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How the Makerspace Helped Launch a New Career


Jason Newblanc, aka Gadget, was a devOps manager at Salesforce when he was unexpectedly laid off last January, forcing him to consider what he wanted to do next. Always creative and interested in art, whether building art installations for Burning Man or exploring public art around the world, he attended a laser cutting workshop at the Downtown Library Makerspace. There he learned about the technical aspects of laser cutting—what software to use, file formatting, operating the machine, designing with vector graphics, and how to think in layers. In addition, he valued being able to exchange ideas with other creative people using the Makerspace.

 

Two months ago, Jason purchased his own (larger) laser cutter, so he could create projects that require more consecutive hours on the laser cutter than possible in the Makerspace. He is now selling his art. Jason is thankful to Makerspace for inspiring him to start his new career. He said “It’s very unusual for a library to have such amazing machinery available to patrons at no charge. It’s a tremendous resource but it’s the patrons, volunteers, and staff that really make it special.”


Having participated in the local PACT (Partnership Academy for Community Teamwork) several years ago, Jason uses our city as subjects for his art (see the Courthouse in the art piece in the photo). Jason is also a member of the Redwood City Arts Commission and spearheads many art projects throughout the city, including the Commercial Way Mural Alley and the recent “Women of the Future” mural on the back of Zareen’s restaurant. He is hoping to eventually volunteer in the Makerspace, teaching what he has learned about using the laser cutter to others. Jason’s website is www.madebygadget.com.

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