Kami runs Austin Tinkering School. After running a preschool as well as teaching art, science, nature, and carpentry classes, she saw Gever Tulley’s TED talk, 5 Dangerous Things (you should let your children do) and realized that Austin needed a tinkering school, stat. Gever Tulley came to visit Austin and he agreed. Now she, also, has had the pleasure of putting power tools in the hands of second graders, and has loved every minute of it.
Amber Kaiser is from San Diego, CA and recently came to Austin to explore her love for art expression in a deeper way. She has a degree in Psychology and many years of experience in expressing, producing, selling, exploring, learning, and teaching various art mediums. Her favorites are jewelry and art journaling (mainly mixed media with paint and collage). The last 7 years have been working in non-profit and now it’s time to make a change and put on her painting clothes on a more regular basis. On her free time she loves to cook, hike, sing, explore new places, and enjoy time with her boyfriend and friends.
Cheraya Esters grew up building stick homes for crickets and caterpillars and now spends her time creating tangible evidence of dreams. With a degree in Fine Art Sculpture and years of experience as a welder/fabricator and carpenter her creations flow between functionality and magical surprise.
Elena has been a tile maker for 25+ years. She also likes to mess around with paper and concrete and fabric.
Greg Wenderski is the middle school science teacher at the Khabele School in downtown Austin. He is also a prolific maker, and has built catapults, crossbows, fighting robots, and child-sized tandem bicycles with his students. Once when his students studied the ancient Greeks and were fascinated by metallurgy, he built a casting forge and began casting aluminum swords with them. Inspired by biking thousands of miles as a bicycle tourist, he also loves to build unique human powered machines of all sorts. One of his Tinkering School projects, a paddle boat made of recycled materials, is featured on Instructables.com
Jerome nurtured his creative video talents during his undergraduate years at the University of Florida, where he received a Bachelors of Science in Telecommunications Production in 2011. While there, he wrote and directed several short narratives and a webseries. In 2011 he redirected his efforts towards interactive design, pursuing a Masters of Arts Degree in New Media Studio at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, TN. Here he studied the process of game design, eventually creating the pseudoholographic interactive art installation, “The HiFi God.” Following graduation, Jerome moved to Austin to seek out fellow creative collaborators, and to continue developing interactive pseudoholographic displays for art installations and stage design. He understands that great technology and interactivity emerges from collaborative efforts, and today’s great content creating technology is easier than ever to access. So he is excited to see what students build collaboratively and individually with new media tools in their hands.
With a degree in Woodcarving and Gilding from City and Guilds of London Art School, Kat is a trained woodworker and sculptor. She recently opened an art and nature-based preschool named Community Mud. Kat was the previous art teacher at Austin Discovery School, where she managed a choice-based art education program that empowered children to make choices as student artists. She collaborated with the Austin Tinkering School in 2014 to provide her students with a nerdy derby project and fell in love with tinkering! Artists such as Anish Kapoor, Andy Goldsworthy, and Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam (amazing hand-knitted playgrounds) inspire her creative work and teaching.
Matt grew up with his dad’s tools and a shop in the basement. His professional life has been roughly split between building stuff as a carpenter and building stuff as a web monkey (as in ‘the interwebs’). His special project at Austin Tinkering School is the Music Studio.
Sean Moran is an Austinite of 6 years, originally from Galveston, Texas. He’s a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a BA in Theatre and Dance. Since graduating, he’s worked to blend his passion for acting with his love of teaching. An Eagle Scout, Sean is an experienced leader of day camps, backpacking trips, and canoe treks. He’s excited to add tinkering school to the list.