An interview on Making with

Margarita Benitez

Fashion Technologist & Assistant Professor , The Fashion School at Kent State University

About Margarita

Margarita Benitez is the Fashion Technologist and an Assistant Professor at The Fashion School at Kent State University and she collaborates with Markus Vogl, an Assistant Professor at the University of Akron. They collaborate in their art practice under the name //benitez_vogl. Their current research explores 3D printing and transformation of the human form with through concepts of biomimicry, the concept of pret-a-faire (ready-to-make) thru generative fashion applications and open source tools for artists.

What is Making?

The act of creating. The Maker movement is the resurgence of DIY ideologies (Do It Yourself) but it is transformed as it not only involves traditional arts and crafts but also embraces technology as a large part of it’s movement as well as the dissemination of information on the internet via open licenses and distribution which allows others to easily share/make/modify what they have made.

Who are Makers?

A new subculture of DIY enthusiasts that use technology in “Making.”

Why is Making important?

Knowledge is power and can transform lives. Making promotes the free distribution of knowledge and empowerment of individuals through the act of Making and creating.

What is an exciting example of Making and why?

I think the ideas behind the Maker movement are the most exciting – the transfer of knowledge and power of production to the masses. The disruptive technology that is part of Making, such as the 3D printers, and the Open Hardware/Software that are part of are truly what I find most exciting about Making.

How is Making transforming education?

The open hardware movement (part of making) has allowed for 3D printers to become affordable enough that schools can purchase one and teach children to make. The act of creating is truly empowering and transformative.

How can Making change my community?

The Maker culture empowers but also creates communities. Making bring members of the community from a whole spectrum of backgrounds therefore creating stronger community ties. There is no age limitations for Making – sometimes in community spaces such as hacker spaces or Maker spaces you see retirees and school age kids in dialogue. This also brings in a whole range of perspectives and backgrounds in one space.

How does Making solve big problems?

The main thing to remember is the open-ness (open hardware / open software) ideology behind Making. It is about sharing and community. One aspect of this is that someone makes something, and then other people download it, make it too but they improve on the design and contribute their design back to the community at large. This creates a dialogue and a sort of evolutionary model for design where improvements to the design are kept therefore refining the design. One project that stands out for me is the e-nable project which created a 3d printable prosthetic. It allows for people to participate by helping print out hands and parts for people in their communities. This could potentially have a far reaching impact around the world.