Maker Spotlight: Julia Dvorin

Art & Sculpture Craft & Design
Maker Spotlight: Julia Dvorin

Name: Julia Dvorin
Home: San Rafael, California
Day Job: Writer, artist, and mom.

Website | Facebook

How did you get started making?

I am the child of an artist (sculptural basketmaker Emily Dvorin) and I have been encouraged to express myself artistically all my life.

What type of maker would you classify yourself as?

An artistic maker. The kind who likes to use art and craft materials to make people think about who they are.

What’s your favorite thing you’ve made?

I’m pretty proud of my “(Inner) Freak Show Booth” that I made as part of a larger interactive carnival art installation for Pink Heart Camp at Burning Man 2015. Pictures and a description can be found on the FYFFH blog or on the FYFFH Facebook page.

The (Inner) Freak Show Booth was a 12 foot high, 5 foot wide and 5 foot deep structure with a wood frame and plywood walls. The walls went up 8 feet, and above that was a raw wood frame around a 4 foot high and 5 foot wide cube of space. In the center of that cube of space was hung an awesome heart sculpture that my mom, Emily Dvorin, made from metal screening covered with silver mylar and punctured by approximately 2000 hot pink cable ties, each of which was 18” long so that the heart looked like it was pouring love out in every direction. Hung from the bottom of the heart there was a disco ball and at night the heart was lit by two pink spots clipped to the tops of the walls.

See Julia At The Bay Area Maker Faire

On the outside of the booth, you could see three walls painted like giant circus posters in pink, fuschia, white, and black, with sayings like “prepare to be amazed,” “weirdest in the world,” “you won’t believe your eyes,” and so on. The front of the booth was an entryway hung with black curtains and framed by narrow wooden sides. The top was painted with pink and black stripes. There was also a painted banner reading “FREAK SHOW” above the door, and a big wooden cut out pink heart with a mirrored star in the middle that floated above the banner between the words “freak” and “show.”

That’s what it looked like from the outside. What you found when you entered the booth was something different. The inside walls were painted black. Right in front of you as you walked in (on the back wall) there was a big framed square mirror that said “WHAT KIND OF FREAK ARE YOU?” in silver letters around the frame, and that big mirror was surrounded by several dozen square and round mirrors hung all around it up and down the wall. The right and left sides of the booth each had 3 foot-high strips of silver reflective mylar stapled horizontally one above the other, with several inches of space in between. In the spaces in between the mirrors there were inspirational sayings in silver lettering. On the left of the booth it said “FREAKS CAN CHANGE THE WORLD/JUST BY BEING OURSELVES”, and on the right side of the booth it said “FLY YOUR FREAK FLAG HIGH/WE GOTTA BE FREAKY TOGETHER”. On the back wall it said all kinds of things, like “LOOK HOW BEAUTIFUL YOU ARE,” “BE YOUR WHOLE SELF,” “YOU ARE AMAZING,” “LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE,” “WHO ARE YOU REALLY?,” “BRING YOUR INSIDE OUTSIDE,” “RECLAIM YOUR SHAME,” “NO JUDGEMENT, ONLY LOVE,” “SPEAK YOUR FREAK,” “IMAGINE YOURSELF BIG,” and more.

There were long strands of little circular mirrors hung in the corners of the booth, and silver holographic spirals stapled to the top and middle support beams that ran horizontally around the inside. Stapled to the right and left sides of the booth were an explanation of the project and a list of “what kind of freak are you” questions. Attached to the right wall with a white ribbon was a notebook and a pink sharpie pen. The notebook had pink and fuschia hearts on the cover and said in black carnival-looking font, “WHAT KIND OF FREAK ARE YOU?” and visitors to the booth put all kinds of answers in there. They ranged from silly (“goddamn enviro liberal fern-feelin’, tree-huggin’, yogurt-suckin’, granola-eatin’ FREAK”) to serious (“I’m obsessed with food. Any kind. A lot. All the time”).

Also inside the booth was a six-inch high pink wooden platform with a big fuschia heart painted on top, so that you could step up and “be the freak show.” In the corner next to the door there was a pink and black metal vase filled with blank freak flags that people were encouraged to take and decorate if they wanted. There were pens in a pink bin located at the Pink Heart Camp across the Esplanade.

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

I want to bring an installation of large fabric freak flags to Burning Man 2018.

Any advice for people reading this?

My advice is the name of this project: Fly Your Freak Flag High. Why, you ask? Let me share with you the Freak Flag Manifesto:
1) Freaks are, by definition, different.
2) Different is good.
3) “Freak” should be a compliment, not an insult.
4) Everyone is a freak in some way, in some place, to someone. “Normal” is a myth. Diversity is strength.
5) We all need to discover, honor and celebrate our freaky bits by “flying our freak flags high.”
6) We are each more happy and successful when we embody ALL that we are.
7) If you “speak your freak,” you can release and heal from shame, embarrassment, or fear of social disapproval and be more active, powerful, and effective in the world.
8) We gotta be freaky together: the more we see each others’ freaky proclamations, the more we’ll find powerful, meaningful connections and alliances–some familiar, some potentially new and surprising.
9) If we can fully appreciate our own selves, we can also appreciate others; and once we can appreciate others, we can start working together in an honest and powerful way to build the kind of world and the kind of future we all want to live in.
10) Freaks can change the world just by being themselves.

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I get ridiculously excited seeing people make things. I just want to revel in the creativity I see in makers. My favorite thing in the world is sharing a maker's story. You can find me on twitter at @calebkraft and on youtube

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