Meet the Maker: Jen Schachter

By Kristen Lomasney

Jen Schachter is a maker and mastermind of big, collaborative builds, including Project Egress with Adam Savage.

Many of you already know Jen Schachter from her frequent collaborations with Adam Savage here on Tested. In the case of Project Egress, Jen was Mission Control, and honestly, this couldn't have happened without her. In part, her duties included recruiting and coordinating more than 40 makers in the making of the Apollo 11 escape hatch replica ... which was assembled in front of a live audience at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. (Imagine just thinking through all the tools and supplies you'd need to haul out from San Francisco!)

Read on for more about Jen, her sketches of the replica, and her thoughts on the project overall.

Bio: Jen Schachter is a maker and mastermind of big, collaborative builds -- including a set of giant letters for the Obama White House, an interactive puzzle hunt for SXSW, and a monumental 3D printed sculpture of Rosie the Riveter. Find her product reviews in Make Magazine, her tool manuals at fabrication shops in Baltimore, and her collaborations with Adam Savage on Jen is a NY native, who recently relocated from Baltimore to work at Adam's legendary shop in San Francisco.

Artist statement: "In all my research about the Apollo 11 hatch, my favorite image is a photograph of the North American Aviation factory in Downey, Calif. It's a wide shot of the lab floor with a lineup of conical wooden frames. Upon closer examination, they are skeletal prototypes of the Command Module, built in humble plywood.

That photograph made the technology so much more approachable to me: the spacecraft that took humans to the moon wasn't designed by wizards, they were real people, solving problems in very tangible, analog ways. To me, that's what Project Egress is all about -- making the technology and the craft that went into manufacturing each piece both accessible and visible. It is not a cold piece of machinery, but an anthropological artifact, celebrating the hand and process of each builder who made it."

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