Connie Yu, known to the Instructables community as watchmeflyy, has had a notable presence on the site for a couple of years. She has, to date, been a winner in 26 contests and has posted almost 80 projects which have attracted just over 1 million views!
Connie is currently an undergraduate pursuing degrees in bioengineering and mechanical engineering. She was born and raised in San Francisco (where you can also find Instructables HQ) and when not spending time creating the amazing things you see in her profile or working hard at college you can find her running to scenic destinations because she also competes in long-distance running.
When did you first start making things? What was your first project/what types of projects were you interested in?
My first project came in the form of the classic origami crane. When my first-grade teacher retired she folded me a big origami crane and wrote a message on the wings as a farewell gift. I found it so touching because, rather than simply buying a card, she folded me something spectacular. I begged my mom to teach me how to replicate the crane but since she didn't know either she brought me to the library. A helpful librarian introduced me to the origami section where I found books that would inspire me for years to come.
In fourth grade I found my mom’s old fiber art supplies; she came to the US as a seamstress but she was also skilled with crochet hooks and knitting needles. This was when I started exploring different mediums, since before I had only worked with paper. My mom encouraged me to teach myself like she had and by middle school I had mastered hand sewing, knitting, crocheting, and even needle-tatting. I found my self-taught path very rewarding so from then on I’ve been teaching myself about different ways to make things: from wirework to circuitry, graphic design to CNC machining.
Tell us about your workspace.
My workspace is nothing fancy, especially in the tiny apartment that I call home. I have a neat bin of all my supplies and simply clear off my desk whenever I need space to create. I’ll wait until after college before reserving space specifically for projects; until then, my roommates need space also…
What are some of your biggest sources of inspiration when deciding what to make?
The Instructables community never fails to inspire me with the different mediums and techniques that people are experimenting with so I like to spend some time before bed just skimming through projects. My main source, however, is simply "the world around me". I'm always searching my environment, observing the little details that may feature in my next project. My phone even has an album called "Ideas" dedicated to pictures of random objects that I stored it away for future reference.
Will you tell us about some of the other designers and/or other Instructablers whose work you admire? Why?
There are tons of inspirational people on Instructables, but to name a few: Mrballeng for his metalworking projects, Kludge77 for his use of everyday materials, and mikeasaurus for his creative takes on household objects. All three are inspirational for their ability to upgrade regular materials (rock salt, coins, food) into spectacular creations. Outside of Instructables, I enjoy watching Jo Nakashima’s origami tutorials on Youtube; his projects embody the idea that you can make anything as long as you put your mind to it.
What are your goals, plans, or hopes for your future projects?
With all my projects I always hope that someone will find my ideas interesting and learn from what I’ve made. Imitation is the highest form of flattery, so seeing people create projects inspired by techniques or concepts of my own is always an honor. Regarding specific projects, I’ve finally gotten makerspace access at school so I’d like to explore the possibilities of CNC machinery (3D printers, laser cutters, etc.) in future Instructables projects. Recently I’ve been laser cutting gears so expect an Instructable on that soon…
You work with a lot of different types of mediums. What's your favorite to work with and why?
I first started creating with paper and it is still my favorite medium to work with. Many of my projects involve modular origami, which I really enjoy because I can just replicate a unit about 30 times, put them all together, and create many different masterpieces simply by altering the assembling pattern or a few folds. There's no limit to the possibilities I can stumble upon. On the more practical side, what's great about paper is its accessibility; any flyers, newspaper, or magazine can be transformed into something else so it's easy to fiddle around with scrap paper when my fingers are restless without having my wallet crying.
What is a dream tool you hope to own someday and what would you make/design with it?
It would be fun to have my own laser cutter. Only recently have I gotten laser cutter access at school, but I’ve already had so much fun designing and playing around with the settings to get interesting results (see “Simplified Wire Inlay on Wood”). Not sure what I’d make yet but I’m sure I’ll surprise even myself!
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