Name: Amanda Preske

Location: Rochester, NY and Capitol Heights, MD

Day Job: Artist

How did you get started making?

I was always the kid with a crayon in my hand. When I was old enough to be trusted with sharp objects and electricity, I made all sorts of projects and experimented as much as possible. My mother was a sewist and my father had a woodshop so it was just a matter of time! It wasn’t until my aunt gave me a box filled with tiny, colorful seed beads that I became enamored with jewelry making. I scoured library books and magazines to learn as many techniques as I could.

My educational background is in chemistry, which is a very maker-centered branch of natural science. My graduate work was in inorganic synthesis, so that really spoke to my innate need to create things.

Now, my aim is to create items that combine art, tech, and science.

What type of maker would you classify yourself as?

I am a jewelry artist. My mediums of choice are broken electronics and epoxy resin.

What’s your favorite thing you’ve made?

When I first started working with circuit boards, I knew green and yellow were prominent but quickly discovered a much wider range of solder mask and silkscreen colors. Orange was the very last color I needed to make a whole rainbow. So of course, I made a rainbow necklace that incorporates red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet circuit boards.

What’s something you’d like to make next?

I received my Glowforge very recently, so I’ve been itching to make some science-inspired items. I cannot cut circuit board with it, but I can do a lot of other things! I’m fascinated by crystal structures so I’m really hoping I’ll finally be able to create something that combines my science background with my maker tendencies.

Any advice for people reading this?

I’ve turned my jewelry-making skills into a business. If you’re looking to create a business from things you make, don’t be afraid to share them with the world, or a Maker Faire. It’s the best way to receive validation as well as constructive criticism.

Also, be willing to push the boundaries of your craft. Don’t write anything off until you’ve tried it. I can’t imagine there are many people that use a CNC mill to cut through used circuit boards, but I developed a way to make it work!

How many Maker Faires have you attended? Which ones?

I’ve been to nearly 20 Maker Faires. I’ve exhibited at my hometown Maker Faire (Rochester, NY) and traveled to San Mateo, Pittsburgh, New York City, Detroit, Orlando, Washington, D.C., and Milwaukee to show my work. I’m in the middle of a move to the Washington, D.C. area and will be seeking out faires in that region to attend.

Are you going to any upcoming Maker Faire events?

I’ll be at the NOVA Maker Faire in March and have my fingers crossed for the Bay Area Maker Faire in May. The others are later in the year, but I like driving to Detroit, NYC, and Pittsburgh and hope to be at those again this year.

Where can people find you on the web?

My work is available on my website, and I also have an Etsy shop. If social media is your jam, you can find me on Facebook and Instagram.