ABCD (Artists, Builders, Creators, Dreamers) Interview with April

We are kicking off a new series for the Fort Boards blog called the ABCD Interview Series. In this series we will get to chat with real life artists, builders, creators, and dreamers. We’ll get to find out what inspires their imagination and creativity. We’ll also see that grownups can still use their imaginations everyday!

For our first interview we were lucky enough to get to talk with April Hinds, a Lead Detailer at Pacific Studio Museums and Exhibits. At her awesome job she gets to make models of 3 dimensional forms based on design renderings or inspirational sketches. She then decides what materials would work best and what shapes and sizes will fit together. After she’s built the exhibit components in the computer, she prints out the plans that will go on to become the museum exhibit!

Why do you do what you do?
I enjoy watching a brand new idea go through its life from conception to reality, and walking through a museum that you literally made from scratch is a fantastic feeling. Especially when the curators place all the precious objects into the cases or mounts, then you know you have done something big, and people want to come in and look!

What was the first thing you remember building/creating?
Growing up in upstate New York, almost every kid's first adventure in building is a snowman, but I ventured further and insisted on staying out past dark one weekend to complete an igloo big enough for me and my sister. I was probably about 10 years old. I was very proud, and very frost bitten!

Who or what has influenced and inspired you most in your art/building/creating?
I am inspired by my mom who is also a CAD drafter. Also, my dad was a carpenter so I grew up using tools.

What kind of training or schooling do you have that has helped you?
I have a bachelors degree in Sculpture from Alfred university and I trained for my AutoCad certificate at Seattle Central College. I also learn tons from my coworkers at Pacific Studio on the job.

What are some challenges you face and how do you overcome them?
Sometimes we have tight deadlines, but I enjoy the challenge of thinking creatively under pressure. Some of my best ideas happen because of constraints like short deadlines or limitations on which materials we can use that will fall within a client's budget.

What’s the most favorite thing you’ve ever created?
One of the best things I've ever worked on is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor Center. The work they do for people across the globe is an inspiration to many and the exhibits that worked on help to tell their stories.

What advice do you have for kids that want to be an artist or builder or creator?
I would say get your hands on as many different types of material as you can, and see what they do in different configurations, or how they feel when they squish between your toes, don't worry about the finished product, just see what you can do and then stand back and think about how it makes you feel. Don't ever assume that a project is done just because you're not working on it physically, your brain is engaged in the project or endeavor behind the scenes, and you're solving problems; even when you sleep.

Did you have a favorite toy growing up?
I always loved making things when I was small, I would crochet and weave and sew all day long, but actually I lost myself in playing music and would covet any time I could get playing on my Great Grandmother Ida's electric organ. I liked playing long notes in dissonant chords until a third and unique sound would arise and waver. Not the most pleasing sound, but it was like creating new notes that I thought nobody else knew about.

Have you ever built a fort?
I build forts. I grew up with two brothers and a sister, all close to me in age. We had some woods behind our house and we built tree forts, mud forts, ice forts, and on rainy days we even built the odd blanket fort. My husband Rob and I have recently rediscovered the fine art of the blanket fort with our one year old Evelyn, and the thrill of watching her tucked in under the dining room table with her favorite book and a bottle, in her own special space never gets old.