Potter’s Lawnmower Wheel maker interview

Potter’s Lawnmower Wheel maker interview

The last in our interview series with makers presenting at World Maker Faire New York this weekend is with Michael Owen, who is bringing his Potter’s Lawnmower Wheel. Necessity is the mother of invention, and as a potter, Michael created a tool he needed out of what he had access to. Here’s what he shared with us.

1. Tell us about the project(s) you’re bringing to Maker Faire.
I’m a potter who needs more equipment. I’ve used every type of wheel made and feel that the type I’m making is the best. Unfortunately these things go for a couple thousand bucks each. Mine is made from an old riding lawnmower deck. Still under construction so the value is still to be determined.

2. How did you hear about Maker Faire and why did you decide to participate?
I ran across the magazine a few years back and my bud Nick Normal invited me to get into this NYC event.

3. Tell us about yourself. How did you get started making things and who are your inspirations?
I’ve been making things since early childhood. Always around tools, so I guess I’d have to say my dad was my big inspiration.

4. Is your project strictly a hobby or a budding business? Does it relate to your day job?
I hope it’s a budding business. I’m trying to build up a community studio. I was involved in one when I lived on Maui back in the early 90s and found that clay was a natural for sharing tools and ideas.

5. What new idea (in or outside of your field) has excited you most recently?
I’m very interested in algae farming for biofuel production and ocean restoration technologies. Water purification is the other big one.

6. What is your motto?
Focus on excellence, and life will have meaning.

7. What advice would you give to the young makers out there just getting started?
Hang around with people who have the skills or tools you lack. Give your knowledge away; forget about getting rich.

8. What do you love most about NYC?
So many great people from outside the U.S.

Thanks Michael! Folks in the New York area, come out to the World Maker Faire tomorrow and Sunday at the New York Hall of Science and check out the hundreds of inspiring handmade projects on display.

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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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