Meet the 2024 Makers-in-Residence

Chicago Public Library is thrilled to announce the summer and fall 2024 Makers-in-Residence at Harold Washington Library Center, Adrienne Thomas and Christina Ernst. Their respective applications reflect a commitment to fostering a community of collaboration, experimentation, and growth. Their portfolios display a wide range of skills and ideas that are sure to inspire your creativity.  

While celebrating Adrienne and Christina, CPL would also like to recognize the nearly 100 makers whose thoughtful applications and inspiring work made 2024 the most competitive year for our two residencies.

Learn more about each Maker-in-Residence.

Meet the Summer Maker-in-Residence: Adrienne Thomas

I'm Adrienne, affectionately known as Ms. T. I'm a dedicated antiracist Public Montessori E2 educator in Chicago and the proud parent of a bunny and chinchilla. Beyond the classroom, I'm an avid creator, with a primary focus on modern quilt wall hangings in various textile mediums. Originally, my sewing journey was driven by a desire for a sustainable and ethical wardrobe, evolving into a passion for empowering my creativity.

I launched a "Sip & Sew" pop-up series, where I hosted six events, bringing people together to learn and create. My long-term goal is to make this beautiful hobby accessible to all, encouraging individuals to explore textile art as a means of self-expression.

My primary goal is to demystify art, fostering openness among individuals to explore diverse avenues of self-expression and connection. I aim to make creative endeavors, such as sewing and large-scale projects like art quilts, more accessible to a broader audience. Specifically, with this project, I aspire to visually capture the essence of the Chicago El train and the city it traverses.

Meet Adrienne at the Harold Washington Library Center Maker Lab beginning in May.

Meet the Fall Maker-in-Residence: Christina Ernst

In my senior year of undergraduate at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, I found myself shuttled between my engineering professors’ classrooms as I pitched my goal again and again: I wanted to distill our department’s most cutting-edge innovations into…a book of craft projects for middle-school girls.

As a lifelong seamstress and a newly minted computer engineer, I was obsessed with teaching others how to combine these disciplines. To this day, teaching and open sourcing are core tenets of my maker philosophy.
I’m a 4-time award winner on for my free instructional content, and my tutorials have been featured in ‘Make: Magazine’.

I’m a senior software engineer my day job, where I also teach classes on laser cutting, vinyl cutting, and sewing.

My hope is that patrons interacting with the work, especially young girls who might have more traditionally feminine hobbies, can picture themselves as successful in STEM. The display would focus on eye-catching, moving, wearable tech pieces, paired with explanations or circuit “skeletons” that invite learners to investigate how the piece was made.

Christina will start her work at the Harold Washington Library Center Maker Lab in October.

About the Maker-in-Residence Program

CPL's Maker-in-Residence program invites a member of the Chicago creative community into the library to build on their digital fabrication practice, collaborate with the public, and explore approaches to making. The Maker-in-Residence is in its sixth year.

Learn more about Maker Lab equipment or check out our upcoming classes.

The Maker-in-Residence program is generously funded by the Chicago Public Library Foundation.