What Makes a Maker?
Meet Karen Barbato, who works at Lafayette Public Library. Karen participated in Maker Faire Lafayette for the first time in 2019. She’s interested in a range of crafts and skills and takes a one-thing-leads-to-another approach to making. From cross-stitching to sewing, writing, painting, crocheting and back again, Karen continues to hone her skill set and find joy in making new things.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started making things.
I’m 35 and I’ve been crafting for most of it. It’s all been different things but I love to make. When I was a kid, I did cross stitch and sewing, then I moved to writing and random crafts, then I moved to painting and now I knit and crochet and paint (when I have the time!) I’m trying to get back into sewing…

What does the term “Maker” mean to you?
A Maker is someone who makes. Simple. If you made art that wasn’t there before, you’re a Maker.

Who or what inspires you?
I like using the internet and books for ideas, usually. If I’m painting, I use old Bob Ross stuff on Netflix. I can listen to that guy all day.

Is making your hobby or your business? How does it relate, if at all, to your day job?
Hobby, but I do sell things. And being that I work at a library, sure.

Why is making important to you?
It’s how I touch the divine. Some people go to a place of worship, I make.

What have you made that you are most proud of?
I make these insane blankets with yarn I have left over in my stash. A friend dubbed it the Frankenblanket. I am now on Frankie 2.0.

What would you make if you had unlimited resources?
I would have all the yarn I wanted and I would definitely make more shawls and scarves and blankets. I love making stuff.

What up-and-coming maker trends excite you the most?
I like lots of things. If I can see it, it might inspire me.

What advice can you give someone who wants to get involved in the Maker movement?
Just start. Find a book. Find your stuff. Get to making! And don’t be upset or disheartened if it doesn’t look good when you start. No one ever starts out running! Just keep going, it’ll look how you want soon enough.

Tell us something surprising about yourself.
I sing and I LOVE to do karaoke.

Frankenblanket crocheted by Karen Barbato