As the 2023 Des Moines Mini Maker Faire is approaching , we took some time to sit down and talk with SCI’s Mena Ramm who is an incredible maker. She shared with us about the things she loves to make and what inspires her creativity.
Us: What do you do at the Science Center?
Mena: I am the Camps Manager here at the Science Center of Iowa. I love working with young people and there is so much making that happens at camp! It is important to remember that whatever you try to make, it is a journey that takes a lifetime to master. Often we think of kids as being creative, and they definitely are, but it can be incredibly challenging for young people to be asked to be creative on the spot and they often have trouble finishing what they start. When we as makers feel a gap between our taste and our skills we can often become very frustrated, and this can lead to giving up. Being a maker is like working out a muscle, we have to practice all the time, which is why the process is so important. Practice finishing what you start, practice learning new skills, and practice your maker mindset and in time progress always follows.
Us: Wow. It sounds sounds like practice is a really important part of making. How would you define/describe “making”?
Mena: I define making as being engaged with a process that allows me to create something new. For me, making is inextricable from the process that goes into it. The process for me is the most rewarding part. When I am engaged in making something, my mind is quiet and the world drifts away. The time when I am engaged with my making process is often the best time off my day. Making does have it’s challenges, but training my mind and hands to confront these challenges is so rewarding!
Us: I think it is so good to think of making as a process and not just about the final product. What are some of your favorite maker activities?
Mena: I have always been an artist who loved drawing, painting, printmaking, and digital art. I still create drawings in my free time. In the past few years I also been obsessed with fiber arts. My grandmother taught me to crochet when I was young and I have now learned to knit. Knitting has taken over my imagination! I love that meditative process of it and I love having a useful end product! I have knitted many sweaters and it feels like there is always something new learn. I have also started quilting and sewing this year. I do not find it as meditative as other maker activities but that challenge has been really rewarding. When I am engaged in these hobbies I feel very connected to a long line of makers in my family and the world who have passed down so much knowledge.
Making is important because it teaches us! We learn to finish what we start and to confront challenges. We learn how to close the gap between our taste and our skills, and we learn to pass on what we have learned to others!
Us: It so important to recognize how making things and working through the process helps us to grow. Thank you for sharing with us about your passions and your process.
Come see Mena and her incredible knitting skills at the Des Moines Mini Maker Faire on Monday, September 4 from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. Tickets can be purchased at the door. Tickets purchased online receive a $2 discount. https://112291.blackbaudhosting.com/112291/page.aspx?pid=213&tab=2&txobjid=32818b7a-b396-4061-b330-12a4682d0f39