We are 3D printing, vinyl cutting, crafting, pen plotting, electronics, digital design, and Open Source enthusiasts.

Heidi Blanton

Heidi Blanton is a contract User Experience Designer and Researcher passionate about research, genealogy, design, and crafting. Her academic background is in Music. She also has a Master's degree in Library and Information Science, which has led her to a career in UX design, where she applies her research skills to create better websites for her clients. Heidi's love of genealogy has also led her to begin her studies for a Master in Genealogy at the University of Strathclyde. She sees all her degrees and careers as an intersection of each other and her passions.

Before she got into crafting, she enjoyed sewing her wardrobes at home. During the pandemic, with more time to learn new things, she had some ideas for creating a few gifts around genealogy, starting with things like mugs. At some point, she wanted to figure out how to do these things more in-house, so this is really where the interest in vinyl cutting, printing, and heat pressing began. What started with a small cutting machine large enough to make a card has grown to a large machine, a mug and shirt press, and a couple of printers.

Heidi's experience working in libraries, living in a culturally-rich place like London, and working with clients across various sectors, including food, medicine, and finance, has fed into her lifelong love for learning. She believes that the experience she has gained over time has helped her to become a better researcher and designer and is happy to share her enthusiasm on any of the areas that interest her.

Forge & Craft is a joint project with her husband, and they are happy to be at Wimbledon Art Studios, growing and learning new skills together. She also owns her consultancy as a contract UX Designer as Sapphire Stream, and is available for research in genealogy and family history as heidi go seek.

Andy Piper

Andy Piper is a technologist, educator, writer, and public speaker. He holds a Master of Arts in Modern History from Brasenose College, Oxford, and he is self-taught in coding and technology.

Andy's love of computers began in the 1980s. His first hardware project was hacking a pair of Walkman headphones into an 8-bit Acorn Electron! The emergence of affordable hardware with an educational focus (e.g. Arduino and Raspberry Pi) during the past 10-15 years has enabled Andy to continue to work at the intersection of hardware and software: building fun projects, and showing and teaching them to others.

Building his own systems and solving problems naturally led Andy to the Open Source Software movement, which is an ongoing passion. The combination of this code with Open Source Hardware platforms, has enabled opportunities such as consumer-level 3D printing. Andy is developing skills in this area as part of the Forge & Craft collaboration.

Professionally, Andy spent 10 years working as a technical consultant for IBM in the UK, and went on to build a worldwide reputation as a public speaker and developer advocate over another decade at companies including VMware and Twitter.

He is ⅓ of a weekly podcast, Games at Work dot Biz (available in all good podcast apps); helps with the "Makeroni" hackspace meetup at Wimbletech in Wimbledon; and loves to tinker with LEDs, and retro technology.

Andy was named in the Open UK New Year's Honours 2023 as amongst the top social influencers of open technology in the UK. He continues to work in online communities, and provides guidance and mentoring to help others to understand complex technical concepts.

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