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Spotlight Designer! Michael H.

Spotlight Designer! Michael H.

Q&A With Michael!

Tell us something interesting about yourself: My wife and I together manage Partyof4Crafts. We have 2 children in college. Most of our work is with SVGs on Etsy, but we also do physical products on our website as well as Inkscape and Glowforge tutorials on YouTube. Our mission is not to get rich, but to use our talents to enable people to use our designs to make money with their lasers. We think that all of our designs are simple and at very reasonable prices. We don't do this full time. I was a physics teacher and now an assistant principal at a highly acclaimed STEM school and my wife works at a children's science museum. We have a Glowforge at my school and when the makerspace teacher left, I took on the challenge of teaching students how to use Inkscape and the Glowforge. Then when my wife's museum closed down during the pandemic, we bought a laser and started designing to replace some of her lost income with this. We have found it to be so fulfilling that she returns to work next week and we are planning to continue to make our designs available. We have slowed down a great deal on the YouTube videos, though.
What 3 words would you use to describe yourself? Nerdy, socially-awkward, tech-savvy, everything you'd expect of a physics major
What is your favorite type of material to work with and why? Because I'm a file designer, I generally only make a couple of prototypes for a photo session. So, I don't often use very fancy materials. Generally I use acrylic, MDF, and birch for those. But, when I make signs, my go-to favorite seems to be the Lowe's whiteboard/blackboard material because I hate to sand, paint, and finish and that stuff is so easy to use. No masking, no sanding, no painting ... as long as your finished product is either black or white. When I make earrings, my favorites are walnut, cherry, and glitter acrylics. I engrave a lot of cutting boards and my favorite material for cutting boards is teak. It even smells great while you engrave it.
What is a project you are proud of and why? My favorite products are the ones that support a cause. I have cancer survivor ribbons that I'm very proud of. I have BLM keychains that have resulted in thousands of dollars being donated to charities. I had memorial earrings for Ruth Bader Ginsberg that also resulted in a great deal of charitable giving. My daughter absolutely loved RBG's tenacity.

What do you do to get in the zone for crafting? I often pose a challenge on my Facebook page ("Friendliest Glowforge Group on Facebook"). It forces me to get creative and also exposes me to others' creativity. I'll pose a 5 earrings in 5 days challenge or a Valentine's Day design challenge and the deadline and public face of it forces me to get into a zone.
Who inspires you and why? There are so many designers out there who really inspire me. That Mom with a Laser (Emily Caroline) is incredibly inspirational for the community that she has built, the instructional videos that she makes, and her positive, happy attitude (¡Cafecito!). Nicholas Longanecker inspires me because of his incredibly complex designs and his hilarious sense of humor. Although it sounds like pandering, the materials suppliers like Craft Closet who make all of our businesses possible are also inspirational and their incredible materials have inspired designs in me that fit the incredible materials that they offer. Genevieve Ishtar inspires me with the amazing Glowforge User Group that she's built and everything I've gained from being a member.
What is your favorite thing to do outside of crafting? Outside of crafting, family time is my favorite. My son played baseball from 4 years old through senior year of college. So, playing baseball and watching baseball are a big part of our family. My daughter has been captivated by all things aerospace since she was a toddler. Supporting her adventures with science fair, robotics, learning to weld, collecting astronaut autographs, and visiting museums has been a fantastic adventure. To see her intern at Lockheed Martin now is fulfilling.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us? 15 months ago, I had never used Inkscape or cut an original design on a laser. Now, I have a successful Etsy shop and a YouTube channel with 41,000 views. You can do it, too!

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Michael's Winning File

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Every couple of weeks we will select a gallery submission that includes a file the person created themselves.

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