PEMcast 002 — Makers

For this episode of the PEMcast, we focus on our new Maker Lounge and one of the most known makers in the world, kinetic sculptor Theo Jansen. Our Curator of the Present Tense, Trevor Smith — just back from visiting Theo in the Netherlands — gives us the latest from the man who breathes life into creatures that walk on the wind as we prepare for our Strandbeest exhibition for fall 2015.  We also check in with ourselves to see if we are makers, according to the commandments set by inspiring maker Adam Savage at this year’s Bay Area Maker Faire.


PEM’s new Maker Lounge. Photo by Caryn Boehm

theo and strandbeest

Theo Jansen at PEM, photo by Walter Silver/PEM

Below, Adam Savage of MythBusters on the Discovery Channel puts together one of Theo Jansen’s mini Strandbeests in this 13-minute video.

Juliette Fritsch, PEM’s Chief of Education and Interpretation, is the driving force behind the new Maker Lounge.

Juliette Fritsch - Chief of Education and Interpretation

Photo by Walter Silver/PEM

Edie Shimel in the Maker Lounge.


Photo by Gavin Andrews

Edie is a photographer who crafts these sci-fi inspired moonscapes that remind us of MST3K.



maker lounge_salem state

Students from Salem State University in the Maker Lounge. Photo by Dinah Cardin


Avanti circuit stickers

Circuit stickers illuminate the headlights on this drawing of the 1964 Avanti, currently on view at PEM. Photo by Allison White/PEM


Playing the banana piano in the Maker Lounge. Photo by Allison White/PEM



Using circuit stickers in the Maker Lounge. Photo by Allison White/PEM


Photo by Allison White/PEM



A 3-D printed cabinet, inspired by our upcoming Nathaniel Gould exhibition. Photo by Ed Rodley

Theo Jansen visited PEM last summer to plan for the upcoming exhibition of his Strandbeests. He and photographer Lena Herzog, who is documenting his work, presented to the staff, along with Trevor Smith, PEM’s Curator of the Present Tense.

theo and trevor

Photo by Walter Silver/PEM

Trevor Smith first discovered Theo Jansen in an in-depth New Yorker article  from 2011.  Others often talk about Theo’s 2007 TED talk, now subtitled in 31 languages.

This video on the extremely popular site takes us to the beach with Theo.

Compilation from Strandbeest on Vimeo.

This 3-minute piece on Aeon Film is a poem to Theo’s work.

Portrait / “Theo” – Georgi Banks-Davies from QUAD on Vimeo.

Our own Annie Lundsten, an exhibitions projects coordinator, recently shared her story of visiting Theo on this blog and a former PEM staffer tried his hand at putting together a mini Strandbeest.

We leave you with Adam Savage’s entire Maker Faire speech.




  1. Hello,
    I’m very excited to learn that there is a maker lounge in the PEM… I had only been aware of the Peabody Library Creativity Lab and our own space in downtown Danvers. I would love to share our methods and resources to help bolster what the museum is trying to accomplish. One element of our operation that may be applicable is the 3D scanning we do with free software and off the shelf components. In fact I had intended to contact the PEM to inquire about objects I could scan and print as part of my submission to the Gables silent auction that is being organized.
    Thanks for your time.
    Here is a podcast I was a guest on to talk about my take on 3D printing :

  2. Dinah Cardin
    Dinah Cardin says:

    Hi Adam,

    Thanks for reaching out and sharing the podcast. I’ll pass along your message. Sharing resources and ideas is what it’s all about. Visit us in person and let us know what you think!


  3. Great work! I love this podcast. You guys are doing a good job producing these podcasts. Keep up the good work! It was nice to meet you at PEM and I look forward to hearing more PEMcasts.


Leave a Comment