Bre Pettis, the creator of I Make Things, is a Seattle-based artist and teacher who is obsessed with technology, invention, and general do-it-yourself activities. I Make Things is a blog and video podcast about Pettis’ various projects, crafts, ideas, and inventions that not only showcases the things he and his friends have made, but teaches you how to make them as well. The site was launched in February of 2003, and is updated almost daily. Pettis also runs Make Magazine’s blog, as well as a number of fascinating blogs about vlog culture and pink bunnies.
I Make Things is not another cutsie craft project that teaches you how to make a scrapbook and knit (although Pettis does enjoy knitting). Here, you can learn how to make a potato gun, a shovercraft (a cross between a hover craft and a shuffle board), and an LED jack-o-lantern. The videos are well-produced, generally do not exceed 5 minutes, and can get pretty technical to the uninitiated (sometime sodering guns are involved), though Pettis’ laid back attitude makes everything look easy. There are both both instructional videos and interviews with other DIY-minded individuals, such as Scott Ferguson and his computer controlled etch-a-sketch. Pettis also provides a large amount of incredibly useful information and news about general web technology. He recommends his favorite method of hosting and new photo newsletters, and discusses the difference between podcasts and video blogs. Really, there is a wealth of knowledge here.
One of my favorite videos on the site is an interview Pettis does with Sanjay Khanna, a technology innovation consultant and researcher for large corporations. They discuss the future in terms of increasingly innovative technology combined with our growing collective anxiety and impact on the environment. Khanna thinks that “we should be able to move with the speed of the digital word,” not feel left behind by it, and that truly beneficial innovation should not just be a reaction to change, but a reflection of it. Anyone interested in learning more about the ethical side of technological innovation should definitely check this out.