Gareth Branwyn (Special Section editor) has a confession. He’s more of a ruffled-sleeved
romantic than a pocket-protected geek, more artist than engineer. So it’s no wonder that
he’s enamored with steampunk, the maker subculture (celebrated in this volume) for
amateur technologists who are hopeless romantics at heart. When not hanging out under
top hat and gaslight, he’s a contributing editor to MAKE, a daily contributor to the MAKE
blog at makezine.com, and an editor at Make: Books.
Ryan Heffernan ( Teaching Time photography) is a location-based editorial and corporate
photographer working out of Santa Fe, N.M. The goal of his photographic work is to tell
stories by capturing genuine moments of humanity. He loves the challenge of distilling an
everyday scene into a single, provocative frame that captures the essence of that moment
and invites the viewer to share in the story. Current projects include photographing Kenyan
marathon runners living and training in New Mexico. He also spends a good bit of time
skiing, fly-fishing, and taking photos of his bulldogs.
Before becoming a writer, Lisa Katayama (Kazuhiko Hachiya profile) worked at a company
in New York City that sold military equipment to the Japan Defense Agency. She is now a
San Francisco-based freelance journalist who’s currently working on a story for The New
York Times Magazine about men in love with anime characters. A knitter, she likes making
sweaters for her two miniature pinschers, Ruby and Malcolm, “even though they don’t
like to wear them.” Her favorite tool is a ceramic kitchen knife she bought in Tokyo and her
favorite food is “the surprise dish that comes in flavors I never even knew existed.”
Frank Ford (Tips) has always been a maker. Before he could walk or talk, he was on the
floor rummaging through Mom’s kitchen cabinets and reassembling cookware; as a result,
his first Christmas present was a drip coffee maker (really — he loved it!). Frank made his
way through Tinkertoys, Erector Sets, models, and countless experiments, and was the
only one in his college dorm with a vise mounted on his desk and a drawer full of tools.
Things haven’t changed much since. He’s worked for the last 40 years making and restoring stringed instruments ( frets.com), and five years ago, at the ripe age of 60, he started
seriously on the path to be a machinist and toolmaker ( homeshoptech.com).
A traditional portrait artist specializing in alternative lifestyles, Suzanne Forbes (Lost
Knowledge Catalog illustrator) can also be thought of as “an extra-freaky illustrator.” In
her work, she sees things “that shock me even now, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
San Francisco is full of creative performers, wildly stylish divas, mad genius inventors, and
artists whose lives are their work. And I get to draw these amazing people, and record them
for posterity. It’s a privilege.” The Berkeley, Calif., resident lives with her “large, manatee-like
cat,” and is currently working on a series of corset-themed paintings.
Jake von Slatt (Wimshurst Influence Machine) is the devoted husband of a very tolerant
Lady von Slatt and the father of two whip-smart girls. He spends the majority of his working hours as Linux sysadmin at a small research firm in the Boston area but has recently
reduced his hours to co-write a book on steampunk subculture with award-winning science
fiction author Jeff VanderMeer. When Jake was 14 and his bicycle frame broke, he saw it as
an opportunity not to ask his parents for a new bike, but to ask them for a welding torch.
He continues to view every challenge or adversity in life as an opportunity to acquire shiny
Photograph of Gareth Branwyn by Victoria F. Gaitán; and of Jake von Slatt by Mike Pecci
Make: Volume 17