Making Conversation with Marina Scott
Today we're talking with Marina Scott. Marina leads our user research and so much more here at Making. She's a mother, designer, maker, occupational therapist, and she also happens to be one of Ashley's favorite people on this earth. Marina has a powerful story and voice and one that we're so excited for you to hear today. You can connect with Marina on the Making app and Instagram @heartbunknitsandmore.
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Ashley Yousling [00:00:05] Welcome to Making Conversation, a podcast where we celebrate making in all its forms from amazing stories of inspiring makers and people to behind the scene peeks of building a startup in the tech and craft industry. I'm your host, Ashley Yousling. Today I'm talking with Marina Scott. Marina leads our user research and so much more here at Making. She's a mother, designer, maker, occupational therapist. and she also happens to be one of my favorite people on this earth. Marina has a powerful story and voice and one that I'm so excited for you to hear today. You can connect with Marina on the Making app and Instagram @heartbunknitsandmoreheart. And with that, here's Marina.
Marina Scott [00:00:48] I grew up in Colorado, halfway between Denver and Colorado Springs in a little suburb in between those two. And I have an older sister and lived with my mom and dad. My mom still lives in the same house that we grew up in and we lived there our entire lives. And my sister and I were sort of our neighborhood and the surrounding area in Colorado at that time was very white. So my sister and I were the only two Black students until high school in all of our schools. So in our elementary school, in our middle school, I didn't really notice a difference. Like I didn't know that I was different or assumed to be different than other people because my parents had never really made that a thing in our house. We were just sort of people that were were doing our things. But I know they felt a lot of that sort of around in the area and I never had any bad experiences. People weren't mean, never had any, you know, bad things that were said. But I did have very vigilant parents in terms of what we did, where we went. My parents always made sure they knew everybody else's parents. They made sure they always knew our teachers. You know, I had a great childhood. My sister and I are about two years apart, so we had a lot of things to do together and we took family vacations and both of my parents are from the south. And so I think Colorado was probably a big change for them, but they moved there long before my sister and I were born. So, Colorado was sort of the only home I've ever known. I've always loved the mountains. I always thought that they were super cool and beautiful from a distance, but also close up. It's a little bit more harrowing close up, because if you've ever been in Colorado, we used to go to Rocky Mountain National Park and they don't have guardrails. So like if you drive off the road, you're like off the road. And so that can be kind of scary when you're a little kid in the car, but it's also like super fun. But I just always remember, even though we weren't really outdoor people, we didn't do a lot of skiing or anything like that. I just remember Colorado always being a beautiful place that I was always happy to call my home. I now live on the East Coast, which is completely different. But I still you know, I still consider Colorado home. And I have always loved going home to visit and being able to see the mountains again. Just, you know, I think reminds you of nature's beauty and what there is out there in the world. But it's also nice going home and going home to my childhood home. I know a lot of people move around a lot. And I my family stayed in the same house and my mom is still in the same house. So it's nice to go back there and be in the same house, although my room is now an office. So I, you know, I'm in a different room, but it still is just like, you know, a nice thing. So that was really where I began. I went to school in Colorado and then moved out of Colorado to get a master's degree and then eventually ended up moving to the East Coast. And now I'm in Connecticut.
Ashley Yousling [00:04:06] When you look back on your childhood, where did the elements of making come in?
Marina Scott [00:04:11] Well, I think probably the seed was planted from my mother. I come from a long line of makers. I didn't really recognize that when I was a kid. You just kind of like, you know, sometimes my mom would make our clothes, especially when my sister and I were younger. I never really thought anything of it. She always kind of had a sewing machine around when we would go visit my grandmother, both of my maternal and paternal grandmothers, they all also always had a sewing machine around and my paternal grandmother used to make my sister and I things and sent them to us. She made both of us a Black Raggedy Ann at the time, you know, Raggedy Ann was always white, so she would make us Black dolls and send them to us. She made us like little denim purses that had our names embroidered in it, which if you're a child of the eighties, which I am, you could never find the name Marina engraved on anything. So it was really cool that she would send my sister and I, those types of things that she did herself. She crocheted. So she made Afghans miners in those traditional like eighties well, actually, more like seventies, like orange and yellow and white. And my sister had one that was white and blue and green. She made us Holly Hobbie quilts. So, she just was like a maker of all types and she would send all of that stuff to us. And again, I never really thought much of it, but everything was handmade and it was beautiful. And like, now that I am a maker, I clearly understand how much time that took. We each had our own blanket. My mom has her own blanket. We each had our own quilt. Again, my mom made a lot of stuff too. And. And so I think that just kind of growing up around that, I think I always was interested in trying things. I always like the kids crafts types of things. I like painting and coloring and sewing. I wasn't really very good at sewing. I did not get into knitting, which is now what I really enjoy until probably like my late twenties. But I think that's probably what sort of spurred that on was sort of seeing all of that in my childhood. And so I probably say it's the women in my life, my mother and my grandmothers, who sort of like with that fire of being able to like me really cool things. And I think it was important. I never really thought about it in terms of like diversity and inclusion, but just to be able to see yourself in what was made for you I think was a really amazing thing, especially at that time, because it's not that the times are different. It's not the same as what it used to be. You couldn't hop on the web and ask somebody to custom make you something. You know, you really either had to do it yourself or know somebody who could do it. And I know that both of my grandmothers now, I have learned that both of them made out of necessity. I didn't really notice that or understand that when I was younger. But I think that just sort of seeing all of that and maybe those vibes that come to you that you're not even aware of, I think that that's sort of what sparked--sparked everything in the beginning.
Ashley Yousling [00:07:14] What happened after high school? Where did you go? What what was your direction in life?
Marina Scott [00:07:20] So after high school, I went off to college. I went to the University of Colorado in Boulder. If you've ever been there, it's beautiful. Talk about like it's like the most scenic place to be. And I got a bachelors in kinesiology, which is the study of human movement. And then, I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do with a kinesiology degree. So I sort of looked around at different things. My mom had suggested physical therapy, and I somehow fell on occupational therapy. And I thought, well, that's something that I would want to do. And so I went off to I applied and went off to graduate school in Michigan and got my master's degree in occupational therapy. And then from there, I came out to the East Coast in Connecticut. And there's a lot of reasons why I ended up in Connecticut. But one of the reasons is my sister was in New York at the time, so it was close by. I knew I didn't want to live in New York but wanted to be close to my sister. And then I got a job. And I've spent the last 20 years working in schools, public and private schools, and also early intervention, which is birth to three. So, kids that are from 0 to 3 years old. And so I've just spent all of my time in that. I've always loved it. I've always thought it was really cool. Where else do you have a job where you get to play all day? So I always thought that that was fun and I always enjoyed sort of being in the schools. I clearly love working a school calendar, you know, then you have your holidays off, you have summer off, all of those like really cool things. And so I just, I really just kind of like found a good place and sort of did that for years and years and years. And then sort of, you know, the same thing happened to me that happened to everybody, COVID hit and things sort of the world turned upside down and things changed. And especially in schools, I think that they were scrambling to sort of like figure out what to do. And so in that sort of things shifted and changed. And so I still work in the schools, but I also do teletherapy, so I see students online, which I actually really like is super cool because you get to see kids that like are not in your area. So I can see kids all over the United States, which I do and I love, because I think it just sort of is like wider net, I guess, of kids and students. And so I do that and then I do a lot of professional speaking along those lines in occupational therapy. Handwriting is like one of my favorite things to talk about and just sort of like, you know, talking to parents about ideas and suggestions. And so I just sort of have done a lot of speaking on those types of things. But I think in being an occupational therapist, a lot of that has to do with making probably in a way that people wouldn't think of, especially when you're working with kids. It is sort of like their their therapy is clay. So I've always done a lot of like arts and crafts types of things. If, you know, I'm working on fine motor skills with their fingers in their hands, were doing coloring and cutting and gluing and designing and making all kinds of stuff. And I always have always enjoyed that. And so I think it was just sort of a natural part of what I did, and kids get really excited about that. Some of my older students I've taught to knit. There's more crossover between occupational therapy and making than you would think there is. And so that to. Kind of kept that like making bug alive for me.
Ashley Yousling [00:10:51] What was it about occupational therapy that really inspired you to make it your career?
Marina Scott [00:10:57] So occupational therapy, sort of the catch phrase is skills for the job of living. So occupational therapists span from when you're first born to, you know, the last moments of your life. But it's really sort of about it's a rehabilitation therapy that helps you to sort of complete the tasks that you need to be able to live. So for kids that is going to school, learning how to read and write. And then as you get older, you know, and you're an adult, that's how you do the laundry. Or if you've had a stroke, how you sort of get back on your feet if you have partial paralysis. Occupational therapy is more like a fine motor therapy. So there's occupational therapy and physical therapy. So physical therapists tend to do more gross motor types of things like running and jumping and playing. And occupational therapists tend to look more at the things that you would do with your hands. So cutting your food, tying your shoes, writing your name, those types of things. You know, I'm an attention-to-details person. So I liked the attention to details and I liked the organization. I've sort of like a step by step progression on things and then being able to sort of improve things if, you know, if you can. I mean, I think that's sort of the the point of occupational therapy is to, you know, to improve things. So I work in the schools and it's to, you know, help children be able to stay in the classroom or manage the classroom or be able to, you know, color their worksheet or write their names or open their snack packages at lunch. It's just kind of like those things that we do in everyday life that if you can do, you don't really think about, but if you struggle to do you think about all the time. And that also sort of goes into, you know, some other things like planning and organization and time management. Occupational therapists can help people with all of those things. And so and I've always just sort of enjoyed helping people like I was a candy striper in high school. So, you know, I was like a volunteer in the hospital. And again, I've always loved kids, so it just sort of was like a good mix, I think, between the two.
Ashley Yousling [00:13:09] When you work with all these kids over the years. What would you say is some of the most inspiring or surprising realizations like coming out of it?
Marina Scott [00:13:20] I think probably the biggest thing is how much we as adults underestimate kids. Kids are frickin' amazing. They have and bring so much joy and so much love and they they they're so motivated. Like, they want to do stuff. They want to do stuff with you. They want your time, they want your attention. And they're like, here for it all. They are willing to try things. They're willing to get back up after they fall over. You know, I just think that it's sort of like human resilience in kids, but also just how frequently we underestimate them. And I think that's really comes about, especially when we're talking about like what we think kids can and can't do or what they can and can't understand. I work in a high school and the kids that we work with are phenomenal. Like, I wish that I could just take each and every one of them and like have them all together. And I think we could do amazing things. Like, I really, I kid you not when I say that I have met kids that I have no doubt could literally change the world in 48 hours if they had the opportunity. Like, they're just these amazing people. And I think that we sort of get stuck in entrenched in looking at them from a certain perspective. And I think that goes for just adults in general. But even in occupational therapy or any other kind of, you know, service profession, I think, you know, we're taught something and we're trained how to do something. But we sort of sometimes can ignore the like, amazing human experience that's going on at the same time. You know, one of the things that I like about occupational therapy, especially with what I do, is it's very child led. I think it's like, let's let kids be kids and an adult. We have so many ideas and things of how it should be or what we want kids to do, or they should, you know, be sitting down at a desk learning something where they should be like up and free and playing. And if they're like, you're learning in play and kids know that and they seek those things out. And so it's not necessarily surprising to me that kids are that way, but it's so I think what's surprising to me is, is that we as adults underestimate the power of that and what that could mean in our world on a larger scale. And we really ignore that with any kids that have special needs. And so occupational therapy often is working with kids that have special needs or different needs or, you know, or neurodivergent or we sort of dismiss those types of things because it's quote unquote not the norm. And that's the part that I love about it. I'm like, It's not the norm, and that's what's going to make like a difference. Like, I really do. I have when I get upset about the world, especially if I listen to too much news, if you sort of look at kids and like what they can do and what they're talking about and how they are, I'm like, you know, you all could change the world like you really could. I really have, you know, my faith sort of in, you know, humanity at its best comes from kids because they're just these, like, amazing people that I think we just we underestimate at every turn. And I think we should we shouldn't be doing that. And, you know, as an adult, that's a hard thing to do. And, you know, all all of that. But I think that that's what surprised me most is not that I didn't know kids had it, but the fact that us adults are always trying to sort of%u2014make that fit into an adult world and that that's not how it should be. I have one kid and she like had me outsmarted at like two. I mean, she just was always she's very smart. You know, I feel like she has a very high emotional intelligence. She's a good read on people. She's very kind and very loving. But I think in turn, that makes me a more kind and loving person. Not that I didn't think I was kind of loving before I had Abby, but I think it just makes you more kind and loving because she is so kind and loving. Like, she's always happy to see you. She's always like, you know, she is a very early riser. She's always happy to, like, get up in the morning. She always has like this, like, smile on her face. And, you know, she is like asking you how your day was and like, she's like, what were the highs and what were the lows? And, a very connected kid. Watching her navigate the world has made me a better person. And I you know, I think it sort of goes along with occupational therapy. It's like, you know, I could underestimate her at every turn. And she, like, is constantly surprising me. I mean, she's very witty and very sharp. She has a good sense of humor. Much better than her mother's. We enjoy each other's company. And we you know, the thing that I look forward to the most is when we're driving around places and she's asking me all kinds of questions about all kinds of things. I talk to my child about everything. I rather her learn it from me than from the world. So there's nothing that's off limits. She can ask any question. We can talk about anything. If she asks something, even if it's something I'd rather not explain, I explain it anyways. We are very close and in those terms, and since it's really just been the two of us these last six years, you know, like she's good about helping out around the house and, you know, all those kinds of things. But again, as I said, I'm biased, but I think, you know, she's one of the best humans on the planet.
Ashley Yousling [00:19:00] Immerse yourself in crafting culture Making is a first of its kind social marketplace app for makers, crafters and artists where you can track projects, post to the feed, discover new makers, take classes and so much more! The marketplace will launch this fall 2022 and is an opportunity for sellers to increase their discoverability and audience, generate revenue, and build a community. Making also just launched BRIGHT Collective a crafty content experience delivered monthly to your inbox and the Making app, think patterns, recipes, special discounts, monthly member events and more! We have a special 10% discount on BRIGHT Collective yearly memberships for podcast listeners. Use discount code makingconvo10 during checkout. To download the app, join the community and become a BRIGHT Collective member. Visit makingco.com today.
Ashley Yousling [00:19:56] So, let's transition a little bit now to Making and we met three four years ago now I feel like and we met through Francois and her Swatch Workshop series that she does for new designers.
Marina Scott [00:20:11] I felt like I wanted to sort of stretch myself as a knitter, and I also am one of those people where I like, especially when I'm knitting like simplicity. I like to be doing something else. Usually I'm watching TV at the same time. And so although I really love like all of these beautiful color work patterns and things like that, it's hard. It's hard to do that and watch TV at the same time. So I'm like, Why aren't there easier or simpler patterns out there? And I'm sure that there were. I just wasn't really able to find them. And so I was like, you know, I think I could do this. Like, let me see if I could, like, figure this out. But I needed some help and direction um and just sort of being a product of my generation, I went to look at a book first and there's not a lot of books out there on like knitting design. And so I thought like I need to like take a class so that I can, like, better figure this out and just sort of given my career as an occupational therapist in the schools, I was able to have sort of like the Summer to like get invested in and sort of pay attention to and take the classes to learn how to design. And so I was like, you know, I think that this would be like something fun to do. And that, you know, has led me here to you.
Ashley Yousling [00:21:26] I remember we had you working with Making as like a proofreader sensitivity reader back in 2019. And in 2020, when we decided to expand and create the Making app, you were literally the first person that called, "I should call Marina. I feel like Marina would be really into this."
Marina Scott [00:21:48] Well, my perspective on it is like, really? Like, what the fuck? Like, I don't know how I'm like, I don't. I really even to this day, I don't know how it happened. Like, I don't know how. So you and Carrie had sponsored me to take the classes, like the design classes, and I did. And I think I sent you guys, like, a thank you email. Even now, it really means a lot. Like, I just would have never been able to do that. So that part is the part that is always hard for me. Like I don't know how that translated into, "do you mind like taking a look at one of our magazine issues for like proofreading and sensitivity?" Cecily, who I think is the one that contacted me, is like the nicest person you will ever meet, and it comes across in her emails, and so I was like, "Yes, of course I will!" You know? And like, I would have like, you know, had it done that day, could I have done it? So, you know, I looked at the first issue that you all sent me and then sort of gave like my opinions on things and then, you know, just like let it sit. And I kind of thought like, oh, well, that was fun. And I don't know, I don't know what I thought was going to happen, but it was in my wildest dreams where I am now with Making is not what I thought was going to happen just because, again, I don't know how%u2014how it actually happened that way. And so but I really like I really enjoyed it and I had fun. And so I was like, okay. And I think Cecily contacted me about another issue or something like that to take a look at. And then I think you emailed me one day and you said, Hey, can I call you? I want to talk to you about something. And I'm like, like again, I'm like, sure, but like, why would you want to talk to me for, you know, just because I don't know, like, why me? I think people often think that, especially when, like really good things happen. I was like, sure, we can talk. And I know it sounds really cheesy and I know it's like a terrible thing, but you know how you. So like sometimes, you know, you watch a movie or you're listening to a song and they're singing about stuff and you're like, oh my God, that's like so hokey or cheesy or whatever. There's a moment in your life where that makes sense. And the moment in my life where this all makes sense. And again, it's going to come out super cheesy, but is from the movie Jerry Maguire where she's like, "you had me at hello," and I was like, you were like, "can I call you?" And I said, "sure." And you started talking. And I was like, I really honestly did not hear half of what you said. Like when you said, I want you to be a part of this. I was like, hell yeah! But, I really don't really remember the conversation. I remember shaking because I was like that excited about it. And again, I know it seems like hokey and cheesy, but I'm like, I don't think this woman knows that like, she had me when she called me when I picked up the phone and answered, I'm like, I totally%u2014I'm 150% in on this. We got off the phone and I thought to myself, I can't remember what she just said to me, except for that this is something that I really want to be a part of. And then, you know, I think we didn't talk for a while. Like, I think it took a while for like the idea to sort of get off the ground. And so I was like, well, you know, maybe I won't ever hear from her again or and then you called me back up, I think, right before COVID hit and were like, okay, like, I'm ready. Like, we're going to do this. Here's what it's going to look like is all I can remember is I can't believe she's contacting me again and still wants me to be a part of this. I don't even know what I'm going to be doing, but I will totally do it. And so I think that, you know, that that's sort of like the story of how it happened. You know, I'm sure you have a different perspective on it, but it's really very surreal for me. And when people sort of ask me about it, I'm like, I really don't know how I ended up here. Like, you know, I think that maybe the forces aligned and it's like one of those things of where. Something out there recognizes that like this is like your moment to to do this was certainly very steeped in like occupational therapy and what I was doing. But I think I also knew that it was a time for a change. But it's hard to change, right? Like, it's hard to change from like especially like something that is very specific, like occupational therapy. It's even though you have the skill set, it's hard to make the leap out of occupational therapy. The possibility wasn't real for me until we had the conversation and I was "holy shit, I think that this could be like possible for me. I don't know what it looks like, but I am going to like go by my instincts and be brave and I'm going to tell this woman yes, and we'll see what happens." And, you know, here we are a year and a half later after sort of things getting off the ground. And I was right. You were right. The universe was right. Like, whatever. However you want to say that for me personally, it's been an amazing experience. And like one of those things that will just sort of live in my mind as like. Like there's a lot of lessons to be learned in that and, you know, changing things and doing things or just like having a phone call with somebody or, you know, whatever it is. But that's sort of like the story of%u2014of our beginning, so.
Ashley Yousling [00:27:13] I called you, and I just%u2014I just had this feeling, I think, just from working with you through the magazine and really the feedback that you sent and and how you talked about people and the readers and the perspectives it was, so not just thorough, but I think speaks to your occupational therapy background and just like who you are. And I remember when we kicked off this idea of the Making app in my mind, "I was like, I need someone like Marina." You know, how I've always built teams was really focusing more on the person and their skills as opposed to their background and their experience. Like all of it's really important to me, but the most important thing to me is looking at the person as a whole. You can have all the training and you can have all the experience in the world, but how does that translate to actually how you work with people or like how you think about things? And it's more than just a pedigree or this career path. It's really about your heart. And I picked up on that with you and we talked about it. And yeah, it took a while for us to kind of get like all of our due diligence and like data together and really solidify this idea. And then when we started building out the team in the beginning of 2021, you were always at the forefront of my mind for this, and I%u2014it's been a lot of fun to have you fill a role and a part of making that I can't fill myself. It takes diversity from different backgrounds and life experiences and thought processes and ideas to create a really rich product, a really rich experience. I would love to talk about the writing aspect of what you've done it Making.
Marina Scott [00:29:09] Well, first I have to say, I think from what you've said, I think that there's something about value in somebody's perception or vision of the world that I think that that was part of the draw for me, being an occupational therapist, especially working with kids as it should be, the focus is not really necessarily like on your value or your vision of the world. And so I really was not used to somebody being interested in that. And so that was%u2014that was like a big thing for me. And again, I think that that sort of leads into your question asking me about writing. I've always liked to write just in general, and I've always like, you know, if there's something I want to know about, you know, like everybody else, I Google it and look it up. But, you know, I think that there was sort of like that tide that turned in sort of the knitting world anyways%u2014I think that was 2019, I can't remember exactly when%u2014but you know, and I thought to myself, you know, crafters and makers, there's like so much more about crafters and makers and sort of like the history of all of that that I think just gets is always ignored or constantly ignored or frequently ignored how however you want to say it. And so being able to write the blog posts, I really have had free rein about what I want to write about and how I want to write about it. And I wanted to write about things from a perspective that I don't think people really think about. We sort of go with a mainstream perspective and everybody's satisfied and happy with that. But I realize that there's so many voices that are left out or ignored that I wanted to bring attention to. And I think even just sort of, you know, I've always liked that the history of knitting or crocheting or whatever it might be, it's sort of where those things developed. And usually there's like a one liner about where it developed and it's like, "okay, moving on in like 20th century Europe is, you know, where things either became popular" or whatever it is. And so as I started writing more blog posts, the more like steeped in that, I became I was like, it's not that I'm out to prove people wrong, but I'm out to say that there's a bigger story out there. There's a wider understanding of where these things come from and who's involved in these things, you know? And it shouldn't just be subjugated to a one liner, you know, in the fourth, you know, thing that comes up in your Google search. I've been able to do that with the blog posts and that's like thrilling to me. And it's hard to to condense it all down into something that's not too long or or, you know, has too much in it. I have loved the journey that it's taken me on just in terms of learning about these things, but also even just in like the images in pictures, like if we're talking about some of these these things, especially like the history of it's really hard to find pictures of anybody besides sort of like the middle aged white women knitting. Like it just is like you really have to search. When I wrote the blog post about the history of woodworking, there was, I think, a man in China that was like super popular, but it was really his wife that was doing all of the work. And like they mentioned her name once and then. That's like it, but it's like clear. It's like evident that she was like really the power behind%u2014behind the man. So, you know, I find all of that really interesting and I think it's important. Like, I like to read about other people's perspectives. Like, I feel like if I don't really clearly understand something or I want to learn more, I don't just want, like one perspective. Like what else is out there? You know, I've gotten some responses back from people about, you know, thank you for writing that. Or it was something I didn't think about or I didn't know that information. And, you know, we're all learning together. It's not that I have the secrets or the keys or know all of the information, but I think it's fun to write something as I'm learning it and then to be able to share it with other people.
Ashley Yousling [00:33:15] Well, I think the first one that you wrote was The History of Knitting. And I remember we met one of our meetings and you just were like, this is like the craziest thing I'm discovering. And and you're going deep on like where it came from and the history and how political knitting and craft is. And I remember you were just like so energized and you were sharing, "this is such bullshit how this has happened!" And you were so passionate and you had all this to share in this perspective that I think was just so lost. So lost. Like, you just don't see, I mean, really the truth about any of these things. And then you sent a link, you're like, okay, here's a first draft. And and I read it and I'm like, Wait, all that is missing everything that you said in that meeting. So we met again. I remember saying to you all that that you shared, I want that like I want people to hear that passion. And I remember you were kind of timid and I don't remember exactly what you said, but it was something like, But is that okay? Is that okay? Yes, yes, it's okay. And then we had this conversation and we've had many since then about how people%u2014and maybe you share from your perspective%u2014there's just is not just a whitewashing of things but like you what you share, like what you say, what you write about, your experience really has to fit in this little box, like has to fit in this perfect, digestible, socially approved box or about going outside of the box, like coloring outside the lines. And I think when you rewrote that and sent it back, I was like, yes, this is%u2014this is what we need to be talking about. We need to be pulling back layers of cover up, but just the layers of dismissal. You shouldn't have to fit in that box of what you want to say. That's like perfect for a white audience to hear. You need to be able to share the truth, experience and perspective is truth. And I feel like that was a pivotal moment of awareness for everyone. Okay, this is Making's truth. Like, this is%u2014this is how we're going to operate in how we talk about things.
Marina Scott [00:35:23] Well, and I think that that was a huge learning moment for me because I definitely knew internally what the culture for Making was. But I have learned in my life that just because that's what people say, that doesn't necessarily mean that that's what they want or that that's the outward message that they want to send. And so, yeah, I was I was really excited about the information that I had found and sort of like, like let me unwhitewash knitting! I had shared that with the group, but I didn't write that in my blog post. And I actually now looking back at it, I don't think that that was conscious. I, I think that it was ingrained in how, how I or other people sort of approach the world. Right? It's sort of like a hard thing to say, but it's sort of like you do things for like white comfortability, right? So you don't, you know, and I'm not one of those people that I don't want to tick anybody off or I'm not here to like ruffle feathers. But, I also have learned through this process and in writing these blog posts, I'm also here to speak the truth. That being my first blog post, I didn't recognize that that was something that I could do and wouldn't be sort of shot down or like, "oh, well, let's make this like a little bit more gentle or comfortable" because that is what people do. That is the way of the world, whether we want to admit it or not. A lot of times those things are sort of rebuffed. And so I think that that's why even though I was sharing it with the group, I sort of wrote something different. And then you were kind of like, well, no, not quite so much. And I was like, I was not surprised in you or what you ever had said, but I was sort of surprised and like, Oh, like she really wants me to, like, put this out there like that, okay? Because most people aren't. That's not it. That is not commonplace, but it's not my lived experience with people. They don't really want that kind of thing out there that way. And recently I had a different conversation about diversity in a whole different environment. And somebody said something that I thought was really interesting. It was sort of a conversation with a white person, and they were sort of going on and on about, "well, you know, we don't want to make people angry and we don't want to upset people and we should be worried about a,b, c and d." Another person stepped in and said, "well, wait a second. Who are we trying to make comfortable here? Like the two people, you know, like the two white people that are complaining or the rest of the community?" And that really resonated with me because I think a lot of times it's been so ingrained to make it comfortable and digestible for sort of white people that you don't even even me as a Black woman didn't even think out%u2014I mean, I did think outside of that%u2014but I didn't think to write outside of that. So when you came back to me and said, you know, like, this is missing everything that we talked about, I was like like, what the hell did I just do? I realized, like, I could write what I, what I wanted to in the blog posts and it wasn't going to be heavily edited or changed or you weren't going to be like, hey, like, no, I don't think so. But that is sadly, that is not my lived experience. And I think there was a part that was conscious and there was a part that was subconscious and coming to that like reckoning and realization of like, who am I trying to make comfortable here? Like it's actually okay to make the group that should be comfortable, comfortable, and the group that should be uncomfortable, uncomfortable. That took me some time to recognize as well and sort of hit deep. I mean, I think I sent you and Jen like this, like emotional email about thank you, and I finally had a voice and it was really like a much deeper moment than just writing a blog post, but just sort of having this realization of how I've sort of moved throughout my life. And I will say probably to many people's, you know, uncomfortableness I have changed the way that I am about things like that. And I'm like, I'm pretty vocal and like, oh, like that's like comfortable for who or that, you know, like somebody will give you a statistic or they'll tell you, like, this is the best thing for people or what? And I'm like, but the best thing for who, like, who was this? Like, what was the research that was done on this? Like, was it all white males or was it did they, you know, get a good mix of people or? So, it really has, I think, led me to really think about things in a different light and then to say it and not that I was ever afraid to say it before, but I just never thought to say it before. And now I'm like, Oh, no, wait a second. And, you know, outcomes my thoughts. So it sounds like that's a lot of change from a blog post, but I really think that that was sort of the beginning of of what that looks like for me personally. You know, as a Black woman in the United States right now, it's like, you know, I do have a voice and I do have a voice that people want to hear that, you know, if I make somebody uncomfortable, oh, well, there was no backlash or anything like that from from the blog posts. So, you know, I think it was a good thing, but it certainly was like a day of reckoning inside of my own personal, I don't know, examination of how things are presented to the, you know, to other people.
Ashley Yousling [00:40:35] Yeah. And I remember there was another conversation. Maybe it was that same one that you and I had or later about, you know, there is another side to this. You talked about it being subconscious, and that really speaks to%u2014even if Making it as a safe space%u2014outside of Making like this is public you can't control out there. And so there's a level of vulnerability here that for you, you know, just me saying "no, like you can talk about this, but you also have to feel okay talking about it." Even though our team is diverse, that doesn't really matter. When it comes to your experience. You need to feel okay talking about it and you don't have to. And there has to be an exchange of consent, if you will, like I think about that a lot. And so I feel like that%u2014when I say that was like a pivotal moment for us%u2014I think it was, how this converts from what we talk about and how actually it plays out in the real world.
Marina Scott [00:41:35] I think you named what I was feeling in that initial blog post is that I think I've rarely felt like being able to put something out there that open is a safe space for me as a Black woman. You know, let's be realistic. Like people have been horrifically killed and maimed for%u2014for less. You know, there's a long history of violence against, you know, those who speak out. And not that I by any means was like worried about like my actual safety in writing a blog post because I was not that sort of like that collective trauma, I think is so deep%u2014deeply ingrained that it's hard to imagine that even for something as light as a blog post, you need a safe space to be able to sort of put that out there, right? And so like it was that's why I was like, you know, it's like a reckoning of like it's not that I didn't want to say those things or that it wasn't the truth. Like, I didn't recognize what it was, which is really having a safe space to, to say that in and then to be able to put it out there. And I think that that is critical, especially moving forward and thinking about spaces and people is%u2014is and it not everybody's going to feel safe. I mean, again, there could have been somebody else who was also a Black woman. That's like, I still don't feel safe putting that out there. But to recognize what that is, is like sort of that feeling of like that safe space. So I think that that what you're saying is absolutely right. And that's sort of like that unconscious part of like, I'm just going to tread lightly because I need to protect my safe space. So.
Ashley Yousling [00:43:16] What is your pitch to the world like? What is your message to the world that you want to make through Making?
Marina Scott [00:43:23] I actually am excited about everything and I know that that can sound like, yeah, whatever. But I actually am excited about everything. I have been excited about the blog posts, BRIGHT Collective, Making Change, the Marketplace%u2014I feel like it in comparison to occupational therapy. It's sort of like the same thing. Like the reason why I love O.T. so much is because I get to play all day and I feel like that's the same thing with Making. Like, I get to play all day. It's like things that I really care about or am passionate about or want to do. And so I feel like that's the same thing. The sort of the vibe or the feeling that I want to send out about Making is for me in my experience, not just as somebody who's working for Making, but in my personal experience, you know, I feel like it is a place for all makers. I mean, I think it really it is that place like we want all makers to come and be a part of that. And I genuinely feel that. I'm sure for people who are listening it can be hard to separate. Like, yeah, she works for the company from like, you know, like your personal feelings. But I wouldn't be here for this long if I didn't feel that way. I think Making is new and different and exactly what people need and a way to sort of break the mold that we've been stuck in for so long when it comes to crafting. It's so old and it's so antiquated and it's so outdated and everybody just kind of keeps churning out the exact same stuff all of the time. And I feel like that is very exclusive. It excludes a lot of people and nobody seems to care. It doesn't seem to matter. Everybody's making money. There's smiles on everybody's faces, and I don't think that Making is like that. I think that we are here to break the mold and to do something different and to really make some change. People underestimate what that is, and I think it's very easy to underestimate if you've never been part of the group that's been excluded. But I think even just in building the marketplace and working on, you know, getting sellers and I'm looking for people that are also breaking the mold and aren't sort of, you know, the traditional maker. The part that sort of hurts me to my core is is that people are out there, they exist, and they are doing amazing, great, wonderful things. It's sort of the same way I feel about the kids that I see in occupational therapy. We are doing ourselves a disservice because we are missing out on the most amazing people in this world because we are excluding them. And so that sort of is like my overall feeling about this%u2014and I, because I'm working on these projects%u2014I have the opportunity to make sure that that doesn't continue to happen and not that that has been happening at all, because that is not part of what making these values are, but because I am part of that, even if it were happening, you know, I feel like I could say something and be like, okay, you know, I feel like we need to make changes or course correct or whatever it is. There's so many people out there that we are missing out on and we are excluding people and it is on purpose. There's just really no excuse in 2020 to like where do if you're if you're excluding people, you're doing it on purpose. We are the antithesis of that and that. Makes me feel good as a person and that makes me feel good as an employee and that makes me feel good to be part of something. Like, I feel like come to the Making app and find out what you've been missing and find those people. And I think the same thing in the Marketplace, like the biggest complaint that I hear from people and that I even feel myself as a maker and a designer is it's hard to get seen. You can't. And things are cheap. Algorithms change and all of a sudden, you know, you're like, I'm like, I don't want to buy another pair of shoes. I just want to see like how my friends are doing. And again, that's, you know, that's exclusionary. We are here to sort of break that mold and to say we hear and see you because that's really all we all want in the world. Right? You want to be seen and heard and you want to be seen and heard for who you are and sometimes what you do. We talk about that all of the time. It's part of what we do all of the time. It's part of what I do personally for Making. So, I know it's happening. I think sometimes when you look at other companies, you're like, well, they say that, but how do I know what's happening? And I'm here to tell you in Making it is happening because we are doing it and I'm part of the team that is doing it. So I'm seeing it firsthand. I love it and I'm excited for it all because I feel like we've already accomplished greatness and we're just here to sort of accomplish more. And I think when people really know who we are, I think that they will want to be a part of that, too. How could you not?
Ashley Yousling [00:48:11] I couldn't have said it better myself. I want to go back to something that you said. About exclusionary. It's just so much more than people realize. There's the obvious ones that industry and community have talked about, but then there's less obvious ones. And one that came to mind, like as you were talking, was our conversation that came up when we were doing research about apps. And I remember you looked at an app, we were talking about it and you were like, I just don't feel welcome there. And it's you couldn't put your finger on it. And I hadn't really consciously thought about it until then. But it was the design. And I remember thinking%u2014in that conversation, and then after about how, you know, there's a lot of talk about accessibility in UI and UX, but sometimes it's not something you can really put your finger on. Like it's not something you can really, like, identify. And that's why it's so important to have people from different lived experiences that can see these things that it hits different. And when you came back to me, it reminded me of this kind of architectural movement where the actual, like architects and landscape architects would create very uncomfortable cement structures, actual like features and design details in public spaces, in parks and things like that, to inhibit houseless people from like sleeping on benches or like finding comfort, it was actually meant to create discomfort and, but like applauded. A lot of these design elements applauded as like beautiful, minimalist, clean design. And you know, coming from a design background myself, I love minimalism, but when it actually comes to what we're creating. It even goes to this level of detail and that was something that really came up from you. We have to look at accessibility, not just from the perspective of like color and contrast and flashing animation and transitions and sounds and all these things. We actually need to look at it from like, how does it make you feel? How do you actually feel when you open up the app? And I'd love to hear your thoughts on that because I think this is a part that we don't talk about because maybe there aren't exact words or, you know, terms that have been created for this feeling. And I think it's the energy that comes from these things, the thoughtfulness, if you will.
Marina Scott [00:50:42] I think it really may be the term for is exclusion. I think sometimes it's hard to put your finger on why you might feel excluded. But I think that and that%u2014that being said, that doesn't mean that every space should be for every person. I do understand that at the same time, but I think it's hard to always articulate. But you want to%u2014you want to feel included are like, yeah, I'm a part of that. Or I could, you know, you could, I don't know, envision yourself or whatever it is. That is why you need diverse voices on as part of your team, because it's like things that you just wouldn't think of. But not only do you need those voices, but you need the space for the for people to say that I had the space to say to you like, this doesn't feel right to me and I'm not really sure why. And we sort of talked about it in my experiences when I have done that in the past, it's like it's kind of more like, Yeah, that's your thing. You're like, you're not really seeing it right? Or oh, I'm sure they didn't mean it that way. Or that, you know, my perspective is always negated. Like that's not that couldn't really be how it is. So I think it's hard when it's something doesn't feel right, to number one, articulate it, number two, say anything about it, and number three, not have it be completely dismissed. That's the power in having people that are not the same. I've always felt that because I feel it's like the same thing sort of with occupational therapy. I mean, there's so many different needs out there for so many different reasons and we just sort of are like, "nah, it'll be fine," or "you'll be able to figure that out" or "it's not that hard" or whatever it is. We sort of are dismissive of that. And so I think that there is a real power in trying to examine that and then figure it out. That, I think, is sort of the magic of what Emily does like, and Emily is very conscious of that. And Emily and I have worked together on like a few things and sort of taking a look at those, those aspects for accessibility, just having an OT background that's super important to me and it's clearly super important to Emily. That being said, I think part of the frustration is there are limits to that. So, there are technological limits. So, yes, what I love for, you know, you know, something to work this way and it doesn't. But some sometimes that's because there are limits in the technology or whatever you're, you know, whatever you're doing. So, I think that that's also an important acknowledgment. But I think in terms of like color and contrast and even font, you know, I certainly hope you'll speak to Emily about font because I didn't know I didn't know what I now know about different kinds of fonts and who's invented them and sort of like, you know, what makes you feel good or comfortable or whatnot. It might be one of those things where I'm like, yes, you know, that doesn't really make me feel very great or welcomed or whatever. And everybody else is like, yeah, that's totally fine. But to even just have that moment of being able to see that and for it to not be dismissed or for somebody to really think about that, I think that that's part of exclusion is like the dismissal of if that is different for you, I'm going to exclude you because there's just no way it could possibly be like that. There's not always words to describe it, but I think that exclusion and that dismissal of sort of those other voices, you know, is%u2014is a big, powerful thing. And when you don't exclude that what that means. So, then you then you're inclusive, then you're%u2014you're trying to be inclusive and including, you know, groups of people that should have been included in the first place. But sometimes you need that perspective. You know, I you know, in occupational therapy, I do a lot of work with people who are autistic. I like I'm in a ton of groups where I just listen to autistic voices because they are the ones that have the experience. It's not me I like. Yes, I went to school and learned about it, but it's not my experience. Like, you know, you can't like learn to have the experience of a Black woman if you're not a Black woman. It just it just like no matter how hard you try, how many books you read. Not going to happen. And so that's the power of having other voices. And then when they when they tell you something, you believe them, right? Like it's not just, again, that dismissal of like, "ah, you must be crazy" or "you don't know what you're talking about" when they're telling you something then you need to believe it.
Ashley Yousling [00:55:15] We're so grateful for a BRIGHT Collective supporters and we wanted to give a shout out to two of them today. La Bien Aimee is an artisanal dye studio and brand of hand-dyed yarn based in Paris, France, founded by Amy Gill. Offering a selection of bestselling and exclusive yarn bases, Amy has developed a variety of dyeing techniques that make her colors truly unique and sophisticated. Visit their online shop at labienaimee.com. Dances with Wool is a local yarn store located in Midlothian, Virginia. Their commitment to you is to offer a wide array of quality, commercial and hand-dyed yarns, as well as spinning and weaving equipment and supplies in a supportive and inclusive environment where all your fiber needs are met. Visit their online shop at danceswithwoolrva.com. If you'd like to be a BRIGHT Collective supporter, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The biggest of thanks to everyone involved in this week's episode. I hope you'll join me each week as we talk and learn from more fascinating makers for podcast notes and transcriptions, visit our blog at makingzine.com. Have a wonderful week.