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  • Catie Joyce Bulay

Behind the Scenes: In the brain of the new museum’s designer

Meet Rusty Lamar, owner of Field Magnet Design, a design firm that specializes in large-scale sculptural installations, and the designer we have been working with for the past four years on the new museum’s exhibits. We’ve been so inspired by the things Rusty has come up. We can’t wait to share them with you! We recently asked Rusty to share a little more about himself with all of you.


Rusty recently completed a rocket reading nook for the Winslow Public Library


Children’s Discovery Museum: How would you describe your job to a 5-year-old?

Rusty Lamar: I’d love to hear my job described to me by a 5-year old!

Kids love a good story, so I know I would need to embellish my answer to the full extent. Probably incorporating a mix of magic and wizardry with the act of charming poisonous snakes and befriending colossal man-eating jellyfish.

I try to make things and spaces that kids (and adults) are captivated by. There are a few examples of objects around our house that still hold my children’s interest, even after many months. I consider these small successes. One is a wire sculpture of a tightrope walker balancing on a string between two lamps. You can shake the string and it looks as though he’ll fall off the string, but he always manages to stay upright, as if he’s dancing. These objects create joy, and with the making of objects I try to elicit joy in the one who experiences them. In turn these smaller sketches inform the larger endeavor of creating places.


CDM: What did you want to be when you grew up?


RL: I still grapple with this question, even now as an adult. I never had the answer to this one, and refrained as a child. I couldn’t pick one thing – either a flaw in my character or a secret asset. I’m a victim of deep curiosity. I think I’ve heard it described as the tumbleweed syndrome – I roll around from one interest to another. The downside (depending on how you look at it) is you never become a master at one thing, but I make up for it in enthusiasm and an interest in learning new skills. I’ve had the good fortune to be offered opportunities to work a wide range of really interesting and rewarding jobs. My brother had the best answer to this question when we were asked as kids by a new neighbor who was trying to make small talk at a picnic. Without hesitation, he simply answered, “a dolphin.”


CDM: How did you get interested in sculpture and design?


RL: I’ve always liked to build things. The way some people get lost in a good novel, I get absorbed in the process of making something. What set me on a path of making and eventually led to my interest in sculpture and design were the Saturday morning trips to the town dump with my father when I was a child. This was before transfer stations and any real organized process of refuse. We’d drive down a long dusty road past sand dunes to mountains of loose garbage bags and random junk piles. Most memorable were the swarms of gawking sea gulls overhead with unrecognizable prizes in their beaks. Plus, the variety of smells that surrounded the space and the smoldering fires. It was a bonanza for the senses and massively exciting for a young boy. I’d search for weird loose parts, machines to pull apart, and materials to take home for building other inventions. That experience affected me on both levels of individual objects and materials, as well as the design and impact of multi-sensory spaces.


CDM: What’s your favorite thing about what you do?


RL: My favorite thing is seeing kids (of any age) engage with and enjoy something I’ve made. Eliciting laughter and big, genuine smiles always makes me happy.


Interior of the rocket reading nook


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