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.
Vera is a painter and a budding tinkerer. She taught kids ceramics, painting, drawing, and collage making both in her hometown in Indiana and in Philadelphia for years. Vera looks forward to teaching art to Austin's tinkerers!
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.
Oren is a veritable veteran of Austin Tinkering School. Born and raised in the wilds of Montana, not allowed access to father's workshop as a child, spends majority of time tinkering or sailing. Habits include: sailing, tinkering.
Olivia grew up in the wilds of Alaska. No, she did not live in an igloo, though she did have a pet polar bear. Her love of woodworking and tinkering was fostered in the Alaskan forest—building tree forts, bows and walking sticks. Olivia’s mother also influenced her love of tinkering by permitting her children to use her compound miter saw and drills to build projects like bike ramps, catapults and a very leaky kayak. This love of building followed her through her time at The University of Texas at Austin earning both a BA in Theatre & Dance and a job at the Texas Performing Arts Scenic Studio crafting elaborate sets.
Matt loves everything!
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.
Johnny Villarreal is a collaborator, visual artist, technologist, designer and educator. His multimedia background combined with his vast community art education experience has enabled him to connect people of various interests and abilities to pixels and pigments. One example is his project The Edge of Imagination Station. TheEofIS (for short) is a mobile stop motion animation lab that engages participants with user friendly video production software and custom work spaces. Over the last five and a half years he has led workshops and classes in museums, community centers, festivals, and other crafted learning environments in and around Texas. Whether he’s painting, doodling, editing, designing, guiding, or working on the social fabric, Johnny is happiest when those around him are doing what they do best. Johnny has an amazing and loving wife, excitable Chihuahua and a big, sweet, white cat with sharp, sharp claws. His favorite shape is the octagon, he loves gesture drawing, and he doesn’t believe in coincidence. To see some of his work, please visit: https://instagram.com/jvillarrealart/
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.
J. E. has been corrupting the youth with power tools for over 18 years in the Texas Performing Arts Scenic Studio at The University of Texas at Austin. The last two summers he served as a mentor at the Austin DeBusk Center for Academically and Talented Scholars summer camp where his students built working cardboard clocks, automata, and animation machines. He has met college students who have never held a hammer before and that just hurts his feelings.
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
Emily has passed the last ten years working with kids of all ages. Highlights of her teaching adventures in the arts are: painting a mural with a neighborhood of kids in Canoa, Ecuador, installing an 8-ft. sculpture in front of the Wortham Theater in Houston with a group of middle schoolers, and doing puppetry with pre-schoolers in Bologna, Italy. But she has had the most fun, by far, in her own backyard, spying on insects and crunching pecans with her two young sons. Emily currently runs Creatures Playschool and teaches art at Austin Tinkering School
Eli studied art, writing, and theater in Murray, Kentucky. He enjoys writing, drawing, painting, 3D modeling, and making little video games. He has spent the last 8 years teaching art, design, and technology to whoever would listen. He currently teaches with the Thinkery in Austin, and the Techshop in Round Rock. When he isn't making or teaching, he's walking a German shepherd named Dr. Bert, or eating more pizza than you'd imagine he could.
Bernadette is an author, copywriter, workshop facilitator, speaker, camp director, creator of informative content and co-founder of Slow Family Living. She writes high quality copy, stories and scripts, delivered in a creative and persuasive style, that reaches out to the reader and lures them in for more. She writes to tell a story, evoke an emotional response, convey information and make sure a message is sent.
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.