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Maker in Residence: Kat Clear’s Maker Exchange

Generator’s Maker Exchange began in a Finnish boreal forest.


“The boreal forest of Finland is a magical place,” says Kat Clear, Generator’s Maker in Residence in March and April 2019. “And while I can tell you many tales of pine trees, peat moss, blueberries, mushrooms, sauna, and a fairytale amount of moss, I want to focus on the project I made there: the Hyytalia Trading Post.”

“I made objects out of found and natural materials and put them up for trade with the others, mainly scientists and another artists that I was there with. There were a couple directives and signs so the space could be open without my presence. Participants traded objects with me and documented the trade. In the end I was left with these small, intimate objects and images that were imbued with the magic and energy we shared in the forest.”


When Kat visited us to consider a residency, she was stuck by Generator’s dynamic community of makers, their collaborations and resource sharing, and the palpable energy and excitement in the air as dozens of people throughout the building created things.

“Making things is a delicate dance between intention, materials and lots of questions,” said Kat. “For me, everything I have ever made has been a product of an idea, some amount of materials and communication with others. I see art and objects as the relic of this event.”

Kat wanted to spend her residency meeting Generator members and learning about what they do. She wanted to use her studio as a place of “cultural commerce,” connection and conversation where folks could trade their creations.

Like her “prototype” exchange in Finland, Kat set the exchange up with signage (made on our Epilog laser cutter) so she wouldn’t need to be present in order for people to navigate the exchange.

Kat documented the people trading and the objects they traded with an Instagram account, @makerexchangegeneratorvt.

“The most valuable part of this experience always comes back to the people and the community that has formed around it,” said Kat.

Kat’s residency and the maker exchange came to a close at the end of April — but it’s not too late to get your trade on.

Kat is officially closing out her residency with a Maker Exchange Pop-up for one night only.

Join us Thursday, May 23rd from 6pm to 9pm. Bring an object you made for trading, enjoy a barbecue and ice cream social, and meet other makers.

Photos courtesy of Andy Duback.