Making Room for Carrie

I first met Carrie Motamedi making over her boys' room for Fresh Coat. Hers was the final of 39 episodes, and though the crew and I were exhausted, Carrie kept us going with her sharp wit, hilarious stories, and contagious smile. So, I was thrilled that she called to tell me about her latest venture at TechShop, a place where artists and craftsmen can pay a monthly membership for use of this massive space full of classes and equipment where Creatives and Makers can explore their passions and expand their horizons.

Carrie recently returned to her career after taking a year off from the hi-tech arena. She now works part-time at TechShop as Director of Marketing. She asked me to talk at TechShop during SFDesign Week next week, I had to turn the tables on her first and learn more about this cool move. Here's what she had to say:

SK: How did you get involved with TechShop? What are you doing for them?

CM: At Sun Microsystems, I project managed a book, "Citizen Engineer" co-authored by Sun executives at the time Greg Papadopoulos and David Douglas. A former SunLabs employee was working at TechShop and suggested it would be a great place for our book release party. Everyone who attended the party toured the facility, met many of the members and saw some impressive projects. Once I was exposed to that creative community, I was hooked.

At TechShop, I mainly handle press outreach which keeps me busy. We have great stories to tell about our members. They range in backgrounds and experiences and are making everything from jewelery, furniture, and ipad cases to other products like soil analyzers and infant warmers that are saving lives and changing the world! My job is to get their stories out there to inspire others to come in. I also help with some of the events like Open Houses where we invite the public to be inspired by our staff, members, and key makers in the community - like you, Shannon.

SK: Why the change?

CM: I have always worked with engineers- they're the ultimate makers. I love being in environments where people are curious and always asking, "How can we do that better?" or "What if?". Makers also understand the importance of making mistakes in the process. And TechShop is the perfect place for these motivated and cool geeks, but also a place for new and first-time makers to try something new in this approachable and supportive community.

SK: Was it a difficult decision or did you jump right in?

CM: I decided, first, to take a year off from my career to be with my boys who were 5 and 7 at the time; I coached Little League, joined the PTA board and got more involved with my local community.

It reinforced the importance of community to me. I saw TechShop fostering an equally important community impact. It was a place I wanted my family and local community to know about. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to be part of the magic that TechShop is creating. So, I started working part-time and will likely go full time in the Fall. It doesn't feel like work, so I know it's right. Now my husband has a membership and the kids love coming in for events- they collect nuts and bolts and whatever metal scraps they can find. My next birthday party will likely be a

group chocolate etching event on our laser.

SK: Switching gears - your  home is full of color. Your living room is bold red, dining room a golden glaze... why choose color when so many people are afraid to try?

CM: Thanks. Shannon, you'll be happy to know that we improved the finish of the gold based on your suggestions to blend the sponge work. We love it. When we moved in, the house was 7  shades of white! My husband and I have French blood (him more than me), and the time we have spent in France taking in the colorful country side- the yellow and terra cotta buildings and blue shutters always caught our eye. We love to entertain and want our house to feel warm and inviting and inspire conversation. Our house is also Spanish/Mediterranean so bright colors also seem to work.

SK: Do you have a favorite room or area in your house? What makes it a good spot?

CM: We spend a lot of time in the dining room and kitchen because we like to cook and have big meals with friends. The kitchen is the one room in the house that we completely renovated so it reflects our taste  more than any other space in the house. Neither room is very large but we all squeeze in and pour the crepe batter for our friends :-)

SK: Do you have any projects that you're excited about?

[caption id="attachment_871" align="alignright" width="300" caption="I gained a few skills and re-cycled our corks- that's a win win"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_872" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Are you seeing the wine theme here?"][/caption]

CM: TechShop has absolutely inspired me to be more creative. Once I started working there I did these small projects. I want to add color to a few more white rooms in the house. I know you like white in bathrooms, Shannon, but I think my boys need some sea blue around them while they soak off the mud in the tub.

SK: You've always said you're not creative, but with  the support of the shop you're already embracing your inner Maker! Ok, we have to take a class at TechShop together. You pick it and I'll be there!

CM: I'd love to learn silk screen printing, but I have a feeling you may already know how -- how about metal spinning on the wood lathe so you can make some metal accents when you need them and I can make some bowls for guacamole this summer?

SK: Ok, you heard it here! Carrie and I will be taking Metal Spinning class together to form guacamole bowls for Summer- that's so blog worthy . Thanks, Carrie!

Techshop is taking part in SFDesign Week which runs from June 13th to 19th. Catch me there on Tuesday, the 14th at 7pm. Check out Techshop's site for classes and events, or just go there- you'll be hooked too.

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