Meet Sasha Massey, maker, singer and teacher. She began her small business, Sweet Nails by Sasha, offering handmade nail oil pens, and has since expanded her product line making hair and beard oils, bath salts, complexion sticks and body sprays. In addition, Sasha is a soprano singer who performs classical and operatic recitals, light jazz shows and as a Cantor at St. John’s Cathedral in Lafayette.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started making things.
My purpose for beginning my small project was to take better care of my nails, hair and skin. I only went to the nail salon for my birthday and once a year I’d be cut with an electric file or told I couldn’t have polka-dots on my toe even when I offered to pay more. I chose to learn for myself. I watched tons of how-to videos by YouTubers like Kirsty Meakin, who is a phenomenal nail artist, and the awesome Cristine from Simply Nailogical. I wanted to make nail oil pens that also smelled great and the faster my nails grew the more I realized I could make these for my friends. My best proof that my products work is actually my hair which is also growing rather quickly. I now have a handful of loyal customers who buy kits of items in a one-month supply.

What does the term “Maker” mean to you?
Being a maker means taking the necessary step to fill a need where you see a lack. It involves being inventive and persistent despite financial set backs or figuring out how to win the trust of your customers and interest them in something new and different.

Who or what inspires you?
My inspiration came more dominantly from Cristine of Simply Nailogical. She’s hilarious, intelligent, irreverent and honest. I respect her for the same consistency I’m trying to maintain by keeping up a small business and teaching.

Is making your hobby or your business? How does it relate, if at all, to your day job?
My business demands the same consistency and dedication that teaching and performing require. It’s important to have new repertoire for the season just like seasonal and custom items.

Why is making important to you?
Making is important because just as many people in Louisiana and across the country have to maintain multiple jobs, it’s a necessary second income that helps me, and it inspires confidence and curiosity in my colleagues and students.

What have you made that you are most proud of?
With regard to my products, I am most proud of the variety of nail pens and the hair and beard oil which has been a roaring success on my own scalp and for several of my customers. It can be used on the scalp, beard, eyebrows and eyelashes. It’s great to see people getting so much use out of what I’ve made.

What would you make if you had unlimited resources?
With unlimited resources I would make a more consistent amount of product as well as a higher amount of comforting gift sets for women on their cycle.

What up-and-coming maker trends excite you the most?
Trends that peak my interest are seasonal items that evoke happy feelings and a general sense of whimsy that makes practical needs more attractive. I had a customer ask for a particular one-time fragrance and now for summer only I’ll be making a small batch of body sprays.

What advice can you give someone who wants to get involved in the Maker movement?
Becoming a Maker involves following your passion with a defined sense of direction. It may take time, but your purpose is worth fighting for. Don’t be surprised if strangers make better customers than your friends, but don’t skip on the resource of their word-of-mouth advertising. Be brave even when things get expensive and difficult. Make professional friendships with people who are willing to engage in consistent cross-promotion. We can rise together!

Tell us something surprising about yourself.
Surprise…I am an Opera Singer! I’m a professional singer here in Lafayette, Louisiana. I teach private voice lessons, Cantor at St. John’s Cathedral, perform recitals, sing for weddings, funerals, graduations, private party bookings, and more! I’m a vocal chameleon and my voice has been described as; powerful, angelic, Disney Princess, Jazz Muse and Broadway Belter. I also taught myself to do more things left handed before and AFTER fracturing a bone in my right hand. Eyeliner was pure heck! Ha!

Meet Kalyn Akers, a mother, teacher and baker. Kalyn began baking sourdough and other breads out of her home kitchen. In recent years, she’s expanded to homemade king cakes. She and her husband are building their business Sunny Akers Farm, which in addition to a home bakery includes chickens, rabbits, goats, sheep and a garden. Sunny Akers Farm has been part of Maker Faire Lafayette past two years. If you’ve tried any of their loaves or samples, you’re probably looking forward to seeing them again at this year’s Faire as well.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started making things. 

I am a mother of 4 (soon to be 5) and a French teacher at Vermilion Catholic High School. We have a small farm with goats, chickens, rabbits, and a sheep, and a budding bread business. After my fourth child was born, I took a hiatus from teaching and in that time I bought my first bread book and became obsessed with baking sourdough, among other breads. This lead me to a great brioche recipe that I decided to try out for a king cake, which has since been our best seller. I am still mostly selling from our home in Maurice, but we are working to build a commercial kitchen on our property and maybe even one day a storefront. We dream big!

What does the term “Maker” mean to you?

To me a “maker” is a person who does the research, puts in the hours, the trials and errors, is always learning, always tweaking, always thinking of how to better themselves and the product they’re making.

Who or what inspires you?

I think growers are who inspire me most. People who organically perfect the soil and tend to their plants and fruit trees, build trellises, make their own compost, can their fruits and veggies, etc.

Is making your hobby or your business? How does it relate, if at all, to your day job?

My bread making began as a hobby that has since turned into a business. Since my husband and I both have full-time jobs and 4 children in activities, and a baby on the way. It has definitely been a challenge to plan our bread-making schedule around our regular life’s responsibilities. I won’t say it’s easy, but we make it happen!

Why is making important to you?

It’s important to me to know how to do things in general. It saddens me that my generation values convenience more than knowledge. Knowledge is a gift and I wish I could fit more in my brain! I want to know where everything comes from and how everything works. I simply choose to focus my attentions on knowledge that I can eat!

What have you made that you are most proud of?

I am definitely most proud of my sourdough accomplishments. It took a lot of research, time, and flour to get to those first beautiful loaves. I mostly bake in a dutch oven or cloche with a lid. You never know quite what the loaf will look like until you lift the lid. When I lift the lid and see beauty, I always feel proud.

What would you make if you had unlimited resources? 

With unlimited resources, I guess I would love a giant garden and orchard that people in the community could come pick from. I would also love to grow my own grain. Then maybe the storefront café/bread bakery of my dreams.

What up-and-coming maker trends excite you the most?

I am definitely loving the goat and goat milk trends.

What advice can you give someone who wants to get involved in the Maker movement? 

DO IT! It’s worth the time and effort and it is so rewarding to spread your knowledge and love of your skill to others.

Tell us something surprising about yourself.

I’m a French teacher who had never been to France. I fulfilled that dream in June last year, and it was a dream come true to eat all the French bread that I could get my hands on!

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

Lafayette Mini Maker Faire is Saturday, March 30 from 10 am to 3 pm at Lafayette Science Museum downtown. Get your FREE tickets and check out the map and program of Makers, workshops and performances.

Don’t miss the Robotics Arena in LSM’s auditorium. Visit the classrooms to sign-up for workshops: Second Line Dance with Hamilton Academy of the Arts, Learn to Solder with Lafayette Public Library, PomPom Launcher Build with Designing Women of Acadiana.

Visit Maker booths inside the museum and outside on Congress Street between Jefferson and Polk Streets for more hands-on activities such as Printmaking with Achilles Print Studio, Tin Can Flowers with Deuxieme Vie, Whirlybirds with Lafayette Public Library, TieDIY with Mary Cormaci Tie Dye, Knot-tying with Scouts BSA and Plus-PlusTM Building Competition in the Discover Store.

Stop by the Live Music Lounge to check out instruments from LPL M.I.brary and make music with UL Traditional Music Ensemble. Learn to make a drum and dance to the beat with I am I Drummers. Bring your bike for a tune up with Bike Lafayette’s Bike Kitchen.

You’ll also find demonstrations on woodworking, industrial design, architecture, 3D printing, weaving, spinning wool and cotton, drones, metalsmithing, breadmaking, HAM Radio, Podcasting, Comics, sewing, jewelry making with organic materials, powerwheels racing, crochet, urban farming, pottery, basketweaving, chemistry, homebrewing, costumes, replicas, wargaming terrain, astronomy and solar telescope viewing. You won’t want to miss outdoor performances by Spontaneous Combustion Fire Dancers.

It’s part science fair, part festival and we call it the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth!

Download the Lafayette Mini Maker Faire Map & Program.

Meet Rachael Landry of Louisiana Loom. She’s a human resources professional who recently discovered the art of weaving. Textile arts provides a creative outlet and allows her to explore texture and color combinations inspired by nature.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started making things.
As a child, my mom would always do arts and crafts with us and eventually taught me how to sew. The idea of weaving seemed like an extension of that craft, so I decided to give it a try. I made my first Loom about a year ago and have completely fallen in love with the art of weaving. It’s allowed me to tap into those creative elements of my personality and explore ideas through texture, color, and patterns. I’m still growing and learning with every piece I create, and it is this exploration that energizes and inspires me. I’m excited about the opportunity to create unique pieces and share my work with others.

What does the term “Maker” mean to you?
I think being a “Maker” is taking those innate gifts instilled in you, and using them to create something unique, bold, and completely reflective of your own individual talents.

Who or what inspires you?
The world around me – mostly nature. I love bringing unique color combinations found in nature into my weavings.

Is making your hobby or your business? How does it relate, if at all, to your day job?
Being on the Loom is my hobby, and now side business. I work as a Human Resources professional as my “day job” at a global IT consulting company. I’m very passionate about my field of work, and heavily involved in our HR community in Acadiana. What I enjoy most about my craft is the ability to design and create, in a tangible way, which really provides a sense of balance for me.

Why is making important to you?
Probably like most makers, it allows for that quiet decompression time. I believe that everyone should find that one thing that gives them a sense of accomplishment – whatever it may be. Seeing the final product of something you’ve created can provide such a rewarding sense of fulfillment.

What have you made that you are most proud of?
What I’m most proud of is probably the very first weaving I ever made. I made my own Loom, warped it, and started weaving away – not knowing what I was doing. I love that piece, not because it’s good (because in fact it’s really, really bad!) but because it’s a reminder that I took a leap and tried something new. At the time I had no idea that I’d eventually be asked by others to make custom pieces, or that I’d start up a small business as a result. I have it hanging in my laundry room, as a gentle reminder to not hold back out of fear, but instead to try new things and learn. And goodness, I have learned a lot along the way!

What would you make if you had unlimited resources?
Probably a 20 foot weaving. I want to make a massive wall tapestry!

What up-and-coming maker trends excite you the most?
I find myself saying “Wow. How did they do that?” more and more lately. I’m inspired by the vast innovation, craftsmanship, and true artistry I’ve been seeing. It’s truly inspirational.

What advice can you give someone who wants to get involved in the Maker movement?
Don’t ever let fear hold you back from trying. (Something I’m still reminding myself of all the time). If you have an idea, there are a million reasons you can tell yourself to not do it. But if you take that first step and just try something new, you may surprise yourself.

Tell us something surprising about yourself.
The most surprising thing may be this! Most people know me as a wife, working mom, volunteer leader, (the list goes on) but may be surprised to learn I’m also a self-taught Fiber Artist. I also love music, shows/festivals with the hubby, rollercoasters, antiques, yoga, and of course – my coffee in the mornings.

Meet Benjamin Black of Animétronics. He’s a self-taught robotics enthusiast. Through tinkering, building, and automating robots, Ben has developed a skill set that includes electrical engineering, mechanical design, information technology, and media arts.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started making things.
I have had an innate interest how things work. At age 3, I had taken apart the classroom’s record player. Before it was time to leave, I had the machine in working order. This is one my mother likes to tell people; I have no true recollection of it. By age 12, simple robotics kits have just become affordable enough to enter the home market. A Parallax BoeBot was my first exposure to robots that could be programmed (barring hardwired BEAM robots like Cybug). I was very unschooled/uncoached in this multidisciplinary venture due to the lack of robotics clubs in my location during that time. I tinkered with little resource or aim. Fortunately, for this upcoming generation, that issue has very much been rectified. Years later, the Arduino platform came on the scene. Well supported and easy to program, the Arduino was a brain without a body unlike ‘ole BoeBot. I had to do something about that! So, with a little coaxing from Instructables and inspiration from a popular video game resulted in my first animatronic replica, GLaDOS.

What does the term “Maker” mean to you?
Initially, I thought the term was simply synonymous with “tinkerer”. However, since my becoming more involved with the corresponding community, it certainly has a myriad of definitions: artisan, craftsman, engineer, mechanic, seamstress, scientist… the list goes on. The most typical common denominator amongst these individuals is that they are usually home-grown pursuits either one person or a small group –business or hobby.

Who or what inspires you?
Who: I could easily repeat the common names and historical figures like Nicola Tesla, Einstein, et. al. But what of the people around today? The amazing SHIN-WALK algorithm of Tomotaka Takahashi. The unbridled enthusiasm and ingenuity of Adam Savage. Michio Kaku, Neil deGrasse Tyson. YouTube channel host like James Xrobot, and Dave Jones of Eevblog to name a few.

What: Science fiction, video games and later animé (hence my blog’s moniker) has certainly been an inspiration. From first seeing Luke Skywalker’s prosthetic hand, the engineered antics of Dr. Robotnik, completely organic computers in Tenchi Muyo, humanoid robots in the Gundam franchise, the list could go on.

Is making your hobby or your business? How does it relate, if at all, to your day job?
Graduating SLCC with an Associate of Science Louisiana Transfer, I have two years left as a student that I’ve yet to complete.  What I make is primarily a hobby for me at this time. However they are, vicariously, investments into my portfolio; part of my résumé that (sometimes literally) speaks for itself.  I take on hardware IT work freelance, if the job is within my skill set.

Why is making important to you?
Because it is a way I can prove to myself that I exist. This may be a deep philosophical answer, but it’s the most correct one to me. For quite some time I had a lot of theoretical knowledge with no way of applying it. Making closes that loop. To be able interact with people in a way that one was previously unable to through the medium of what one has made. That can be a joy.

What have you made that you are most proud of?
Probably my GLaDOS replica. It was well received at MechaCon 2012, and I won awards for it. To date (to the best of my knowledge) it seems that I am still one of just half a dozen replicas of the character that involve any sort of automation. It is also one that I am most humbled by. The public appearance of GLaDOS caused a snowball of events that opened me up to a lot of like-minded people that I could not have fathomed existed. From being scouted by UL Lafayette’s CAPE project (as a shadow, essentially) to later getting involved with the 501st Legion in conjunction with the R2 Builders Club, it has led to what I would consider quite the personal paradigm shift.

What would you make if you had unlimited resources?
My own company geared towards the biomedical engineering field or the consumer market. Depends on whats most lucrative. But I have unlimited resources, so why not both? Discovering how to make science fiction into scientific reality; it is already happening all the time. Spinal bypass devices to reverse paralysis, nanomachines to aid or replace failing organ tissue, neural-based prosthetics than can feel would just be a few of the R&D endeavors. Some of these concepts are already well into their infancy. The theoretical end of Moore’s law is only a few decades away; as a contemporary to the established quantum chips, organic computing has potential. Diatoms have been “trained” to act as microchip brick masons in multiple labs.

What up-and-coming maker trends excite you the most?
I’m not entirely sure what a Maker trend entails. I’ve seen things succeed and fail on Maker-fueled platforms. What is refreshing though is the fact that larger companies have begun to make economical room for Makers; we are now seen as something worth investing in.

What advice can you give someone who wants to get involved in the Maker movement?
Do your own thing! What is it that you’re passionate about? I was never really involved in groups growing up. Once some of my projects started reaching beyond what one person can do alone, that’s when I became involved. Because the Maker movement is so multidisciplinary, ranging from art to science, there isn’t an exact starting point I can give. For my niche of electronics and automation, I found that sites like Sparkfun, Adafruit, Pololu, (all stores originally) had blogs dedicated to education in their respective fields –needless to say forums. The first two are actually a sort of webring that founded this movement. YouTube channels have also been indispensable. Getting involved is a lot easier now than it was, say, 15 years ago. For local things, Facebook can be a great networking tool.

Tell us something surprising about yourself.
I am entirely self taught.

 

Meet Indira Dutta, an artist and a doctoral student of computer engineering at UL Lafayette. She works in paper cuts, pencil, pen and ink, watercolor and acrylic. Inspired by nature and her childhood in Bangladesh, Indira hopes to encourage others to explore art and create works of their own.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started making things.
I traveled to Lafayette five years back from the other side of the world. I came here carrying the essence of Bangladesh in my heart because that defines my sole existence. As a kid back home, I always used to make greeting cards for my friends and family on different occasions. At the age of nine, I started going to an art class and that has changed my life completely; it opened up a new world of imagination for me.

What does the term “Maker” mean to you?
For me “Maker” means someone who creates something new and also when that creation helps other people to imagine and to discover the unknown.

Who or what inspires you?
My art reflects the way I see the world. My inspirations come from Mother Nature, my family, friends and my life that evolved from Bangladesh to America.

Is making your hobby or your business? How does it relate, if at all, to your day job?
Making is neither my hobby nor my business! This is a key part of my life. My artwork is the only refreshment in my daily stressful life. Whenever I see an opportunity to create something, I give my heart and soul to that. In the future, I surely have plans to share my skills and my creative ideas with the rest of the world.

Why is making important to you?
It gives my life a purpose. It gives me so much pleasure when my artwork spreads joy, helps other people imagine and encourages them to create. This is my favorite medium of expression.

What have you made that you are most proud of?
From my childhood till now, I have gifted my dear ones numerous handmade greeting cards. Whenever I think about the positivity and happiness I shared with all of them, it makes me feel proud.

What would you make if you had unlimited resources?
I wish to establish an Art Academy and inspire all to explore this mesmerizing universe of creativity.

What up-and-coming maker trends excite you the most?
Now the trend is more towards Technology Driven Arts. I believe every person is a “Maker” and technology eases the process of making.

What advice can you give someone who wants to get involved in the Maker movement?
Never stop dreaming and never stop inspiring other people with your work. Every person is unique. When you put your imagination and thoughts, your creation becomes one of a kind.

Tell us something surprising about yourself.
I am pursuing my Ph.D. in Computer Engineering at UL Lafayette. I was trained in singing from the age of four and I am an enlisted singer for Bangladesh National Radio.

Meet the Radical Reporters. They are young backpack journalists and video producers who are mentored and at home at Acadiana Open Channel Community Media.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started making things.
We are a group of media students and we work together at AOC to make our own media.

What does the term “Maker” mean to you?
A producer of cool.

Who or what inspires you?
A need to create cool things!

Is making your hobby or your business? How does it relate, if at all, to your day job?
A hobby (on track to be a career!)

Why is making important to you?
We want to create the kind of media that we want to see.

What have you made that you are most proud of?
Public Access (webseries)

What would you make if you had unlimited resources?
A feature length rom-com, dramedy, horror movie.

What up-and-coming maker trends excite you the most?
Robots and Deepfake AI

What advice can you give someone who wants to get involved in the Maker movement?
Make, make, make!

Tell us something surprising about yourself.
The fish market joke was invented in The Monster Movie.

Meet Gordon Gueydan. Gordon has a background in electrical engineering, woodworking, machining, programming and restoration. He also is an aircooled Volkswagen enthusiast. Gordon made and demonstrated a Rubens’ tube at Lafayette Mini Maker Faire in March 2018. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started making things.
My parents encouraged creativity. I can think of numerous examples when I was a kid. When I was six, I remember making an arcade out of cardboard boxes. I kept the cardboard pinball game for the longest. I remember making a bowling game with a jump ramp, a basketball, some pieces of wood and some old bowling pins my neighbor gave me and my brother. My brother and I made trailers for adult tricycles to haul stuff around the yard. My dad taking me to garage sales, tinkering with engines, electronics and computers, accidental fires, constantly blowing breakers, stitches, burns….a combination of curiosity, creativity and failure are the initial building blocks of any maker.

What does the term “Maker” mean to you? 
Growing up in the early days of the internet, A hacker was someone who understood at such a fundamental level that they could exploit a system or device to do things they were not intended to do and they shared it. People existed without skin color, without nationality and without religious bias (paraphrasing The Mentor). Compared to the “real world” I grew up in, I saw the internet and these hackers with their understanding of it as the ideal. The maker community is, as I see it, an extension of that world. People coming together to bring their knowledge and understanding to share with others.

Who or what inspires you? 
Doing something of purpose. People who share their failures, as well as their successes, so others can learn from their mistakes.

Is making your hobby or your business? How does it relate, if at all, to your day job? 
Both. My “day job” is a combination of IT work and building things for people.

Why is making important to you? 
Making is not just building something. The path to discovery and understanding. The research and learning is what I find fulfilling.

What have you made that you are most proud of? 
I can’t think of a single thing I am the most proud of. I am proud of my plasma antenna.

What would you make if you had unlimited resources?
A Makerspace.

What advice can you give someone who wants to get involved in the Maker movement? 
Don’t let failure discourage you. Find a community, don’t stay secluded.

Tell us something surprising about yourself.
I don’t understand how to keep a house clean.

Meet Kyle Plaisance of Plasauce Props and Cosplay. Kyle creates characters based on film, TV, and video games by making props and costumes out of everything from floor mats or wood to printer paper and poster board. Over the years, he’s developed budget-friendly techniques and enjoys sharing what he’s learned with others.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started making things.
I’ve always been fascinated with costume design, but never saw it as something I could work on. Everything changed in 2010 after seeing the multitudes of Halorelated armors being made. After much research and trialanderror, I built my first full set of armor. I was hooked. I love talking shop with other makers and cosplayers. Discussing different methods, materials, and tools.

What does the term “Maker” mean to you? 
To me, Maker means someone who is a creator, painter, sculptor, carver, coder, molder, caster, etc.

Who or what inspires you? 
Seeing the creativity and passion of other cosplayers and makers drives me to work harder on my own projects.

Is making your hobby or your business? How does it relate, if at all, to your day job? 
For now its all a hobby. I hope one day to make it a full time job, but for now, I have a regular day job.

Why is making important to you? 
I need a creative outlet. I work a desk job, so working on different projects helps my artistic side.

What have you made that you are most proud of? 
I have a full size replica of Longclaw, the sword of Jon Snow from Game of Thrones. The entire sword and scabbard was scratchbuilt. The sword itself is carved from wood and assembled in the same fashion as a real steel sword.

What would you make if you had unlimited resources?
If I had access to multiple 3D printers, I would create the entire armor set of Noble Team from Halo Reach.

What up-and-coming maker trends excite you the most? 
The different types of worbla (thermoplastics) and foam clay are getting me especially excited about whats possible with cosplay.

What advice can you give someone who wants to get involved in the Maker movement? 
Start slowly. Find something small to focus on so you don’t get overwhelmed and give up. This is a time consuming hobby, but its all worth it in the end.

Tell us something surprising about yourself.
I can talk shop for hours. I love brainstorming and working with others on projects.

 

 

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