We had the good fortune of connecting with Jacob Muehlhausen and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jacob, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
My work has grown over the past few years by slowly building trusting working relationships with likeminded people who can rely on me to deliver in time for the “show.” I am not modeling my path after anyone else before, but foraging forward with what I feel in my gut to be the correct way for my time on this planet. Life is a buffet and I can have sprinkles on my spaghetti if I want, never limit yourself with traditional boundaries. In addition, gone are the days of being able to be an expert in just one trade. Understanding and respecting the history of specialized trades and then remaining flexible to new methods of fabrication keep me nimble and humble. I constantly am learning new technology and skills to be able to innovate my work. Sometimes a mundane skill I use while sewing becomes the key to success while 3-d printing. Innovation is all around us.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a bit of a Jake-of-all-trades coming from a family where my father was in construction and my mother owned a sewing store. My family was always taking on a remodel or some sort of do-it-yourself project. I never realized how unique the act of making something (that wasn’t from a kit with instructions) was. I remember my parents not batting an eye at 15 year old Jacob taking over the living room to construct a folding 14 foot palm tree out of cardboard tubes and hand painted paper for a school production I was a part of. The tree looked great, and it popped up nicely on cue every night of that show. These skills brought me to the North Carolina School of the Arts where I studied Theater Set Design and learned to fabricate with new tools and materials and to meet deadlines and budgets. The lessons I learned in theater set the foundation for success in any situation: when is opening night, what is the budget, what is the story, and how is this supposed to make you feel? These questions can be applied to nearly any situation to be able to understand the root of the problem in order to come up with a solution that meets the “audience’s” expectation as well as yours.

The work I now do is the culmination of years of creating emotional ‘wow’ moments that I pour into tangible items using innovative tools and materials. I find little satisfaction in doing something that someone else is doing, I thrive in projects where the outcome will be something innovative and new. I apply this to nearly everything in my studio and I love to share the things I make with anyone who appreciates hard work and having fun.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
What is amazing about the spaces in LA is the nearly infinite opportunities for amazing experiences. I have had some of my best times here at the most random or spontaneous locations. For a sure-good time I always recommend an afternoon at the Broad Museum where the entire experience has been orchestrated for the viewer to experience art that is a mix of contemporary and classic and takes into account how best to absorb that energy from so many great works of art. If that sounds too stuffy, head over to the Museum of Jurassic Technology and relax in their Tula Tea Room before examining micro mosaics or paintings on grains of rice. For food, LA has some of the best vegan food on the planet. I would start with breakfast made at home with the help of the Farmers Market in Studio City on Sundays, then a greasy burger at Monty’s in Echo Park for lunch, and then dinner would be some of the best all vegan ramen and sushi at Gokoku in North Hollywood. The evening would be spent taking in a good drag show and dancing at Precinct in DTLA. The next day would include some hiking in Malibu or the many scenic mountain vistas in Pasadena overlooking the splendor of LA. The amount of beautiful and secluded hiking trails within a short drive of such a bustling city is one of my favorite parts of LA.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
When I moved to LA, I thought that I was going to have to be prepared to be super competitive and fight for my voice to be heard amongst other creative people within this market. I was incredibly mistaken. Perhaps I have been lucky, but time and time again someone established in the industry will take a chance and give me a job, or give me some advice, or even help me meet a deadline. Never before in all the places I have lived has the generosity of the creative community been more abundant than here. It is a generosity that I try to pay forward whenever I can. Armando Farfan taught me so much about metal work, acrobatics and brazing. Johnny Wujek and Marco Marco approached me and we have all been collaborating on some of the most ridiculous projects imaginable. Willam Belli and Trixie Mattel both know to call me if they need anything from a jewel encrusted headpiece for a TV show, an oversized lightweight wrench for a runway, or even a customized go-kart pink jeep for a show-stopping convention entrance.

Website: www.handmadebyjacob.com

Instagram: @handmadebyjacob

Facebook: handmadebyjacob

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