Make Your Way to the Maker Faire

Baader-Meinhof is the phenomenon where one happens upon some obscure piece of information– often an unfamiliar word or name– and soon afterwards encounters the same subject again, often repeatedly. Anytime the phrase “That’s so weird, I just heard about that the other day” would be appropriate, the utterer is hip-deep in Baader-Meinhof. This post is about my most recent Baader-Meinhof experience-Maker Faires and Maker Spaces. I’ve been reading about them on the internet for a month or so, and had planned to write a post here about them when I’d gathered enough information. Then a blog I follow did a post about a big one in Detroit, complete with YouTube video, a Forbes Magazine did a story about  the Fayetteville, NY Public Library that is offering its’ patrons a permanent Maker Space, and today I literally stumbled across this:

The second annual Maker Faire will be held this coming Sunday, July 14th, at the Kingsport, TN Civic Auditorium, from 1-6 PM. The event is free and is part of the nine day annual FunFest. The following short article  may help you understand what it’s all about…

maker-faire-paellaAbove: Huge vats of paella at San Francisco, CA Maker Faire, May, 2013

“Maker Faires bring together families and individuals to celebrate the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mindset and showcase all kinds of incredible projects. At a Maker Faire, you’ll find arts and crafts, science and engineering, food and music, maybe fire and water but what makes this event special is that all these interesting projects and smart, creative people belong together. They are actively and openly creating a maker culture.”

“In its simplest form, Maker Faire creates conversations with Makers. It is a show-and-tell format for people of all ages that brings out the “kid” in all of us. Maker Faire is a community-based learning event that inspires everyone to become a Maker and connect to people and projects in their local community. Yet, Maker Faire is a “fair” which should be fun and engaging.”

“Maker Faire provides a venue for makers to show examples of their work and interact with others about it. Often there is no other place to show what they do, because these activities are out of the spotlight of traditional art or science or craft events. DIY often is invisible in our communities, taking place in shops, garages and kitchen tables. So the goal of the event is to make visible the projects and ideas that we don’t encounter every day. Maker Faire, like any fair, might include traditional forms of making but it is primarily designed to be forward-looking, exploring new forms and new technologies.”

maker-faire-r2d2R2D2 robots at San Francisco, CA Maker Faire May, 2013                       Note: There will be robots at the Kingsport Faire too!

” Maker Faire is interactive and educational in all kinds of ways. Maker Faire is not a passive sit-down experience; it’s a hands-on experience that you grab hold of. From simple conversations and detailed explanations to amazing do-it-yourself demonstrations, Maker Faire is all about participation and sharing. Many Makers develop exhibits with hands-on activities; others bring unusual objects that we don’t see every day. All of that creates a stimulating event.”

What Maker Faire is Not

“Maker Faire is not a trade show. Maker Faire is an opportunity for people to share ideas and projects. So Maker Faire is non-commercial in nature, in that we don’t want it dominated by traditional sales and marketing. We hope to create authentic interactions that satisfy each person’s interests. At the same time, we’re not anti-commercial. We are grateful to have businesses as sponsors. We also allow makers to show their work and offer items for sale. We want to help makers succeed in starting a business, if that’s their goal. However, we don’t want to change the look and feel or spirit of the event.”

What’s this got to do with Tennessee Transitions? Everything actually. I’ve spent a year and a half writing this blog about how a shift is taking place, how if we collectively plan and act early enough, we can create a way of living that’s significantly more connected, more vibrant and more fulfilling than the one we find ourselves in today. I write about how now is the time for us to take stock and to start re-creating our future in ways that are not based on cheap, plentiful and polluting oil but on localized food, sustainable energy sources, resilient local economies and an enlivened sense of community well-being. Somebody must be listening because Maker Faires are perfect examples of what I’m talking about, I just didn’t know that’s what it was called! 😀


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