Natasha Dzurny loves making cool stuff and wants to teach you how to do it to! Create a unique unicorn horn in her upcoming Make A Light Up Unicorn Headband class on October 21st! SIGN UP NOW – ticket sales end Wednesday, October 14th @ 9am ET – to get your unicorn materials in time and get a SPECIAL SPOOKY DISCOUNT (and dozens of creepy projects and ghoulish builds) with the Make: Halloween Special Edition 2-pack with your registration!
Where are you located?
Jersey City, NJ
What is your day job?
That’s a good question. I used to teach in-school and after-school workshops at schools and libraries. With recent events, I’m reinventing my “day job” and doing more gigs creating online content, writing tutorials, and building bigger projects. Some of my favorite work has been some example projects for Brown Dog Gadgets. I also create my own tech-craft kits under my brand TechnoChic and I’ve been working on plans to offer my projects digitally in lieu of in-person events. I’m actually having a lot of fun with it, and I’m excited to keep growing in that direction.
Do you attend a makerspace/fablab/hackerspace?
In Jersey City, we have been laying the groundwork to open a MakerSpace for several years, and ( I don’t want to jinx it but…) we are getting closer to making that a reality in 2021! *fingers crossed!*
What kinds of stuff do you make?
I love combining traditional crafts and technology. I go to the craft store and think – how can I make this simple craft more epic or more interesting? I especially like using simple materials like paper and cardboard because there is so much that you can do with it without any fancy machinery.
How did you get started making stuff?
Like many young girls, I started making crafts as early as I can remember. My favorite things to make were stuffed animals – I would start with a flat piece of fabric and turn it into an awesome 3D toy. I always say that learning to sew plush at a young age led to my ability to think spatially and excel in physics and geometry. In addition, my parents owned a computer store so I was a very tech-savvy kid, downloading software to edit my own videos and music mixes. In high school, I even authored DVDs with video edits of my friends and me and passed them out like some sort of real-life YouTube.
In college, I started taking apart electronics and using the circuit boards to create jewelry to sell on Etsy. This led to my interest in how the electronics worked and wanting to create my own. I eventually went to ITP at NYU which is a program that combines design and technology and I’ve been creating projects that combine the two ever since.
What is something you’d like to work with but you haven’t yet?
I’ve only done a few things with Raspberry Pi in the past, and I just got the new Raspberry Pi 4 – I’m looking forward to getting back into it and seeing what’s new!
What is something that you’ve made that you’re really proud of?
I recently added NeoPixels and a boom box to my bike to make it into a light-up party bike! It’s a project that I’ve wanted to do for years for my bicycle club’s nighttime rides (shout out to BikeJC!). The bike is still a work in progress, and I’ve been using it to learn more about programming with Arduino and working with audio visualizations.
What is next on your project list?
I’m working on recreating Lady Gaga’s LED mask and costume from the 2020 VMA’s for Halloween. I have so much respect for Lady Gaga and I love that she used her influence to stay “masked up” during the VMAs – she’s such a great role model. I’m excited to be her for Halloween! Follow me on instagram for updates.
Are you going to show off at a maker faire in the near future? If so, which one?
I’ll be showing the NeoPixel bike at the Empire State Maker Faire coming up October 16th & 17th!
Any advice for people reading this?
Don’t become what other people expect you to be if that’s not who you are. I think it’s especially true for women who enjoy STEM subjects, but it applies to everyone. I struggle with this often myself!