraging but keep learning and keep discovering, every accomplishment or failure along the way will propel you forward, if you just keep making.
Favorite thing about Chibitronics
My most favorite thing about Chibitronics is the simplicity, making something most people perceive as intimidating or complex easily understandable and adaptable, empowering non-technical Makers of all ages to take ideas to the next level.
Images: Courtesy of the maker
Joanna continues her creative exploration in crafting with circuits. She is interested in tinkering with advanced stickers and gain a deeper understanding of complex electronics and computational ideas. Thanks Joanna for sharing your personal experiences and creative practice. We look forward to know more about your projects.
If you would like to be featured in the Meet the Chibi Maker series, contact us here. We would love to share your creative projects and stories.