The fourth season of Make48 is set to debut next week on Kansas City PBS — marking the maker-focused reality series’ return to Kansas City and chronicling some of the final days of life in a pre-pandemic world.
Front and center amid the creative chaos — which descended March 6-7 on Union Station for 48-hours of filming — was Whitney Manney, one of Kansas City’s rising names in textiles. As a first-time tool tech, she helped guide 10 Make48 teams through the ups and downs of competitive craftsmanship and the Season 4 mission to create innovative storage solutions.
“I was a little bit more involved with some teams than others, so I’m really excited to see a lot of their progress and how their projects turned out,” Manney said of the experience, which saw her lend her talents and advice to those vying for the competition’s $10,000 prize.
The premiere episode of Make48 is set to air at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 12 on Kansas City PBS, formerly KCPT. Click here to catch up on recent seasons.
“It was pretty hectic in the workroom,” Manney said. “You had some people who were debating what their choices were going to be for their projects, so there were still some people that were in the thinking process and there were some people that were ready to roll.”
“And of course, the people who are making it up as they go … I think that’s just kind of the genius of creativity, honestly,” she added.
Manney has reached a sort of creative high herself, she said of how she’s grappled with the impact of a new world forged by COVID-19 and its silver-lining opportunity to slow down.
“I kind of like to challenge myself, so I was like, ‘Alright, this is a good time,’” Manney laughed, stitching together the story of her quarantine experience, which has included an uptick in commissioned works.
“A lot of times I have to be in production mode — just to keep up with wholesale and retail,” she said. “I’ve been able to still do that, but also experiment with different materials and how I can use them for clothing and textiles, which has really been nice.”
Click here to learn more about Manney or to shop her current collections.
View this post on Instagram
#abundantaugust recap our joy deserves to be documented ☀️☀️☀️ I don’t have anything to deep to say about this month, all I knew was I needed brightness and reconnection. Incredible highs and exhaustion, really just want to keep US uplifted in these painful times. But, I turned 30, can successfully spin on skates + hit a few other tricks, accomplished my orders, experimented with new materials, ate a whole lot, laughed, cried, questioned…the full works ☀️☀️☀️ Thank you all for your nominations! I made it to finalist round for @thepitchkc Best of KC! Vote WM for Best Fashion Designer (option 18) and Best Fashion Line (option 1) under the category SHOPPING #WHITNEYMANNEY #WINNINGWHIT
In addition to lending her expertise to the production of Make48, Manney joined a March 6 Startland News-moderated fireside chat with creative experts — part of an invite-only VIP experience on-set at Union Station.
The conversation — which also featured Tom Gray, Make48 co-creator, and Jimmy Diresta, YouTuber and Make48 co-host — examined the importance of education within creative communities, Kansas City’s maker movement, and access to such resources as maker spaces.
“My sewing journey started selfishly,” Manney told the crowd, noting her 6-foot height made fashion a challenge. “I was like, ‘I’m going to make my own clothes,’ because I’m tired of growing out of them and giving them to my cousins — and they look cute.”
Resources like Make48 and local maker spaces help creative minds of all ages pursue similar goals, the panelists said.
Before COVID, Make48 planned to kick off the new season’s premiere with a series of live, education-focused events — including on college campuses and a Make48 community build in Las Vegas.
Ultimately, those efforts shifted in light of the pandemic, Gray told Startland News.
“Our much-anticipated series featuring leading YouTube makers will become the priority due to the smaller, intimate events at the maker’s personal, home maker spaces,” he said, teasing additional Make48 content to come. “This series can be executed and well-controlled while the pandemic keeps us all guessing.”