software (& non-software)
that loves paper


Hello!! I'm Victoria, aka vrk! I live in Brooklyn, NY and I am a software engineer who loves paper. (For my engineering resume, see LinkedIn.)

Pouch Studio is my independent creative lab. I make zines, I make software, I make machines, I make tools, I make crafts, I write. Pouch Studio is my home for this work!

When I leave the house, sometimes I look like


But at home I usually look like

Here are my areas of interest these days:

🔨 Paper as tool

I am fascinated by paper as a medium! I am a software engineer, and I love software and all the conveniences it brings, but I do not think software is always a more convenient and effective form than paper.

Software excels at providing infinity: infinite choices, infinite chances, infinite undos and redos and undos again. But infinity has its downsides: infinite content, infinite distractions, paralysis and isolation in a sea of noise.

Paper is decidedly finite. It is tangible, it wrinkles, it ages. It remembers your pencil strokes, even after erasing. I think of these as "qualities" of paper rather than "limitations"; they are part of what enables paper to solve different problems than software can.

For instance:

  • I can only fit so many to-dos on a sticky note. Is this always a bad thing?
  • When I draw or write by hand, I can only erase and start over so many times before the paper starts to deteriorate. Is this always a bad thing?
  • If I print out a recipe on paper, I can still grab it when my hands are covered in flour. Is the same true for a recipe on my phone or laptop?
  • On Pinterest, Instagram, and TikTok, I can save unlimited pins, posts, videos and hoard infinite inspiration. Is this always helpful? Contrast this with a physical corkboard that only has so much space. What if I pinned my inspiration there?

I think paper is often overlooked as a flexible and powerful surface, especially in the tech field, and I'm interested in how paper can complement our increasingly complex digital lives.

🧸 Software & hardware as toy

I love making machines whose only point is to make you (or me) (or us) smile.

📖 Writing for readers

I love writing that is easy and fun to read. When you receive my newsletter, I want you to feel excited to open it. I want you to read it quickly without effort. It shouldn't feel like eating vegetables!

️Similarly, with Pouch, I strive to make a magazine where it's common for someone to read every single word in the issue. It should be a joy to read, the way you look forward to the next episode of a beloved TV show. This shouldn't be so unusual!

🩵 Hand-crafted and heartfelt

I love things that are clearly made by a person, whether it's software, an email, a drawing, a note. Woven within these handmade things are layers of expression and personality imparted onto from its creator. They provide a connection between creator and the viewer that can be surprisingly profound.

Along those same lines, I'm pretty uninterested in most* applications of generative AI. (And I'm against the use of generative AI that has been trained using the work of artists without their consent.) I think a lot of generative AI is like those TikTok face filters, but for your words, drawings, and thoughts. I don't think using a filter is "bad" per se, but your face through a filter is also not your face.

I want to make it easier for people to make handmade and heartfelt things - not through auto-generation of such things, but by the same thoughtful tools, knowledge, instruction, inspiration and community that has helped me grow my own artistic practice.

*I'm not saying all AI is bad/uninteresting, generative or otherwise.