Engineer By Day, Crafter By Night: Meet Lindsay Feldt
For Lindsay Feldt, recent graduate of UW-Madison’s Master of Engineering: Engineering Management program, creativity runs in the family.
“Both of my grandmas were really great seamstresses,” Feldt said. “My mom is a crafter; she does a lot of card making, but she’s just really crafty in general.” At the time of the interview, Feldt was with her two-year-old son. “We’re working on our crayon drawing right now!”
The gene certainly didn’t miss Feldt, who crafts in her free time, and puts her creativity to work as a project engineer for Better by Design in Delavan, Wis.
“I design custom automation, so every project is different,” she said. “Last year, I did a project for an MRI machine for GE, then my next project was for a component in a GM truck. Now I just started a project today for another medical device and probably 10 of them would fit on a penny. Every new project is a completely different process. You have to really think creatively every time.”
Before landing her current position, Feldt wanted to get a master’s degree. She first considered a mechanical engineering master’s degree, but found UW-Madison’s online master of engineering programs and decided on Engineering Management after talking to faculty.
Now, she leads design projects and credits her job to her Master’s of Engineering Management education.
“Halfway through [the program] I got a new job [at Better by Design], and the fact that I had that year of experience in the program already helped me get a managerial type position,” she said.
She is currently working toward a director of engineering position.
“I think I can attribute this to going through this program. Now that I’ve graduated we’re kind of starting to transition me into that role.”
Feldt didn’t have time to do much crafting for fun in the last two years because she was busy completing her Master of Engineering Management degree. “I basically did everything at night. That was normally my time to relax, watch some TV, do some crafting,” she explained.
However, her time lost to crafting was worth the professional development she received. “I don’t think I would have gotten the job that I did had I not been at least started in the program,” Feldt said.
As an engineer, Feldt applies her engineering education to help her create crafting designs. “[My degree] kind of transfers over into the crafting: I want to make this shirt, this is what I want the final result to be, how do I go about doing that? What do I need to cut to make this shirt? How do I need to sew it to make it wearable?”
This creativity influenced her current career. “I think what drew me to engineering, specifically doing this custom automation, is the creativity, the logical thought process. I want this to be my final result, how do I make that happen?”
Feldt takes after her grandmothers as an avid seamstress. “I do a lot of sewing, that’s kind of my main thing,” she said. She picked up the hobby in kindergarten. “One of my grandmas spent a lot of time teaching me how to sew, and that’s how I got into it.”
Feldt even makes clothes for herself and close friends and family. In fact, about 10 percent of what she wears is made by her. But that’s not the only thing she creates.
“I also make jewelry and decorations, household kind-of-things, pictures frames, repainting,” she said.
Recently, Feldt has gotten into glasswork. “It takes patience, which sometimes I don’t have, but it’s really rewarding. You can make some really cool things with glass,” she said. For now, Feldt is perfecting her technique of flat glasswork, like plates, serving dishes and necklace pendants.
Though proud of her creations, she’s very critical of her own work. “I’m really hard on myself. If I make something and there’s a tiny flaw in it, I won’t wear it,” she said.
Now that she has more free time she is ready to get back into it. As of late, Feldt has started some sewing projects, including a swim suit for an upcoming vacation and a shirt for her son, as well as a few pieces of jewelry for herself and helping her sister-in-law create wedding invites. “I am making up for lost time right now!” she said.
Feldt not only seeks out professional development in engineering, but in crafting as well. Though she has never used her creative and leadership skills to teach a crafting class, she would like to in the future. “I think it would be fun to do a craft night and get a bunch of women together with some wine,” she suggested.
Feldt, you’re a genius.
Check out more of Feldt’s work below!
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