Interview With Craftswoman Laura Kampf

Laura Kampf is a clever, funny 33 years old Content Creator/Maker/YouTuber from Cologne, Germany.

While studying design in college, a few concepts came into her mind and her urge to build prototypes grew—so she started building a workshop and improving her skills. A couple years later she rediscovered her interest in filmmaking and combined the two passions and started making videos for Youtube.

Now, every week Laura builds a new project and documents her process along the way. Every Sunday one of her videos is published, and on Monday it’s back to brass tacks, starting from scratch.

“Being able to focus on the process rather than the product allows me to explore not only the good ideas but also the bad ones—which is sometimes a lot more interesting."

As I watched more and more of your work, it reminded me of how Leatherman was created in 1983—with the desire to create something which makes life/work easier. What inspired you to start modifying day to day items and make them uniquely useful?

Laura Kampf: I was created in 1983 as well—looks like that is a good year for makers.

The idea of making things your own always fascinated me. We live in a world were most products are made for the average high paying customer. It is very satisfying to understand what it is that you really need and modify the things around you to fit your personal taste and lifestyle. Every object comes with a value—but you can redefine these values by modifying the object. By making things personal, your value for this object will change. While others might think cutting a bike frame apart to make room for a cupholder will reduce the bike’s value, for me the value increases.

I love that, perspective in life seems to be key, and intrinsic value is all down to the creator/user. So where are you and what’s in front of you today?

Laura Kampf: I am currently in San Francisco for the Maker Faire. I extended my Trip a little to meet local makers and check out the city. I have 2 projects planned for next week and today I want to visit some supply stores and gather my materials.

Looking forward to seeing those project. What is your favourite creation/project so far?

Laura Kampf: The Happy Machine is probably my favorite thing I have ever built. I still like the idea of building something for the sole purpose to make another person smile. The materials I used for the project were mostly from the junkyard; there is no value in a broken bicycle, right? But spending 40 hours and a lot of sweat on making the bike into a carousel for kids changes the value quite a bit. And just a single smile justifies all the effort and energy that went into this project. And being able to share that with the world with a push of a button is pretty incredible to me!

When was the first time you saw a DIY project by someone else that inspired you?

Laura Kampf: That was probably when I saw The Goonies. This one boy, Data, had these crazy homemade contraptions that mostly failed but were still the coolest things I had ever seen. I was super impressed with him…I still am!

Who doesn’t love The Goonies. Where do you love to share your work the most, and how do you find it as a community?

Laura Kampf: Right now my main platform is YouTube. But the community of makers is very strong and connected—they are everywhere. Which is fantastic! Just yesterday I posted on Facebook that I am in San Francisco and would love to buy a cheap bike to ride around the city. Later that day i met a guy who saves bikes from the junkyard and fixes them up again. How brilliant is that?! The maker community is super active and I think what makes us especially strong is that we all have the urge to make stuff happen.

Seems that most Makers are the opposite of procrastinators; if you want something done, you just do it. With the majority of Leatherman users being men, we were so stoked to hear you have a love for multitools and seeing how you weave your humour and creativity into your craft. Are there any other female creatives that you admire?

Laura Kampf: For me making has nothing to do with gender. Nobody should feel restricted or privileged to be a maker. But I get your point, not a lot of girls get a Leatherman for their 8th birthday I guess. But I don’t think that is a disadvantage. I started building things only a couple years ago, but passion and initiative can quickly make up for the lost years without tools.

We have a lot of incredibly talented girls in the maker scene and on YouTube! I am a big fan of Simone Giertz, the queen of shitty robots, and April Wilkerson, who just a couple weeks ago single handedly built a steel carport for her parents. But there is always room for more, another thing I LOVE about the community: there is no competition, only support and admiration for what others are willing to share with the rest.

It’s always good to see other peoples views and hear that a community can be so creative and so supportive. What are you looking forward to this year?

Laura Kampf: Since I started doing YouTube full time every week it’s pretty much a surprise. I honestly cannot foresee what is going to happen in the next 4 weeks. I love that! I hope I get to travel a bit more but mostly I am enjoying the ride.

What is your biggest wish?

Laura Kampf: Since all of this is quite new to me, I hope I can keep doing this for a long long time! And I hope I will someday get to the point where I can help others to help themselves. It would be great to have a workshop full of tools that is open to the community.

I admire the way you wish to bring your creativity to the world. What will you do once you finish this interview?

I will go outside and soak up this beautiful city! There is a flea market nearby and later I might sit in a park and eat a mango that I sliced with my Sidekick.

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