Maker Spotlight: Jason Childress

Art & Sculpture Craft & Design Woodworking Workshop
Maker Spotlight: Jason Childress

Name: Jason Childress

Home: Bellevue, WA

Makerspace: My garage and basement. I would like to join a local Seattle Makerspace one day.

Day Job: Game Developer at Amazon

How’d you get started making?

I’ve always been the type who wants to tinker with and (hopefully) improve everything I touch. MacGyver was my favorite show growing up, and it always inspired me to build things and look at them differently. In my 20’s I started woodworking, and built furniture and smaller projects like cutting boards, decorative boxes, and other functional items to improve my workshop and home. I’ve always been a technology and gadget lover and in recent years have been merging woodworking and coding with my newly discovered love of electronics and 3D printing. I have so many ideas rolling around in my head that eventually I’ll investigate how to kickstart one of them.

What type of maker would you classify yourself as?

Extreme perfectionist that doesn’t know scope control. ☺ This usually leads to the creation of projects that take 4x longer than expected. I have high standards for the overall quality of the things I make, and although that can be taxing on a project’s schedule or budget, I’m almost always happy that I went the extra mile (or 10).

What’s your favorite thing you’ve made?

I’m very proud of the pair of matching 10 person poker tables I made for a friend’s game room. I spent a lot of time on the fit and finish of both tables, and I was able to achieve the professional quality that I’m always striving for. They were a big hit with my friends and have been serving game night for many years now. Currently, I’m finishing up a Lumbercade project and I’m sure that will be my favorite project. I may have learned so many new things and expanded my “maker” skill set since I started, but if I can actually complete the Lumbercade and capture my original vision, it will be a great achievement for me.

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

I have so many ideas at the moment so I’m not sure which one I’ll start next. I’d love to automate my entire house with some homemade smart upgrades; add more smart lights, add some smart door locks, garage door opener, etc. I know I could just buy devices for all of those, but where’s the fun in that? I’d rather make my own and learn from doing so. What I *really* need to work on next, is to build a website for my wife’s budding jewelry business. That’s been on my honey-to-do list for a while.

Any advice for people reading this?

<inspirational_poster_quote> Try, and then try again </inspirational_poster_quote>

Never let a lack of knowledge or a specific skill set hold you back from making something that inspires you. There is so much knowledge out in the wild, and most of it is completely free. With enough determination, anybody can teach themselves anything. There is usually a community for just about anything you want to learn, with people willing and eager to share their knowledge. Find that community and learn from them. Keep trying, keep making mistakes, and keep learning and eventually you’ll achieve your goal.

The Lumbercade

Are you going to any upcoming Maker Faires?

I’ll be at the Seattle Mini Maker Faire showing off the current progress on my Lumbercade project.

Who else should we profile?

My wife, Christine Childress. She’s been making handmade jewelry for many years now and is just starting to ramp up a small business. Her meticulous process and perfectionist attitude (just like me) results in truly one-of-a-kind products that are as beautiful as they are unique. I’m sure she would love to talk about her process and share some knowledge about her medium. Check out her Etsy shop.

Where can people find you on the web?

Unfortunately, I don’t have an online presence. Maybe I should change that and start a blog that documents my future projects and life as a dad. We’ll see.

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Sophia is the managing editor of the Make: blog. When she’s not greasing editorial gears, she likes to run, ride, climb, and lift things, and make lo-tech goods like zines, desserts, and altered clothing. @sophiuhcamille

View more articles by Sophia Smith
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