Name: Jen Herchenroeder
Home: Baltimore, MD
Makerspace: Baltimore Hackerspace
Day Job: CCBC Digital Fabrication Instructor (Faculty)
Electric Vehicles : Props & Costumes : Visual Art
To specialists staring at their carefully lined spec sheets and clipboards, Jen Herchenroeder doesn’t make any sense. Her feet are firmly planted in both the past and present, hands deeply embedded within digital realms and tactile reality all while her diverse skill set is backed by years of fabrication and science. Non-withstanding her artistic background, she is constantly feeding her engineering obsession, through work in automotive, production art, architecture, and theater.
As a consequence of this range of making, I encountered her work in the form of a Pokemon themed vehicle in the Power Racing Series. It was in this league, after competing for two seasons, that she was able to combine various disciplines into a semi-serious competition. Racing for the team Baltimore Burners, her first vehicle was heavily damaged in the slug fest that was World New York Maker Faire 2015, and after a considerable rebuild with custom parts fabricated at the Hackerspace and Fab Lab Baltimore Jen became a regular in the league:
I’ve loved this series from the moment I was introduced. PRS is a perfect way to learn mechanical principles and fabrication skills while having almost criminal amounts of fun.
Jen’s home maker community is the Baltimore Hackerspace, a 1250-square foot facility that promotes experimentation and creative engineering, and doesn’t mind the occasional explosion as long as everyone learns how not to do that again. When there aren’t pieces of metal in need of welding Jen is also prone to rocking out with the Baltimore Rock Opera Society building sets, props, costume pieces, and epic puppets. Their productions are highly original, and require custom made pieces to highlight their bombastic tunes.
When she is not leaving a wake of projects in her path she co-hosts a local writing and illustration circle known as Write Club. Since 2011 her individual artwork and illustrations have been in exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles, DC, Osaka, and on the walls of her adoptive home town. Jen is the embodiment of a polymath, and she only wishes to see others do the same:
I believe the key is to stay flexible, and be willing to say ‘yes’ to any opportunity. Baltimore today is not an easy place to make a living, but there sure is variety.
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