Andrew Linderman, The Storyteller

We’re so excited to find out Andrew Linderman’s storytelling secrets on Tuesday, July 8th when he will be teaching a class at Makeshift Society Brooklyn. Tickets available here. In anticipation of that, we caught up with Andrew to peek inside his story-filled head.


Makeshift: Is there a specific memory you could share of when you realized you had natural storytelling ability?

Andrew: The memory that pops out is the first time I had to tell a story in front of an audience.  It was the third week of Margo Leitman’s storytelling class at the Upright Citizens Brigade in Chelsea.  At that point, my only real performance experience, apart from a Dr. Seuss play in middle school, was a stand up set I had done at a bar that had gone pretty badly.  Badly, as in, I got no laughs until the very end, when I thanked the audience for being both polite and respectful.  That got a few chuckles.

So, standing in front of the class, I was starting to have a melt down when I remembered getting fired from my first job out of college after my boss discovered that I had been applying for other jobs on company time.  I told the story in the hope that everyone would find it hilarious.  One person laughed.

As I was dragging my feet towards the door at the end of class, one of my classmates pulled me aside and said: “That was really good.  It was honest and personal and very relatable.” I didn’t know what to say, so I thanked him and went home.  The message didn’t really register until I had to tell the same story again in front of the class a few weeks later.  I got a bit flustered in the middle of the story, but powered through it.  I still didn’t get a lot of laughs, but I took my time and got a lot of positive feedback at the end.

Makeshift: What are some surefire ways to lose the attention of your audience?

Andrew: There are two big ones.  The first way to lose an audience is when you don’t deliver what you promise.  Put it this way: if you go to a rock concert and the band comes up on stage and announces that they’re going to do a post-Modern version of Hamlet, you’ll be pissed. Even if you like post-Modernism and Hamlet. It’s important to meet people’s expectations before you can exceed them.

The second big way to lose an audience is to talk over them.  An audience is there to listen to you, so take your time with your story.  I’ve seen too many people race through their stories or pitches, only for the audience to end up confused or frustrated. Be patient with yourself and your audience will be patient with you.

Makeshift: How do you think Brooklyn and the people of Brooklyn have helped to shape how you tell a story?

Andrew: Brooklyn is a place that is both self-consciously hip and innovative while remaining un-self-consciously rooted in tradition.  This set of contradictions suits me well.  My mom is from Midwood and I used to visit my grandmother in Brooklyn long before it was “cool”, so I always felt the pull of Brooklyn traditions like folding my pizza and swearing at cabs (not all cabs, just some).  People in Brooklyn tend to be honest, so if they don’t like something they’ll let you know right away.  It’s a good way to develop a healthy respect for your audience, which is something that’s helped me in all facets of life.

As an instructor and entrepreneur, Brooklyn has been very good to me.  I got my start teaching at the Brooklyn Brainery and would not be where I am without their help.  They continue to give me the time and space to experiment, which is really wonderful.  Brooklyn people also value and reward hard work, which is great for someone looking to grow a small business.  The openness of the business climate has helped me sustain my oddball enterprise.  My approach is a bit unconventional, but I’ve found that people here are really receptive to quirky things.  I mean, we invented the Cragel after all.

Overall, Brooklyn is an amazing place to live and work.  Apart from the weather, the high rent, the constant noise, the dirty subways, and the rats.  And the double wide strollers.  But you’ve heard all that before.  To me, it feels like home.

To learn more about Andrew, be sure to snag tickets to his class in July!

Meet n’ Greet: Livia Cetti


Livia is an absolutely incredible paper flower artist located right here in NY. We caught up with her to find out a little more about her world before her Paper Peony Class on June 26th 7-9 PM. We’re so excited to have her teach us Makeshifters some of her secrets.


Makeshift: Where do you feel the most compelled to create?

Livia Cetti: I feel most creative in my garden, or in   the wild surrounded by nature. Or in the city shopping and looking at the street or in windows. And strangely, when I’m under pressure to create. And when it’s raining.

Makeshift: What do you do when you’re not busy magically turning paper into flowers?

Livia Cetti: I like to cook, and garden, and collect/rearrange furniture.

Makeshift: Who are some of your favorite artists, crafters, creative people?

Livia Cetti: Just off the top of my head, Confetti Systems, Francis Bacon, Janine Janet, Cody Hoyt, Madderlake, Henry Darger, Lilith Rocket, and John Derian.   I’m also inspired by vintage textiles, ethnic textiles, vintage ribbon,  natural pigments, Japanese pastries  (really most things Japanese!) millinery flowers, Bauhaus ceramics, shells, miniatures, multiples, Bloom magazine and World of Interiors.

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Find out more about Livia and her technique at her workshop next week! We’ll also have her new book available for purchase, The Exquisite Book of Paper Flowers.


Teacher Spotlight: April Walters

In this spotlight, we’re talking all things collage with our paper-loving member, April Walters.



How long have you been collaging?

Since junior high, at least. My best friends and I kept shared notebooks that we would decorate with cutouts from surf magazines and really old Seventeen magazines. I wasn’t exposed to much art as a kid but I always loved paper and had my paper projects. Always. Decoupaged box Christmas gifts, covered a whole wall in my bedroom, collaged birthday and thank you cards—that sort of thing. My more in-depth study of collage is less than a year old, but my, she grows every day!

Why did you want to teach a collage class?

When I started the collage workshops at Makeshift, I felt really stuck. My job was to be online all day and every day—Twitter, Facebook, name a social media network, and I had to be there. I had no attention span and I felt bad about myself because of the large amount of time I spent ingesting and admiring stuff that other people created. It was exhausting and I knew something was missing.

The collage workshop was a way to try something completely new. A real life event, with people, encouraging people to use their hands, use their creativity, leading people in an area that I wasn’t exactly an expert. What I lack in schooling, I make up for in curiosity, observation, and experimentation.

Between my paper collection and one stop at the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse, I had enough material to do a dress rehearsal with some very kind friends. And June is already the 7th Collage Workshop at the Makeshift Society!

What has been your experience been like teaching this class?

Would it sound drastic if I say life-changing? Hosting the Collage Workshop altered many things for me. Doing it was a brave thing and I still have brief moments of terror before doing each workshop—it is still absolutely worth it. My favorite thing is to look at the collection of collages at the end of the evening. The ideas and new things that people can create is a remarkable, beautiful thing. And everyone has such a unique perspective and take on how to transform something as simple as old paper. It’s fun to see everyone learn from each other too. I really just want more people to take a moment to use their hands because it’s such a powerful thing that is easy to ignore.

What inspires your themes for the class?

Three things help me select what sort of images to pull for each workshop: trends I notice within my paper collection, subjects I like, the people who come to each workshop and what they’d be inspired by. So far, I’ve done workshops around dance, space, the body, color, food, and cars. The next workshop is, well, let’s just say that things might get Wild.

Here’s a peek at April’s last collage workshop, as snapped by Celeste Noche.

mcollage2 mIMG_1644 mcollage 

And don’t forget to signup for April’s 7th (!) collage workshop on June 22nd.

Teacher Spotlight: Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls

For this teacher spotlight, we are highlighting Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls who has been teaching the Calligraphy in the 21st Century from A-Z class. She has already taught one of the series, which I took and found quit inspiring, and has sell out classes in February, March, and April! Maybelle has been doing calligraphy for many years and has had her work featured in Martha Stewart Magazine and on the Today Show.

A: How long have you been working with calligraphy?

M: Ten years.

A: What made you want to teach this class?

M: For a few years now people have asked me if I taught classes anywhere.
A good friend of mine mentioned  to Rena that I was teaching calligraphy. She contacted me and soon after I paid a visit.
I loved the clubhouse space and concept behind Makeshift Society. It made a lot of sense to me that I should offer a class like “Calligraphy in the 21st Century” at this time and place in my life.
A: How was your experience teaching at Makeshift?
M: Something very magical happened for me while teaching at Makeshift Society. There is a nice energy happening there.
The clubhouse draws a nice mix of creative people in San Francisco, and I have found that I am so inspired by each and every one the students that are in my classes.
Thank you, Maybelle! Be on the look out for more classes from Maybelle at Makeshift.


Teacher Spotlight: Grace Dobush

As another way to show the goings on in the clubhouse, we will occasionally be posting teacher spotlights. It’s a great way to get to know the people teaching the classes we offer here at Makeshift Society! We will feature past, future, and re-occuring teachers.

Next month, we will be offering a few classes by Grace Dobus. She will be teaching Get Your Book Published, Coptic Stich Bookbinding, and Zine Making Happy Hour.


A: So you’re teaching 3 classes in a row at MSS in March when you’re in town. Wow, that’s a lot! All of these classes deal with books in one way or another. What drew you to teach these particular classes? Are they hobbies, your expertise, career etc?

G: I’ll be coming in from Cincinnati, so I wanted to make sure I used my time in San Francisco as fully as possible. Those three classes are actually a perfect representation of all my interests — I’m an author and a bookbinder and I love making zines! I quit my day job at a magazine last year to pursue freelance editing and writing, make more art, run a craft show and travel more. My time at Makeshift Society is me living the dream!

A: We have many crafters and creative types here at MSS. Many are already established and have their own businesses, but some are just getting going. What are your top tips or resources for those starting off or needing a little extra help establishing a creative business?

G: The most important thing when you’re just starting out is to do a lot of soul-searching. How many times have you thought at your day job, “If I were in charge, things would be SO different”? This is your chance to build your perfect job. Things you should ask yourself include: Do the principles of your business line up with your personal ethics? How do you feel about the prices you’ve set? (And should you be charging more? Because you probably should.) Do you really love what you’re making or doing? You gotta get it started right, because you’ll be thinking about your biz 24-7.

A: You seem to be up to a lot of things as a freelance editor, writer, content strategist and crafter. Phew, you have quit a few titles! Are you currently working on any projects you’d like to share?

G: I’m starting to work on a project about vintage Pyrex! So if you know anybody who has a huuuge collection, pass it on. And we’re gearing up for the next Crafty Supermarket show out in Cincinnati in April. But I’m mainly just stoked to get to hang out in San Francisco for a week. Please send restaurant recommendations!
We are looking forward to having you at Makeshift next month, Grace!