We have some amazing Makers of the Arts this year, among them J Kent, whose diverse talents, interests and passions will be made manifest through his lifesize cardboard sculpture of Mabel the T-Rex Skull, among other things. J Kent has some powerful insights on the value of Making.
GCMC: Who are and what do you make?
JK: My name is J Kent (or at least that is what most people call me) I’m a certified Blacksmith, I do leatherwork, chainmaille, sculpture, 3D rendering, bronze and aluminum casting and I make a mean cream of mushroom soup.
GCMC: Why do you make it?
JK: The soup? Because it is quite tasty! As for the rest? I make because a life without expression is bland. There is something existentially gratifying about stepping away from the workbench and going ‘It is done!’ There is a feeling of purpose and hope if you can hold something in your hands and know it in its every detail because it was borne of your hands.
GCMC: Why do you think it’s important, useful or worth doing?
JK: Every day, our world gets smaller. A single person’s range of influence has gone from the cave, to the town, to the country and now touching the right spots on your cell phone can bring a pizza to your door or inflame a country into war. I think a person whose experience is ranged has a much greater understanding of the world and can become a much better part of it.
Those who make grow quickly as an individual. Simply knowing how to sew, for example, immediately brings a kinship to any who know a needle and thread. They have a common set of experiences, they have shared feelings of joy and anguish of a project gone well or foul, they have something they can show to one another and empathize as to what the other has done and gone through.
A person from Idaho could show the quilt they made to a person from Bulgaria and they’d have a kinship of common understanding. The act of Making can bring people together and can help people understand each other- no matter what walk of life they may come from.
GCMC: What are you bringing to Gulf Coast MakerCon?
JK: Current plans are Mabel the Cardboard T-rex Skull, The Bronze Bunny and the Steampunk Dodocase.
GCMC: Will folks be able to do anything at your booth?
JK: I’ll be part of the Tampa Hackerspace group. If they’d like, they can pose with Mabel the T-rex for photos.
GCMC: Why should folks come out to a maker festival?
JK: Making brings the community together and knowing who makes what close to you can provide a true sense of community. You might also meet fellow makers who can learn from you or you learn from them! Makers make, but teaching is a big part of the making process.
GCMC: What’s so great about making stuff?
JK: The sense of pride in yourself and the ability to learn as you go. Every project I begin, I’ll end it having learned something I never would have thought could be learned from that experience.
You can meet J Kent, check out Mabel and his other great work, and get acquainted with more folks from our amazing Gulf Coast Maker Community (and hopefully become part of it!) at Gulf Coast MakerCon on April 18th!