In telling my friends and family about my audition for MAKE Mag’s TV project, this question has popped up dozens of times. Up ’til now I’ve taken the term for granted. The idea of “making” is kind of implicit, but trying to describe it as a modern-day cultural movement is a completely different story and you realize how young it really is. I think the maker movement as we know it now was really “born” once it was given a name. This article sheds some light on its origins.


I have always been fascinated by joinery (I file it among interests like small containers, locking mechanisms, book-binding and decorative knots). There’s a kind of elegance and sense of nostalgia. I’ve always wished for better exposure to tools and methods.

I love the joints in this article. It’s like the elaborate puzzles of traditional Japanese joinery meets modern-day Ikean practicality and technology. Oh to play with a CNC machine for a day!

Also I got a little excited to see Gregg Fleishman’s chair mentioned in this article. I had the privilege to play around in his gallery in Culver City, CA. He has some really amazing pieces that include furniture like the Nebula II chair, an adult-sized toy car built in similar fashion and kid-sized playhouses next to their scaled miniature prototypes. He didn’t say much but seemed welcoming and let my friend and I play with some modular building toys he had laid out. Every time I pass by his gallery, he has some new creation in his windows.

Looks like I’ve found tonight’s topic of curiosity-fueled research. Let’s start at the original CNC Panel Joinery Notebook here:

Lateral Thinking in Design

When I was a wee monkey in elementary school, my class took a field trip to the California Science Center. I specifically recall an interactive display featuring a metal gate about 4 feet tall as one might find in any old garden or house. It was fitted with a conventional latch that was locked with a conventional padlock. The gate however, did not open conventionally. The exhibit description said the gate could be opened without breaking the lock or the hasp. And open it did by pushing down on the post where it was apparently hinged and rotating it about where it was apparently locked. Those clever bastards at the California Science Center! Aside from contemplating the virtues of lateral thinking, I thought the display was pretty fucking sweet!

Today, while perusing the Makezine blog, I came across this representation of that same kind of misdirection in design:

The concept is simple enough, but it’s executed quite cleanly and yes, it’s pretty fucking sweet!

As for the virtues of lateral thinking, there is ALWAYS more than one way to view a problem, consider an object, live a life; and I think it prudent to consider the most obvious, and at least one of the less obvious possibilities.

As for how lateral thinking relates to design, ever since that day at the California Science Center, I dreamed of a designing a house with trap doors, hidden panels, and one or two secret passageways. For now I must settle for little diddies of misdirection. Should you ever visit my dwelling place wherever it may be, I’d be wary of the unassuming. Also mind the ordered chaos.