Similar to the medieval markets of a well fortified village, craftsmen, artists, builders and people who know the business end of a trebuchet are getting together in just a few weeks to show off their mad skills. Unlike the good old pre-industrial age, though, this faire has a decidedly tech inclination, with robot builders, Arduino programmers, 3D printers and a whole mess of folks who do cool things with LEGO bricks demonstrating what their eclectic organizations and businesses are up to. As a craft teacher and author, I’m super stoked to check out what my neighbors have been constructing and be one of the participants in Portland’s first ever Mini Maker Faire.
The best part of an event like this is actually talking to the real folks in my community face to face. My studio is in my house, it gets pretty darn lonely and I spend a silly amount of time on-line to get my creative inspiration fix, chatting with folks in forums and on facebook and twitter. For some of us, this will be the first time we’re actually meeting our cyber friends, and there is nothing cooler than getting to handle the goods and run your fingers across the real Corinthian leather.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be burning the midnight oil and overheating my glue gun, putting things together for my booth space. Along with selling my book, Criminal Crafts, (which features projects based on old mystery novels, gangster films and spy movies) I’ll have kits for sale – DIY Mexican Wrestler Masks and Grass Head Sock Buddies which folks can fill with dirt and seed at the Faire and take home, and a whole mess of other cool projects made from the book like Voodoo Doll Pincushions and Pulp Fiction Necklaces. I want the space to be interactive too, so people don’t feel like they’ve got to spend anything, just stop in and mess around, so I’m making a mug shot photo booth and have been raiding the costume bin for the best of our noir props. Pretty sure this will be a hit with the kids, since mine have been monkeying around in the suitcase every day since I started stocking it up.
Come Maker Faire weekend though, I don’t expect I’ll be seeing too much of my kids since there will be so many other awesome things for them to do- help build a set for the ballet, watch computer and laser demonstrations, learn about rockets, listening to the theramin, meet wandering super heroes… and while there might not be anyone there to sell them a bag of magic beans, I wasn’t kidding about the trebuchet, or the chainmaille maker, or the swords… About the author: Shawn Bowman is a Portland based author and maker, comic geek, noir vixen and lover of science things she doesn’t understand. Her website is www.criminalcrafts.com.