Everyday, I pass by my sewing machines that sit so sadly in the corner, frowning at me for the months of neglect. Poor things, I used to spend late nights with my serger, crafting up a new dress to wear the next day. I moved into my current living situation way back in November, and I still haven’t set up my sewing space, so my machines have been living in the dining room. So sad, but true. I blame my lack of creative juice on my lack of creative space, which is further blamed on my lack of creative time. I get stuck in the rut of daily life, doing things that need to be done just to get by, like washing dishes, vaccuuming, and shopping, of course. Because of life’s constraints, time, work, or whatever it may be, we sometimes forget to spark the creativity within ourselves. But sometimes, all it takes is a little inspiration from others to boost our own motivation to get creative, and just recently, I had my creative juices rejuvinated. I trekked to the mecca of creative spirits: the Maker Faire.
When I try to explain the Maker Faire to people, I tell them that it’s like a science fair gone mad. Pretty much anything you can imagine, and everything you can’t imagine, is showcased for you to be amazed at. The faire is put on by Make Magazine every year, and lucky for me, one of the locations is in the Bay Area. The faire calls for “makers” to come and show off what they’ve been creating in the lab, and the variety of projects is unlike anything you’d find at your elementary school science fair. I’ve been volunteering for the event for 5 years now, and each year, there is always something new and exciting. Whenever I get a chance to step away from the sewing madness that I’m involved in, I am completely and utterly so overwhelmed with all of the crazy sights and sounds. Faire-goers can test out products, learn new skills, or work on a project. Yes, a major part of this event is to turn everyone into makers! To me, a geek girl at heart, Maker Faire is like Disneyland, but to the nth degree.
Seriously, you can walk around and wonder, “What was he thinking to make that?” or “How in the world did she put that together?” From the practical, to the crazy, to the artistic, to the top of the tech, there is so much to see. In order to give you an idea of what was going through my mind as I walked around, here is a jumbled running list of what I saw:
Mobile cupcake cars, Cyclecide: bike-pedaled rodeo and carnival games, life-size Mouse Trap board game complete with bath tub, fire-breathing sculptures, lock-picking workshops (my daughter is now an expert!), a giant swing set, Steampunk City, remote-controlled LED shark, R2D2, a Wii-like graffiti wall, cutesy craft booths, giant Tesla coils, a human-powered music stage, clothing swap with sewing machines, real deal Battleship, and live silk-screening (thank you very much).
And that’s only a small fraction of what’s featured there. You can even run into random crafters and geniuses and learn a thing or two from them while waiting in line for some paella. You will be amazed at how much brain power can be contained in one place at one time. If that isn’t enough, crazy costumes and get-ups will give you a fashion fix. Don’t have anything cool to wear? Why not make it there at the fair? Seriously, with so much to do, it only makes sense to make something to bring home.
This type of event caters to anyone that has a sense of wonder. So many different scenes are represented at Maker Faire, from the computer geeks to eco-friendly fashionistas to even the hyphy boys on their scraper bikes. You just can’t hate on the cool things you can see. Sadly, some people lose their sense of wonder once they hit puberty and become too cool for anything. I love working with children because their sense of creativity and wonder is always on. They can take have the craziest idea in their mind and draft a plan to make it happen. The makers at Maker Faire must all still be a kid-at-heart, because their wonder never grows old.
Geek gals, if you, too, would like to make the trek to Maker Faire, you don’t have to wait until next year. There are faires coming up in Austin, Detroit, and New York. Prepare to be amazed.
Now that I’ve had my dose of inspiration and motivation, I can’t wait to see what my hands will make. But first, I have this sink full of dishes to conquer…
Image layout by Trina.
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