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  • Writer's pictureNikki Barnard

Crafting Her Legacy: A Spotlight on Cynthia for Women's History Month

In honor of Women's History Month, it's time to celebrate the vibrant and innovative spirit of female creators shaping the landscape of maker culture. Within the bustling workshops and collaborative spaces of our local maker community, a cadre of talented women are leaving their indelible mark on the world of craftsmanship and creativity. From woodwork to electronics, textile art to digital fabrication, these female makers are breaking barriers, challenging stereotypes, and inspiring the next generation with their ingenuity and passion. Join us on a journey as we shine a spotlight on the remarkable contributions of women within our Maker Space, where every project is not just an expression of skill, but also a testament to the power of diversity and inclusion in the pursuit of innovation.

Central to the vibrant tapestry of our Maker Space community stands Cynthia, whose journey into the world of making began at a tender age, guided by the gentle hands of her grandma. It was her grandmother's wisdom that first introduced her to the art of knitting, a craft initially embraced to keep Cynthia occupied. Little did she know then that this seemingly simple pastime would ignite a lifelong passion for creation and craftsmanship. Today, Cynthia's passion for creating has expanded to include many other mediums, serving as a testament to the enduring legacy of familial mentorship and the transformative power of hands-on creativity.

What initially sparked your interest in becoming a maker, and how has that passion evolved over time? 

I originally started very young, my grandma taught me how to knit because I was constantly fidgeting and it gave me something to do that had me sitting still. I never stopped knitting, but I moved to crocheting, 3d printing, woodworking and sewing (the last two I'm still learning).

Cynthia's First Woodworking Project

Can you tell me about a project that you're particularly proud of and walk me through your process from concept to completion? 

I am a huge Harry Potter fan, and I recently knitted a scarf with the dark mark on it in an illusion style. I modified the pattern a bit, because as written the pattern was incorrect. It took a lot of trial and error to get the pattern correct. I am guessing there must have been some transcription errors in the original pattern, but I got it figured out. I started with darker colors, because the dark mark in the series is a dark, ominous symbol. I chose smaller needles, size 7, because I wanted the smaller knit gauge as it tends to show illusion better. I added fringe at the top and at the bottom because I like a scarf with fringe. My sister wants me to make her one in pink/purple. I'm not sure that the series' users of the dark mark would agree, but oh well.

Which mediums or materials do you enjoy working with the most? 

I still enjoy knitting the most, because it has a sentimental place in my heart. My grandma preferred crocheting, but I would sit and knit with her while we watched cartoons, and then as I was older and in college, Investigation Discovery. Those are some of my fondest memories. And with knitting, if you mess up measurements or gauges, it is fairly easy to undo and redo. Sometimes I leave little mistakes in my piece, because my grandma taught me to never make anything perfect or it would be stolen by the fairies. I think that is an old knitting superstition.

How do you stay inspired and keep your creativity flowing? 

I avidly peruse Pinterest and Etsy. It is one of my guilty pleasures.

Have you turned your passion for making into a business? If so, what are some of the biggest lessons you have learned along the way? 

I haven't turned my passion into a business, but I have learned that sharing my passion and inspiring others to pursue something they may have not otherwise is very rewarding in and of itself.

What role do you believe female makers play in today's society , and how do you see your work contributing to that? 

Female makers have always been a part of history. A woman wrote the first computer program. Women put us on the moon. I believe that in the future women will be pushing humanity into the future, from science to mathematics to engineering and architecture. I'm a scientist in my day job, and a lot of what I do is research. We use the same principles of building and coding in my job, and I work in the pharmaceutical industry. What I do has a direct effect on human health.

What advice would you give to aspiring makers who are just starting their journey? 

Don't be afraid of failure. If you're embarking on a new hobby you're unfamiliar with, you will make mistakes. A person who doesn't make mistakes is a person who isn't learning.

Cynthia's Failed Attempt at Homemade Corn Dogs

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