My time as an AiR Answered
When I got the invitation to be an Artist in Residence, my wife's first reaction was hilarity, since I have the drawing skills of an orangutan.
Getting here, and being here, has been a really big deal. This site has been a big part of my life for several years, and it has been a real pleasure to share space with some of the most intelligent and creative people I have ever encountered. I have seen genuine art being created, and wonderfully subversive acts being committed.
Being in such an environment was, in equal parts, intimidating and exhilarating. Although I have a long list of projects to try, I was sometimes spoiled for choice because of the freedom to create as I pleased.
Projects I have created in my time here have been;
Duct tape boomerang
Paper bag kite
Small-scale wave power generator (mentioned in the newsletter - woot!)
Laser-cut penny maze
Rock, Paper, Scissors board game
Robot face stencil
This is a shorter list than I would have liked (boy, you should see the length of my "to do" list!), but the downside of being given the freedom to create is the lack of enforced deadlines. That is a failing on my part, and not a failing of the AIR system.
On the up side, I have been involved in a lot more of the running and planning of the site than I thought I would. I have judged contests, taken part in planning meetings, got involved in longer-term projects on the site, and helped de-bug the new AiR process (bring your bank details!). The phrase dates me, but I grok the site a lot more now. I've also seen the planned projects of the next guy, and they are awesome!
I also got the chance to run a site Challenge to launch the new Birding Channel. This was, I've got to say, disappointing - given the amount of publicity I managed to get for the challenge amongst the birding community, I had hoped for a lot more entries. I guess that there are not many folk who are both Maker and Birder?
I also got the opportunity to help out in other folks' projects, and to learn new skills, both traditional and modern (laser cutters are awesome!), from folk like Noah, Matt, Kelsey, and got a far clearer image of how hard, and how fun, it is to keep this site running.
San Francisco is a great, mad, weird city, and I love it, but the most surreal day was being the witness to the wedding of an ex-pupil, who came over to the US to get married and have the honeymoon all at once. I first met this person when they were nine, and now they're married... (I feel old again).
It's hard, in a piece like this, to avoid rambling, so I'll stop now, except for one final point:
This past month genuinely ranks as one of my top Life Experiences. That may sound like an exaggeration, but if you know me, you know how important this site has been to me over the years. Eric, if I ever get the chance to do it again, I will have your arm off at the elbow!
And, you know, I think the rest of my family will as well ...