5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Things About Jon Sarriugarte

jon and kyrsten

Oakland-based artist, blacksmith, and fabricator Jon Sarriugarte and his wife and creative partner Kyrsten Mate have been bringing their incredible vehicles and installations to Maker Faire Bay Area since the very first one in 2006. That first year, they brought their SS Alpha Fox art car and their then-toddler daughter Zolie (Jon and Kyrsten had homemade hoodies that said “Maker” on the back and little Zolie’s said “Made”). In subsequent years, they’ve brought the Traveling Wonders Of the Boiler Bar, the Golden Mean snail car, and the amazing twin Serpent Twins (all shown below). The Serpent Twins are back at this year’s Maker Faire Bay Area, taking place this weekend, May 18 and 19, at the San Mateo Fairgrounds. Recently, Jon has also designed a beautiful set of 11 light fixtures for Restoration Hardware.

One project you’re particularly proud of:
1. The Serpent Twins. I have learn much on this project and it has stretched my abilities at every turn.


Two past mistakes you’ve learned the most from:
1. Thinking I can do something in the time I think it will take. Counting on the fact that it will take twice as long and cost four times as much is now my normal assumption.

2. Making decisions when I’m tired. I try to outline my days work early, when I can think best, then go into the zen of the work the rest of the day/night and know it’s time to quit if big decisions come up late.

golden mean

Three new ideas that have excited you most lately:
1. Solar systems to cut out the grid.

2. LED lighting as an easy way to reduce electrical use and light an environment.

3. Open sourced programming making it easy to program things together.


Four tools you can’t live without:
1. 4 1/2″ Dewalt angle grinder with a 1/16″ cut-off wheel. New cordless ones are really cool.

2. Code Blue 8″ adjustable wrench by Channellock, made in Spain. Carry it everywhere.

3. Leatherman Charge.

4. My favorite sheet metal hammer.

Wow, I don’t think I could give up the thousands of other tools now.

jon sarriugarte

Five people/things that have inspired your work:
1. Mark Pauline, founder of SRL. Mark taught me to talk to authority figures ad nauseum until they get bored and walk away.

2. La Machine. Love the theater they add to the machines.

3. The internet. I told my dad in 1981 when we got our first IBM 5150 that someday we will all have a library in our homes. We do now and I use it every day to do research and connect with other like-minded people.

4. WW2. The ingenuity created out of necessity, and a time when the government funded without question really off-the-wall projects that have changed our world. SRL shows remind me of what it must have been like to work on one of those team projects.

5. My family. My wife Kyrsten Mate, who has brought balance and light to the industrial dark, rusty, oily, and in-your-face art I used to do. She has made my/our work somewhat more approachable and friendly. And my daughter Zolie Mae, who makes me understand life.


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I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at snowgoli@gmail.com or via @snowgoli.

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