Welcome to TinkerLab!

Rachelle Doorley headshotHi, my name is Rachelle Doorley, and I’m so glad that you found TinkerLab. I’m a mother of two children, ages 4 and 6, wife to this talented guy, and we live in a small cottage near a big university in Northern California.

I’ve spent most of my career as a classroom teacher and museum educator in the field of arts education, enjoyed a few years as a costumer on Hollywood films, and now I write books about making, tinkering, and art.

We have an active Facebook page with fun inspiration every week, come chat with me in Club TinkerLab, a closed Facebook group (shhhh…) that’s filled with tinkering and making inspiration. You can also find me in my happy place, Instagram or sign up for TinkerLog, our free weekly newsletter. Or drop me a line directly at rachelle at tinkerlab.com

Five Things About Me

  1. I love the beach, but can’t stand cold water. This is a problem in Northern California where the beach is mostly foggy and the water is shockingly cold. My blood isn’t made for it, but my kids and husband flock to our ocean like seals.
  2. I planted the first geocache in Indonesia. Do you geocache? It’s super fun
  3. I’m originally from Los Angeles and used to have an art studio in the former practice garage for the band, Weezer. That city is a great place to be an artist!
  4. I lived in NYC for a summer. In a closet. It was a life-changing summer and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
  5. I studied costume design in college and worked on big Hollywood movies. The hours were crazy and while I miss the excitement of it all, I’m happy for to have a quieter life.

Teaching Philosophy

If you start to poke around my blog, you’ll notice that a theme of open-ended discovery and experimentation runs through a lot of my posts.

Here’s why I think experiments and a fail-forward mindset are important in childhood (and grownup-hood, for that matter).

1. Experiments teach children that there are multiple ways to approach a problem.

2. When children solve self-designed problems, they think for themselves and  build confidence.

3. Experiments remind me, as a parent, that I’m a co-learner and that I don’t hold all the answers.

4. The spirit of experimentation, exploration, and boundary-pushing is at the root of innovative thinking.

4. Experiments are fun and playful.

If you believe that there’s more than one way to do things, you’re attracted to the DIY culture, and you want to raise children who are confident thinkers, then TinkerLab is for YOU! I love the community that’s grown around these ideas and I hope you’ll feel welcome to join in at any time.

Thanks for visiting! For more about TinkerLab, head over here.

More Formal Bio

You know, in case you’re writing an article about me or something…

silly glassesRachelle Doorley is an experienced arts educator and community builder with a background in non-profit administration. She oversaw school programs at the San Jose Museum of Art, lectures on Visual Thinking Strategies at Stanford University, and worked on films with Warner Brothers and Universal Pictures. She designed a hands-on art curriculum for the San Francisco Children’s Creativity Museum and is an advisor to Kiwi Crate. Rachelle holds a BA in Theater from UCLA and a Masters in Arts Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.She’s the founder of Bay Area Bloggers, a founding member of 20 Moms, host of the Instagram parties #creativetable and #tinkersketch, and mom to two creative kids.

Tinkerlab has been featured in Real Simple Magazine (print), PBS Parents, Apartment Therapy, The Crafty Crow, Craft Gossip, Tip Junkie, Baby Center, Make and Takes, Parent Hacks, and Parent Map Magazine. Tinkerlab was named Best Local Blog by Red Tricycle San Fancisco and Rachelle was named a Top 25 Creative Mom at Circle of Moms.

Interviews + Articles

In case you want to dig a little deeper, these articles will give you a fuller picture of me and my pov.

Process over Product: Building Creative Thinkers in Art, Americans for the Arts

Bay Area People, A Natural Way to Dye Easter Eggs, KTVU Fox 2

Rachelle from TinkerLab on Museum Education, The Artful Parent,

TinkerLab Book Blog Tour, Q + A with Rachelle Doorley, Not Just Cute

First Person VTS: Rachelle Doorley, Visual Thinking Strategies

A Peek into Rachelle Doorley’s Kitchen, La Food Sitter

To find more interesting and creative activities and experiments for kids, check out the Tinkerlab Facebook page and Pinterest boards.

Literary Representation

I am represented by Erica Silverman of Sterling Lord Literistic (NYC). Contact: erica at sll dot com