I’m into geometry, embroidery, electronics, and bright colours. And I really like where those things intersect.
You can read more stuff about me on my website
A brief history of Jessica#
I’m from Ireland (specifically Dublin / Wicklow) but now live in Amsterdam. I’m a long-time nerd (my mum took me to see a steam train in real life when I was 4, and I cried tears of joy) who is big into sci-fi and reads maths pages on Wikipedia for fun. I’ve dabbled in crafts (embroidery, sewing) as well as electronics (including a lot of Arduino projects), and tend to overuse parentheses (in case you hadn’t noticed already).
Where I’ve studied#
- 2004-2008: BA Theoretical Physics, Trinity College Dublin
- 2009-2011: MSc Experimental Physics, Utrecht University
- 2018-2019: Fabricademy (ノ ◑‿◑)ノ
Places I’ve worked#
- 2017-2018: Learning Project Manager at Makerversity Amsterdam, a co-working and co-making space for professional makers
- 2015-2017: Coordinator and Workshop Facilitator at MAKESHOP, an open shop and workshop space for electronics and crafts, run by Science Gallery Dublin
- Various periods from 2008-2017: Researcher and other things at Science Gallery Dublin, an art + science space exploring the space where ideas meet
Things I’ve made#
For the last couple of years I’ve been working in maker education and dabbling in embroidery and e-textiles in my free time. Here are some of the few things I’ve managed to finish in that time:
- Top Left: I got really into spirolateral geometry a couple of years ago, and embroidered a few patterns with the help of a ruler and a protractor.
- Top Right: Solar Sound System was an interactive piece I made in 2015. It’s a playable map of the solar system - the white circles represent the sun and the planets, and when touched they light up with a colour, and play a sound. The sounds and colours were scaled to the distance between the planets, e.g. the sun plays a very low tone and lights up red, whereas Neptune is a high pitched tone, and lights up violet. The idea was to demonstrate through sound and colour how vast the distances between the planets are…but it would have been useful if I’d made a video of this project :) I used a Bare Conductive Touch Board, conductive paint, conductive thread, addressable RGB LEDs, assorted fabric, and an old picture frame to make this.
- Bottom Left: E-textile constellations - a demo for a workshop I ran at Edinburgh Mini Maker Faire, where I taught participants how to sew circuits with conductive thread and LEDs.
- Bottom Right: A birthday present for a dear friend whose favourite word is ‘cunt’. I really like traditional emboidery and am looking forward to learning how to use a digital embroidery machine!
Workshops I’ve run#
- Top Left: “Pimp your tote bag”, a workshop for Science Gallery Dublin’s career event “WERK”. We gave out tote bags to all the teenagers participating in the event, and in between careers talks I helped them add LEDs to their bags, using conductive thread.
- Top Right: A “Cardboard Robots” workshop I ran with a great group of teens, where they were given recycled materials (straws, tinfoil, cardboard, yarn) and an assortment of electronic components (motors, LEDs, batteries) and tasked with designing some sort of robot.
- Bottom Left: I’ve run a lot of workshops using Makey Makey, the invention kit that allows you to turn anything into a keyboard. This one was a group project where young people made interactive posters (a DJ deck, in this case) using copper tape, graphite, and other conductive materials.
I’ve taught many many people how to solder, and run lots of artbot workshops with kids. I sometimes miss working with kids - like Jason, a 9 year old who claimed to be from ‘a parallel dimension, in a folded up pocket of space time’.
I’m a big believer in the importance of using informal science/design/tech learning to get young people into science and technology, particularly kids who don’t think they’re ‘smart enough’ or don’t think technical subjects are for them. I had the good fortune to be born into a family where my mum told me I could do whatever I wanted, and follow my interests, but a lot of people aren’t so lucky.