Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Portland's Mini Maker Faire

Last weekend was a crazy one for me. I flew down to the Bay Area (California) to be a bridesmaid for my best bud Katie's wedding. It was gorgeous, by the way. Seriously: gorgeous! Anyway, this meant leaving my husband and son at home for the longest we've been apart since he was born - two days. The boys did great - I even came home to a clean house and a very sweet card. Love you guys!

Anyway, when they picked me up from the airport Sunday afternoon we wanted to grab some of the weekend for family time, so we headed over to the OMSI parking lot for Portland's First Annual Mini Maker Faire! And it was pretty awesome.

For those who haven't heard of them, a Maker Faire is a bit like a craft show, a bit like a science fair, and a bit like a giant show and tell. Sponsored by Make magazine (which I highly recommend), Maker Faires are a place for makers of all kind to show others what they do. This means there are crafts, science, technology, food, demos, art projects, games, information booths, and all kinds of fun stuff. Anyone who is making something or helping others do-it-yourself is a maker and welcome! I'm so excited that Portland has our own now!

We didn't get there early enough to see everything, but I definitely wanted to share some of what we did see. The whole faire was seriously inspiring and made me want to run home and make all kinds of stuff! Ok, here's a few highlights:

moving cardboard animal display
 These are called Kinetic Creatures and they're like awesome cardboard robots that you can build yourself. They can either be moved by crank or by little motors. So cool! I want one as a pet!

kids booth light sound piano
This is a circuit piano at the Intel Labs booth. It was very cool. You hold onto the metal part of the clipboard, then when you touch the keys you complete the circuit, which played the note and lit up the colored lights at the top of the board. Max thought that was seriously awesome. They were also giving away really cool sticker sheets to let kids design their own machines.

OMSI physics lab exhibit
Of course, OMSI had a strong showing, what with it being right on site and all. They moved a bunch of their mini-exhibits outside, including this bellows organ from the physics lab (one of Max's favorite rooms inside).

steampunk display table
There were some really amazing crafted goodies there too, such as this impressive steampunk array from Tanenbaum Fabrications. They even had a make your own jewelry area to help folks make earring and such with resistors and other fun bits!

mini cupcake truck
By then it was time for a bit of a break. Ours was fueled by Hungry Heart Cupcakes for coffee and, of course, cupcakes! My coffee was great (Stumptown - yum!) but I've going to have to hunt that truck down again for another Dark & Dusty cupcake - dark chocolate, cocoa nib, dulce de leche, and sea salt. Omigoditwassogood!

musical instrument hardware sculpture
If you've noticed Max's train obsession, it shouldn't be too surprising that he fell in love with this booth. That train is amazing! It was just one of the spectacular sculptures at the Musanicals booth. It was really hard to pry him away and, in fact, we had to go back and visit it again before leaving.

western martial arts kids sword training 
Along the back row, near the water and the trebuchet (which launched every hour!) Max found another favorite exhibit - the sword fighting area. The wonderful guys with Academia Duellatoria even found him a "sword" he could hold. He now insists he want to learn sword fighting. Mommy's so proud!

smithing demo forge
Right next door was a blacksmithing shoppe, with a blacksmith actually making nails as we watched! Very impressive. Makes you really appreciate the effort that used to go into every little thing.

chainmail jewelry booth
Did you guys know I make chain maille? Well, I do, but the jewelry especially at Full Circle Chains was really beautiful. I was trying to come up with an excuse to buy something, but didn't manage in time.

buckyball geometric construction game
Aren't these cool? They're geometric constructions made with the pieces at the ITSPHUN booth. Max was amused, but I loved it! Yay geometry!

There were a lot of other amazing exhibits, like the robots over at the FIRST robotics arena, the rockets at PunkRockets, and the cool survival skills demos and archery at both Rewild Portland and Trackers Earth. I would love to do each and every one of their camps!

Really, I can't possibly mention every cool thing we saw, and we were only there for a few hours! I can't wait until next year's Faire. Who knows? Maybe you'll see Tansy Dolls there! I highly recommend looking up the Faire in your area and going or even participating.

What makes you a Maker?


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