I'm Chris Betten, art director by trade and maker at heart, with a passion for paper art. A little over a year ago I moved to Vancouver from my native Oslo, Norway to breathe some new air and walk down some new streets. It was a great decision, but an unfortunate side effect of it was that I moved away from all of my tools, and my apartment where I had a tiny little studio to myself.
Realizing how much creating things was a part of my personality, I started gravitating towards companies and people who dabble in making wonderful things. These people told me about the Tools for Women residency, and I immediately applied. Maybe this could be my maker-home away from home?
After the introductory Woodshop 101, I knew I was in the right place. I might be terrified by the table saw and confused by the CNC, but I feel like MakerLabs is a safe place where I can get over these hurdles, surrounded by inspiring, talented and helpful women. And I love the lathe.
We had an amazing lathe workshop with Ken, where we were making honey dippers. I was the only one in our group who couldn't finish the project - in fact, everyone else finished theirs (and they were beautiful!), and I somehow managed to break, chip or straight up explode no less than all FOUR of my attempts. I struggle with failure, and even though it is a natural part of the learning process, I still can't stand it. Being in a safe and supporting group made it easier to accept, and two days later I returned to make a candle holder on the lathe - this time without breaking anything. What a great feeling! This is exactly the kind of thing I'm hoping to get out of the rest of the residency.Trial, error, learning and the exhilarating feeling of getting something right in the end .
As for projects I want to make, I don't have a grand plan just yet, but the lathe and the laser cutter have been my favourite tools so far, and I can't wait to explore them more. I'm sure there will be more failures along the way, but the residency - and the patient and encouraging teachers! - has given me the courage to at least give it a go and see what happens. Onwards and upwards!