Name: Peter Ross
Home (City): New York City
Makerspace: My apartment, specifically, inside my Suitcase of Wonders miniature magic theater. Also, my roll-up desk workspace.
Day Job: Technology/Maker Teacher at an independent grammar school.
How’d you get started making?
About twelve years ago, I wanted to make my own Flea Circus in a suitcase. However, I soon realized that the circus project was too finite, creatively speaking, and what I really wanted was a custom performing space where I could continually come up with new small illusions.
What type of maker would you classify yourself as?
Due to the constraints of a NYC apartment shared with my family, I would say that I’m a maker of small things, most of which are for Smallini, the featured performer in the Suitcase of Wonders. He’s very particular in terms of the kind of material he chooses.
What’s your favorite thing you’ve made?
Without a doubt, it’s the Suitcase of Wonders. I’m proud of the theater’s design, aesthetics and functionality. It has wooden dollhouse flooring, hand-sewn curtains, side drawers with brass knobs, speakers with vintage radio grille cloth, working footlights, and other little secret details. The theater’s components can also be stored within the suitcase for travelling. What I love most about the Suitcase of Wonders though, is that it continues to be a source of inspiration for me to make and perform new tricks on its stage.
What’s something you’d like to make next?
Well, something I’ve just finished that I’m happy with are a series of giveaway luggage tags stamped with a custom design. I love stamping the tags. Stamping is such a great maker thing to do. There are also several miniature magic illusions in development that Smallini talks about in his diary online. Some of those tricks are being made from scratch (like my Vanishing Elephant), that is a modification of an existing magic principle.
Any advice for people reading this?
It is so satisfying to make something, whether for functionality, art or both. I think it’s important to flex that muscle once in awhile, even if it begins and ends with a drawing on paper, or hastily taped together pieces of whatever is lying around.
Are you going to any upcoming Maker Faires?
I try to go to the New York Maker Faire every year. Who wouldn’t?
Who else should we profile?
Mario The Maker Magician. You’ve already profiled him, but he’s worth mentioning again!
John Casey, one of the last stamp-makers in the country. He still cuts them the old fashioned way.
Where can people find you on the web?
You can follow Smallini’s musings at www.suitcaseofwonders.nyc.
We highlight different makers from our broad community to show you the faces and stories behind the projects. Meet all the amazing people featured in Maker Spotlight. Want to nominate someone, maybe even yourself? Send a note with your responses to the bolded prompts above to [email protected].