Author:
SAMANTHA WITTCHEN
Date:
APRIL 14, 2015

Troy Taylor, Building Hero

Last Spring, after several afternoons of watching the Bell sisters toil relentlessly at building rolling hang-out pods at their high school, Science Leadership Academy @ Beeber (SLA-Beeber), Troy Taylor and his friends finally decided they should help out.  Public Workshop’s Alex Gilliam gave them some guidance and told them to figure out what they needed to do to help build.  It was hard, but they got to work, and before long, Gilliam told Troy about The Department of Making +Doing, and Troy started coming to DM+D to take part in the Building Hero Project.

An avid skateboarder, Troy spent a lot of time skating at Public Workshop’s Pop-Up Skate Park project in Camden last summer.  When he was nine, Troy got his first skateboard from Toys ‘R Us, although he didn’t really skate with it—he and his brother found that it was great for rolling around on their stomachs.  When he was twelve, he upgraded to a better skateboard, but it wasn’t until a year later, when he traded in his Xbox 360 to get what he calls his “first real skateboard,” that he started practicing tricks and spent afternoons and weekends skating.

We caught up with Troy in between tricks to find out what keeps him coming back to DM+D.


5 QUESTIONS FOR TROY TAYLOR

1.  WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?

I want to start making [ear]plugs. Eric, Ryan and I are working on getting a lathe so that we can make plugs for the Building Hero Etsy shop. Besides that, I’ve been working on fabricating desk organizers for the shop. I’ve gotten my Building Hero certification on a number of the tools here at DM+D, but I’m still working on a few of them.

2.  WHAT ABOUT DM+D INSPIRES YOU?

DM+D inspires me because there are always people here to push me. If I say I want to do a project for school, someone will help me with it.  I just had a geometry project, and I said, “Hey, Max, I want to do this,” and he said, “Do you have a model, do you have a Sketch-up, et cetera?” and I said “No,” and he said, “Well, start with that.”  People here are always pushing you to do better because you can do better. The people here who have that mindset are inspiring.

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

I was ten-ish, and my mom got a shoe rack and told me she needed it made, so I assembled it for her. (My dad wasn’t home at the time.)  Then whenever we needed something new—like a shower caddy or something—I’d be the one to put it together.  I became the person in my house who builds stuff.   Most recently, we got a new living room coffee table and side table, and I put it together.

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

If there is one person here who’s had the most influence on me, definitely without a doubt it’d be Max Lawrence.  When I first started coming to DM+D, he was always here in the background cracking jokes, and I was like, who is this guy?  He told me a while ago, “You’re me when I was your age if I was black.”  He used to just have fun being a kid…doing things that kids do.  My mom knows that he’ll put me in check if I’m not doing what I should be doing.  He’s kind of a mentor.

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

Can I tell you my least favorite part?  My least favorite part is thinking I did something really well and having to redo it because it wasn’t good enough.  But my favorite part might be the outcome.  It’s when you worked really really hard on something and had to do it a billion times to get that thing that you’re really proud of.  It’s like mastering a trick in skateboarding, and the feeling is amazing.  That’s how it feels when you create something you’re really proud of.

Troy on skateboard