Attention crafters, makers, DIYers, and creators of all sorts of thingamajigs: there's a magical new TV show called "Making It" that will delight you more than a trip to the craft store.
"Making It," NBC's new crafts competition reality show, embraces all things handmade and it debuts on NBC on Tuesday, July 31 at 10/9c. Hosted by our favorite TV duo Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman, the hour-long crafting series features eight contestants who over the course of six episodes engage in some friendly competition, working their way to the final episode where one contestant is crowned the ultimate crafter.
Each episode revolves around a theme as contestants compete in two crafting competitions — a "faster-craft" that tests their speed and resourcefulness, and then a "master craft," which is more complicated and hands on.
Poehler is more of a crafting newbie, while Offerman is a talented woodworker who runs Offerman Woodshop in L.A., and has a New York Times bestselling book on woodworking. (Yes, those episodes of Ron Swanson building chairs on "Parks & Rec" was Offerman channeling his real-life passion.) The judges include Dayna Isom Johnson, Etsy's trend expert and communications manager, and Simon Doonan, the Creative Ambassador-at-Large at Barneys.
To celebrate what we imagine will be our new favorite TV show, we checked in with one of the show's contestants, Amber Kemp-Gerstel, the DIY queen behind the colorful, crafty blog Damask Love. Amber lives in Miami and was working as a clinical child psychologist before making the leap to become a full-time craft blogger. We sat down with her to get the scoop on the awesome new show.
Apartment Therapy: You love to craft and have a fabulous blog dedicated to the art of making. How did you end up as a contestant on the show?
Amber Kemp-Gerstel: They were posting casting calls on social media, and I had seen it, but had no intention of applying. But I kept getting emails from people saying, "You need to apply! You need to apply!" After getting like 30 emails and messages like that, I felt indebted to these people to apply. I thought, "Let me apply so when I'm not on the show I can tell them I tried to be on the show, but it didn't work out."
I applied on a Wednesday night and the next day I was at JoAnn's buying craft supplies, as one does, and I got a phone call from a casting producer who had gotten my name from someone else. It was like the universe had all the plans for me to be on the show. Honestly, I didn't think that I would make it. But my husband was like, "Oh yeah, you are obviously on the show."
AT: How does the series play out?
AKG: It's a competition, but Nick and Amy are super supportive of all of us. Maybe I'm a bad competitor, but if you went on the show with the purpose of winning then you really missed out on every part of the journey, because there was so much more to get from it than the prize at the end.
I went into it thinking, "Let me see what this can do for me, my business, and me as a maker." And, win or lose, I gained so much from my time there, aside from the possibility of winning.
AT: What is it like to spontaneously be assigned a project and craft under pressure?
AKG: I am not used to crafting under pressure like this. I have a lot more leisure in my real life. It's not easy when you are required to come up with creative ideas on the spot over and over again.
You see everyone—myself included—doing things that we aren't used to doing. We use materials we aren't used to using. It's the hardest thing I've done creatively in my life and from that I've learned that there is not challenge I'm afraid of anymore, because I know that I did that.
AT: Tell us about the other contestants. What kind of makers are on the show?
AKG: The biggest nerves I had were arriving to the show and not knowing who the others were. I'm someone who is active in the social and public community of crafting, and assumed I would know people.
The people who cast the show — I bow down to them — they did an incredible job. Not only did I not know anyone, but the cast is super diverse. Everyone who watches the show can identify with someone.
We all have different perspectives on making. I call myself a "crafter." Other people on the show call themselves "artists" and "makers." We all have a different approach to how we create things with our hands. But, we all speak the same language of crafting and making. We all have that in common.
AT: Is it as amazing as we imagine hanging out with Nick Offerman and Amy Poehler? What was it like to have them as hosts of the show?
AKG: Nick and Amy are two of the most normal, goodhearted, nice people. Some of the conversations I had with Amy felt like therapy. She is a mom; I'm a mom. We had conversations about what it's like to be a working mom and struggle with that.
Nick is hilarious, but also deadpan. He will say something to you and you can't tell if he is serious or joking. He is so supportive and really interested in technique and the approach you have as a crafter and maker. He asks a lots of questions that let you know he is interested in what you are doing.
Amy is the same way. She isn't a crafter, but wants to know more and learn more and she respects what we do. They were there in the most sincerest ways and were very supportive of us.
AT: That's really nice to hear. I think people wonder about authenticity when watching reality TV shows.
AKG: I had moments where I was emotional, where I was my funny and silly self. I also had moments where I was a diva and not so fun to be around. I feel like I was my authentic self.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and length.