Author:
MOLLY PETRILLA
Date:
DECEMBER 18, 2014

allison

Our first exhibition, #MadeAtDMD, opens tonight in the Esther Klein Gallery, and it’s not to be missed. Why shouldn’t you miss it? Well, for starters, there’s the giant double spirograph that Allison Frick and Eric Manganaro built. (It draws Lissajous curves! Don’t you need more Lissajous curves in your life?)

exhibit3

Allison started coming to DM+D about a year ago for Drop In + Do. When Hacktory director Georgia Guthrie overhead Allison talking about doomsday prepping, pickling and canning one night, she suggested Allison teach a class. In a Pickle: Canning for City Dwellers has now been offered twice at DM+D.

It’s hard to keep up with all of Allison’s present and past projects—the long and varied list includes sewing and pickling, toothbrush robots and collaged antique maps, denim quilts, clothespin snowflakes, and now, giant spirographs. She also works as a librarian and helps run The Hacktory’s Kid’s Club on Friday afternoons. We caught up with Allison between projects to find out more about this busy maker.

5 QUESTIONS FOR ALLISON FRICK

1. WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?

I am a youth services librarian during the day, so I am always working on a bunch of projects for that at any given moment. Tomorrow Eric and I are making Bristlebots with 40 children at the Glenside Library, and I am making 120 snowflakes out of clothespins for a Frozen party in January that is almost definitely going to turn into a toddler rager. I also have a bunch of projects at home that I want to finish up. I make my own clothes and there is a very tasteful purple leopard print dress that needs facing. I’m also sewing the binding on a few quilts and doing last-minute canning and pickling for gifts…and laundry soon, before I run out of socks.

2. HOW DOES DM+D INSPIRE YOU?

Working at DM+D has definitely forced me out of my comfort zone. When I pick my own projects, I tend to use techniques that I already know how to do, like sewing or silk screening. When I design lesson plans for Kid’s Club, I try to think of things that they would enjoy making that involve science, design, and engineering.

I really got involved at DM+D because I wanted to learn how to use the lasercutter, which I have. Having access to the woodshop is great, and being around people who will take the time to help you when you get stuck is even better. I have learned so much technically, and I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to teach.

3. WHAT’S ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS YOU REMEMBER MAKING ON YOUR OWN?

A mess. I used to make potions when I was very little. My mom still has two of them in her kitchen. After over 25 years in direct sunlight the colors are still super vivid, which now worries me slightly. I wonder what kind of toxic goo little Allison was working with.

4. WHICH MAKERS HAVE HAD THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON YOU?

The Quilts of Gee’s Bend. I got really into them in art school and got to take my class to see their exhibit at the PMA when I was a preschool teacher. I love how each piece is unique and how so many are made from fabric that has a history, like worn-out clothes, corduroy scraps from other projects, etc. One of the women in the community spoke about not worrying if you do not get something perfect, because that is what makes the work your own. That really stuck with me and helped me to stop stressing about making everything right and just focus on making.

5. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE CREATIVE PROCESS?

It is a toss-up between the initial spark of excitement that comes with a new idea and the relief that comes with being finished. The in-between problem solving can get a little bit frustrating.