Here at Craftzine, we’re lucky enough to have a rotating stable of interns who can knit, sew, crochet, weave, solder, paint, draw, and more. They used to test most of the projects before they went into each print issue of CRAFT. Nowadays, they try out instructions in how-to books we get sent and then review them; make cool projects from previous issues or from the blog to show off at craft fairs or on television shows like The Martha Show; test drive crafty kits from the Maker Shed; and help out on MAKE projects as needed. In the past, we’ve even had MAKE engineering interns take a stab at helping with Craft projects, with varying results (more on that later).
The interns also haul supplies from the warehouse, shop for tools and materials, and come up with projects of their own on a surprisingly regular basis. We work them to near death before, during, and after each Maker Faire — packing pallets and building projects to send to the fairgrounds beforehand; setting up booths and greeting the public for 12-plus hours a day during the event; and unpacking trucks when everything comes back to our offices after the fact.
In exchange, they get to have one of the most highly coveted jobs in the land. Seriously. I’ve had top-level editors ask if they could trade their job for an internship, not to mention designers, the parents of our interns, and just about anyone who gets a look at the Labs, where the interns work their magic day in and day out.
So now we’re offering our website readers a look into the fabulous lives of the Craftzine interns. Twice a month the current interns will offer up stories about the projects they’re working on, the trouble they’ve gotten into, and what they plan on creating in the near future.
Jacob McKenzie, one of our two original interns who began working for us for MAKE in the fall of 2005, has always said that we’ve pretty much ruined him for life in terms of ever having a cooler job. Nonetheless, Jake left his internship in 2007 to finish his bachelor’s degree at UC Berkeley. He graduated with a 4.0 GPA and a degree in mechanical engineering. During the 2008 winter break, we called him up and asked him to demonstrate a few of our previous projects for the TV show, Quest, which were well-received and a blast to see get filmed in our very own Make: Labs.
Before we’d hired interns specifically for crafting projects, we forced Jake to explore his crafty side by testing the Freezer Paper Stencil project we ran in CRAFT, Volume 02. He was more than reluctant, having an engineer’s fear for creative tasks, but finally agreed to try it out once he found a cool bicycle design for his stencil. It took him 2 or 3 tries, but he finally succeeded and the story came out great. But he never volunteered to do any other craft projects.
Most recently, Jake was accepted at both Stanford and MIT for graduate school. After much thought, he chose MIT, where he’ll begin the next part of his engineering journey this fall. He’s promised to keep in touch, and let us know if he ever finds a cooler job than the one he had here. He remains unconvinced, but his future looks bright to us.
Tune in on Friday, Aug. 7, for the first of many first-person accounts about interning at CRAFTZINE!