Bob Clagett: “Big Problems are Really Just a Big Bag of Small Problems.”

Artist name: Bob Clagett

Featured Work 1: Secret Door/Bookcase


Bob Clagett is skilled, inventive, innovative, curious, and tenacious. His projects range from helpful to revolutionary to playful. Also, he wants to show everyone how to make what he makes. He offers free photo and video instructions and purchasable digital plans on his site.

Featured Work 2: A Selection of Projects

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1. What is inventing to you?

Problem solving. Sometimes that means creating a solution for a problem that you see, but sometimes it means exploring new things as a way to prepare for future problems that you have yet to be faced with. Inventing is often thought of as BIG solutions, but in reality, it’s a bunch of small solutions.

That’s how I look at creating and problem solving in general. Big problems are really just a big bag of small problems. Once you solve the small ones, the big one gets solved automatically. Inventing solutions is the exact same thing in my mind.

2. What did you make in the past, and why?

I’ve always made different types of things, usually to fill a need or solve a problem. Growing up, I made a skate ramp, then used the wood to make a climbing wall, which later became a stage. As my interests changed, I adapted what was around me to be useful and solve a problem.

3. What are you making now, and why?

These days, most things I make are a direct result of a need I see, or an idea I have to improve an existing item. As I get further into my career, I’m forcing myself to make things that are less practical and more fun, simply to keep trying new techniques and learn new skills. My life has dramatically shifted this past year, and I have the honor of being able to teach and inspire other people to make the things that they want to have. Now, I make to show the possibilities to them and remove the barriers (in their minds) to getting started.

4. What are your hopes for the future?

I grew up around workshops, where people were fixing broken things, re-purposing the old but our culture has gotten so disposable. One of the problems there is that if something is of low enough value to throw away, it’s also not valuable enough to make by hand. That sentiment gives a lot of people the perception that it’s not worthwhile to make stuff.

I want to change that mindset. Making things is valuable in ways far beyond the financial side of it.

5. Do you want to add anything?

We’ve got a huge opportunity right now, given the current state of connectedness and technology, to inspire people of all ages, especially children to experiment with things. Digital and physical making is more accessible than ever before, and all it takes is a little opportunity to foster a life change in young kids. I was given access to a computer as a child, and didn’t know that I shouldn’t understand it at that age…so I understood it. Having that tool enabled me to learn so many things that my peers did not, which changed how I grew up and where I went in my career.
Let’s enable the world to learn in that same way!

Artist Supplied Background:

It doesn’t matter what the material is, or what it’s for… Bob Clagett loves making stuff.  He loves showing other people how he works, to hopefully inspire them, and empower them to make whatever it is that they’re passionate about. He is also on twitter and Instagram.


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5 Questions for the Artist, © Julia Travers

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