Spotlight: Make with Miles
Meet Miles, a lifelong maker at only age 14 who has his own YouTube channel, Make with Miles. He is a proficient woodworker, prints on fabric, does leather working and wants to learn more about welding and metal smithing.
What different creative mediums do you play around with?
I like to use all kinds of materials and my favorite is wood. I have experimented with leather working, printing on fabric and paper and I am learning how to use digital tools like Photoshop. And I like to play the piano and violin. I use videos to share my creations on YouTube, but video in itself is a creative medium that I am enjoying how to learn as well.
What kind of creative projects are your favorite?
Anything that gets me working with my hands and learning new things, new tools, new techniques.
How do you make the leap from an idea in your head to the work you produce?
I tend to think about things a lot in my head and I have been starting to sketch ideas out more frequently, so I can plan better. However, sometimes I just go into my workshop and start messing around with materials and experimenting to see what I can come up with. Sometimes this works out, sometimes it does not, but I always learn something in the process.
How long have you been a maker? How did you get started?
I am 14 years old and I’ve been making things ever since I can remember. Over the last 3-4 years I’ve gotten more serious about making and selling my lino cut prints as well as some wood working projects. My Dad and I have done many projects and my Dad has taught me many different things like how to use tools or different techniques. My Dad has a sewing shop that repairs all kinds of clothing and outdoor sporting goods so I have grown up watching him work with his hands and he teaches me things along the way.
What inspires you to create?
A lot of what I create are things that I want to have, and I find that it is more interesting and fun to try and make the items myself. Also, I often see things that I like, but want to change or improve them, so I make it the way I want it. For example, I could have bought a leather arrow quiver, but I decided to make one that fit my needs and it has become my most viewed YouTube video. I hope that when I share a project like that on YouTube, other people can become inspired to try making things themselves.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
If something goes wrong on a project, not to give up easily. Sometimes I have to take a step back from a project because it is not going well, or I’m not sure how to proceed with the next steps. I can leave that project for weeks or even months before coming back to it with a fresh perspective and then finish it.
What is your best advice for someone interested in developing a video series on making?
Consistency is important; the frequency of your video posts as well as keeping a consistent style is important. Also, you don’t need top of the line equipment or software to produce the videos. For example, one of the most popular YouTube ‘makers’ only uses iMovie to edit his YouTube videos and he has over 1 million subscribers. Use what you have and tell a good story.
Is there one thing you made that you are most proud of? Why?
The Robot Mask is the project I’ve made which I like the most. There were multiple things in that project that I had no experience with, including working with foam and soldering electronics.
As a creative individual, do you believe that you perceive the world differently from other people?
When I see something that interests me I always wonder how it’s made or constructed. So perhaps that is a trait of creative people?
Do you think that any “unusual” thought processes are involved when you create something?
I tend to think in pictures and visualize things in three dimensions, so that probably plays a big role in how I go about creating things.
What are your earliest memories involving your own creative expression?
When I was little, my parents built me a workbench in the basement. They set me up with scraps of wood and other materials, a hot glue gun, paints and a few hand tools. I was free to make whatever I wanted. Having that creative freedom helped me early on in being a maker.
Do you create your works for yourself or to share with others?
Most of what I create is from a need or desire that I have. The videos are the way I share those creations with others. Some of what I create I sell at the local farmers market. But those items are not usually the projects that I film for YouTube videos.
Tell us about your most challenging piece. What were the obstacles and how did you get past them?
Last summer I started building an iPhone charging stand with space for a speaker. I decided I wanted to used dowels to join all the pieces together and I had never used dowels before. There were some complex angles and the dowels did not go in properly so I became frustrated. I set that project aside for a couple of weeks and worked on other projects. When I came back to it, I saw that it was not as difficult as I had been making it. I was able to finish it up.
What do you hope the next year will bring?
I am hoping to get more videos out on YouTube and gain a bigger audience. I would like to meet some of the well known folks in the maker community and make some new connections. And learn how to weld metal and build a new desk.
Where can people find your creations?
YouTube and Instagram are where I can be found on the internet (Make With Miles- links below) and I also sell my hand printed cards and wooden creations like pens and bottle stoppers at the local farmers market on occasion. The market has a “Young Entrepreneurs” booth for folks age 16 and under.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
Use what you have and keep on making!