Why I am a Maker

Last year I jumped at the chance to have a booth at the first ever Portland Mini Maker Faire at OMSI. Having just published a book earlier in the spring I knew the faire would be a great opportunity to demonstrate some of the crazy projects I’d come up with and sell the book itself. This was the first time I’d done a festival so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. OMSI held a couple planning meetings for us which really helped me wrap my head around the prep work. And there was always a very nice person in a blue shirt nearby during the event to help out, which came in super handy when I forgot the wifi code.


Since Criminal Crafts is a satire craft book based on the idea that super villains and master spies can have fun making projects too, I thought a Mug Shot Photo Booth would be a fun thing for people to try out. I brought lots of costume pieces and let folks write out what fictitious crime they’d been busted for, “too cool for school” or “stealing Mars” and of course, “Hipster”. It was a hoot.


We all lucked out with gorgeous weather that weekend, fairly typical for fall in Portland. While one might expect a tech heavy crowd at this type of event, there were all kinds of makers with fans and booths from a variety of fields: small rockets, shoe design, blacksmithing, chocolate fabrication, knitting, 3 D printing… with so many different cool attractions, there really was something there for everyone.  Since the crowd attendees had such a wide variety of interests, I found myself talking with all kinds of folks I don’t normally get exposed to in my more specialized writing niche.

It was fantastic to see Portland throw down with the best of the techies too from the club run booths like Portland Indie Game Squad, to amateur robotics, Legos and rockets. Unlike craft and art shows where participants go all out on fancy booth construction, the Mini Maker Faire was all about content and the things happening inside the booth was what really got folks engaged. OMSI was the perfect host venue with other science happenings in the buildings around the parking lot. My own kids had only planned to come for one afternoon but there was so much to see they begged to come back on Sunday and made a full day of it.


I’m super excited to be applying again this year where I hope to be doing something new- sharing booth space with FH Steinbart Co. the country’s oldest home brew supply shop. They’ll be doing brewing demonstrations on one side of the tent with smart knowledgeable folks on hand to get you started making your own beer, wine and other fermentables. I’ll be at the other end demonstrating cool ways to refashion your empty beer cans and bottle caps into crafty items and selling my new book Beer Crafts. Counting the days to the next Portland Mini Maker Faire? You bet I am!

APPLY TO BE A MAKER! Learn more about this year's Portland Mini Maker Faire

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Totally coming this year, Shawn.


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