Meet the Makers – Christopher Edwin Johnson

Tell us about yourself?

I play hard at exploring whatever fascinations cross my path, which are many. I’m a lifelong Milwaukeean; a husband and father of three boys; a mechanical engineer, who works as a technologist at a civil engineering firm; and an artist and inventor.  Some of my favorite materials are copper, black walnut, and leather; and I’ve become addicted to things that have “story.”


What are you presenting at Maker Faire Milwaukee?
I’ll be sharing my explorations with life and learning; and my passion for the story that is woven like a thread throughout my journey of making.  It’s a story that knits together food, beer, whiskey, copper, leather, wood, geometry, math, science, visualization, automation, and artificial life.

Why is making important to you?
That’s an interesting question.  To me “making” is the exhale that follows a deep inhale of exploration.  It’s breathing.  It’s playing.  It’s an itch that turns belly-up to be scratched.

What was the first thing you remember making?
One of my earliest inventions that come to mind is a six-chambered revolver spitball shooter.  It was made out of ball point pens and electrical tape.  I think I still have it in a shoe box somewhere.

What have you made that you are most proud of?
Thoughts.  Inspiring, exciting, ambitious, fantastical thoughts.  I am proud of many things I’ve already put my hand to, but there are so many more dreams and concepts that are yet to be realized that I am far more proud of.

Given an unlimited budget, what would you make?
That’s an easy one.  How much time do I have?  Music, animations, writings; computer programs that play with questions about life, and learning, and visualize yet unseen ideas; a whiskey distillery in a historic Milwaukee building, whose rich story begins a legacy; a large underground tunnel system connected to my house; and building several sculptural/architectural concepts, including a “sun playing” amphitheater.