Prepare to meet your maker
[portfolio_slideshow size=full slideheight=200 navpos=disabled] Sounds sinister, doesn’t it, but I promise you, it’s anything but. This sort of Maker is someone you want to meet— inventive, creative with a penchant for discovery. On July 28th & 29th a Mini Maker Faire is coming to Vancouver Island, (Maker Faires take place all over the world) and I had the opportunity to chat with the coordinator Vanessa about what exactly a Maker is, what to expect at a Maker Faire and how the Maker movement originated.
What is a Maker?
“Maker” culture grew out of the Do It Yourself (DIY) movement and is based on the principle that ordinary people, given access to knowledge, skills and technology, can and will create extraordinary things. A ‘Maker’ can be any person or group who invents, designs, creates, and/or builds objects or information systems with the goal of learning, teaching, inspiring, or improving the state of the world. Makers are re-imagining how our world operates; from manufacturing and production, to farming and agriculture.
So what’s a Maker Faire?
The Mini Maker Faire festival is “the ultimate celebration of making, crafting, Do-It-Yourself (DIY), tinkering, hacking and sharing” at the Panorama Recreation Centre, Vancouver Island on July 28th-28th 2012. It is the first Maker Faire on Vancouver Island, and an opportunity for local Makers and DIY’ers to demonstrate their creativity and innovations to a Vancouver Island audience of Maker communities (science, crafters, inventors, engineers, hobbyists and the like), DIYers, families and youth – encouraging and engaging the audience to take part in the discovery and playfulness of Maker culture. It can be thought of as science fair meets craft fair with a bit of Burning Man thrown in.
And these take place all over Canada?
They take place all over the world. The inaugural Maker Faire was held in San Mateo, CA and in 2011 celebrated its sixth annual Bay Area event with some 100,000 people in attendance. As Maker Faire has grown in popularity and relevance, additional flagship faires were launched in 2010 in Detroit and New York City. Community-driven, independently produced Mini Maker Faire events inspired by Maker Faire are now being produced around the United States and the world, including an increasing number in Canada (Vancouver, Vancouver Island, Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto).
Who is behind these faires and when did they start?
Maker Faire is supported by MAKE Magazine and O’Reilly Media. Vancouver Island Mini Maker Faire is independently organized and operated under license from O’Reilly Media, Inc.
About MAKE Magazine:
MAKE is the first magazine devoted entirely to Do-It-Yourself (DIY) technology projects. MAKE unites, inspires, informs, and entertains a growing community of resourceful people who undertake amazing projects in their backyards, basements, and garages. MAKE celebrates your right to tweak, hack, and bend any technology to your will. MAKE is published quarterly by Maker Media, the division of O’Reilly Media Inc., that also produces the wildly popular Make: Online , CRAFT , the Maker Shed online store for DIY kits , books, and more , and the world’s biggest DIY festival, Maker Faire .
What kind of things would I see at a Maker Faire?
Vancouver Island Mini Maker Faire will take you through an inspiring, energetic and captivating exhibits including demonstration workshops, pyrotechnics, maker groups, interactive performances, roaming exhibitions and general “Happenings” for a small entry fee. Interaction booths are stationed throughout, centered around education: teaching people how to complete a circuit, spin wool, or create their own urban farm in their backyard. Kits required for the workshops, fees may apply, will be provided and include all materials needed to make a tangible object or device.
If I am a maker, how would I take part in one of the Maker Faires?
Most Makers will have their own table that they’re in charge of where you can show off your work, have information on your projects, provide interactive displays, and offer demonstrations and small workshops.
Are young Makers encouraged to join in at the Maker Faire?
Absolutely! There’s a Young Makers Zone which includes a table where budding Makers can bring their creations on the day and display them by donation, more of a traditional show and tell format. There’s also a Robotics club in the Young Makers Zone, amongst other childrens groups, and there will be activities, workshops, a bouncy castle/assault course and your Maker Faire ticket includes access to the Panorama pool!
What’s been your youngest Maker in attendance and what were they exhibiting?
We’ll have to wait and see who turns up to the show and tell table, but there are middle school students with the Robotics club and there’s a 10-year-old who will be demonstrating/making cardboard automata and showing others how to make them too.
I hear that you have “swap and shop” tables at your events, can you explain what that is?
If you have tools, craft supplies or perhaps some books you no longer have a use for, but perhaps they could be a gem for another budding Maker, we’re encouraging visitors and Makers to bring them along to the Maker Faire where there’s going to be a swap & shop table. If you have anything large, rare or otherwise exciting, let us know in advance! Profits will go to the Victoria Makerspace and we’ll likely have an hourly auction…details TBA!
What’s the craziest/most inventive thing you’ve seen at a Maker Faire?
Possibly the Disaster Area guys I saw at Vancouver who connected a children’s keyboard to a musical, flame-throwing vehicle!
Anything else you think we need to know about Makers and the Maker Faire?
The lead organization behind the Vancouver Island Mini Maker Faire is the Victoria Makerspace, a non-profit society in Victoria, BC that is devoted to helping people make things themselves. With facilities ranging from a woodshop to a fledgling metal shop (including a propane forge that will be at the Maker Faire with Nancy the Blacksmith!), an electronics test bench, a vinyl cutter, a laser cutter, a 3D printer, and the best beer fridge ever. If you want to make something, this is the place to do it! Recent projects include a multi-touch coffee table, quadcopters, and much more. At Maker Faire, we’ll be playing with lasers and you can see what our members have been making!