Monday, June 17, 2019

North County Mini Maker Faire

Paul~ He is a friend and champion of Mechathulu, our frequently evolving robot beast.

Alex~ He brought his newest tent, with the temporary covering that I whipped up for the occasion.

Paul and Maria~ Maker Faire is all about making and sharing, but none is possible without good friends.

Simon, and his family, are here with Junkade.

Besides Mechathulu, we also brought the Infernal Percussion Engine, a glockenspiel that plays, powered with a bicycle pump!

Our robots are favorites with visitors, because we hand over the controls! And maybe you noticed? FIRST 2102 Team Paradox is at their first North County Mini Maker Faire... great outreach, Paradoxians!

Bex is a natural with needle felting, and she only got better! I love her chicken, and when she started a taco-cat, I had to make one, too.

Alex shared his woodworking art, and introduced robots.

William and Geoff have been making a lot of new experiments with resin 3d printing, mold making, developing metal alloys, and casting.

Maria and I had our hands full with our hands-on activity... teaching needle felting at a faire, to all ages and skill levels is a big undertaking! Bex was a quick-study and we soon had her help, too.

Michael, Darlene, Seth, Gary, and David~

Simon and Geoff~

FIRST 2120 Team Paradox's newly elected president of outreach can solder! Great seeing you at Maker Faire, Natalie!

William and I solder our own Makey Makes, too. And we hope these won't be our last... I am too sad to talk about this, just yet.

Gary, David, Michael~

Ido and Matt talk programming and 3d printing programmable robots.

Lucas and those clever little diy robots.

Here is something awesome... Maria's art and design, 3D modeled by William, and then cast in our own alloy of bismuth and tin. That's a Parrot Ox... Paradox!

Mike, Geoff and William talking about casting metal, and our own alloy mix, which we are calling BoomNerdium.

A nice thing about exhibiting a tent at a faire, is having a place where you can duck out for a bit.

And after the faire closes for the day, and we've secured our gear, we can treat ourselves to good eats and great company.

June 16 :: Day 2 at The Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum and Mini Maker Faire, on Father's Day
Before the gates open the makers have a chance to visit and enjoy each others' exhibits, and this morning concert with Bruce Thompson was one of my favorite times of the day. He took requests, and shared back stories about the music. It was beautiful.

Leslie and Bex got an introduction to Geoff and William's casting projects.

James< too, got to see firsthand what we have been up to lately. And we continued our discussion about the future of Maker Faire and our hopes and ideas, going forward.

One of the skills that goes well with needle felting is hand sewing and embroidery, and since it was a quiet morning, I had time and focus for teaching a couple of children how to sew little felt pockets and bags.

Maria has been exhibiting at Maker Faires since 2011, when she taught wet felting in San Mateo. This year she was very happy to exhibit something personal and all her own... her projects she made at home, and at school, in her metals class. The Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum has an awesome blacksmithing barn, and so there were plenty of makers and visitors to appreciate and admire her skills in metal working.

Doctor Artemus Peepers... aka Dean LeCrone (IG @deanlecrone)

Lucas, who we've met at Scratch Day, and Ido, the Junkade master... we're basically just hanging out with our friends, enjoying a nerdy Father's Day.

More samples of William and Geoff's projects with modeling, photogrammetry, resin printing, casting. It's all learning, making, playing, failing, trying again, and sharing!

And making new friends! Sitting across from Sawyer Cigar Box Guitars was lovely, because we were hearing little concerts all day.

Look who's here for some Father's Day fun... Paul and Amira. Another kind of making that's great at this event is definitely the food, like this roasted corn, and the corn bread they made in the wood burning oven from the corn they milled on site. We love all the making!

TACOCAT... thank you, Bex! Thank you AGSEM and San Diego Maker's Guild! Thank you, Maker Faire, for dreaming all of this up in the first place. Thank you, BOoMNerds, and all of our maker friends and family. Good things are better shared, and we love to make, play, and share.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Our Mission in Making

Our family began this Make club inspired by Maker Faire, and our need to address learning with consideration for neural-diversity. For nearly a decade we have been bringing our projects and hands-on activities to STEM and art events, and school functions, including Maker Faires, Burning Man, FIRST Robotics, Fanime, ComicCon, The Science March, and International Scratch Day. We also host our own events where we mentor and peer-teach sewing, soldering, metal forging, design, CAD, CnC, 3D printing, cooking, gardening, art, sculpting, crafts, crochet, wool felting, embroidery, cosplay, shelter making, electronics, programming, construction, and robotics. We love to make opportunities for sharing skills, and helping people find answers, support, and resources for making things. We especially want to support young people, and people with limited resources and opportunities. We do all of this out of pocket, in our free time, between schools and jobs.

A few years ago I found a box of note books in a thrift store. They were small and plain, and what I consider very handy, because of their size, and being well made, but not so expensive or fancy that they were too precious. I love small things and notebooks, so I was super stoked about my find. Then I started using my Scout books and felt a greedy panic! I loved them, found them convenient and helpful, and I worried about finding more, and whether I’d have to conserve the few I had. Fortunately, I discovered more in shops, and breathed a big sigh of relief.

I use my Scout books to gift, and for travel notes that include important numbers, flight info and reservations and then each book can become a little scrap book of the trip, and I add stickers and any ephemera I collect, sketches, and observations. I have a Scout Book for birding, and another with class notes for oil painting. They slip in my small purse, or back pocket; compact and convenient!

This is not a paid endorsement. No one asked me to promote Scout Books. I just happened to find them on IG today, and it got me thinking about our club branding, how we present Benevolent Order of Makers on social media. We had a logo for our initial blog and club, when we were "Love & Rockets, Art & Engineering." But for years we have been promising ourselves an updated logo, business cards, a Look. And those thoughts lead me to revisiting ideas about who we are, what our club means to us, and where we would like to go. I've been a bit neglectful of this blog, but posting quite regularly on IG at @BOoMNerds... this seems like a good chance to revisit our mission, our ideals, here on the blog, and to share my thoughts on considering using Scout Books as a tool and outreach connection.

When we mentor, or share our projects, we love to instill the idea in people’s minds that their interests and ideas are worthwhile and achievable. No matter the age or skill level of the people we are connecting with, we want them to feel encouraged and capable, and so we put tools in their hands, we listen to them, and explore their ideas with them. I’m thinking of how nice it would be to put a Scout Book into a child’s hands and say, “Let’s make a drawing of your idea, and write down some thoughts. An engineer, an artist, always keeps notes.” Our notes, our ideas and plans, written down, committed to paper have such a dignity and permanence; it gives us credibility, some empowerment. In Benevolent Order of Makers, all of our projects begin with a conversation that inevitably moves to paper where we sketch, doodle, write lists, make plans, and Scout Books make an ideal tool for this stage of the process.

For myself, I have found that when I feel unsure or tentative, I write small, I draw small. Sometimes, children feel their lack of expertise means they aren't capable of contributing, or having a "legitimate" voice in a process. A Scout Book is small and intimate, a private and personal space, and with its quality of design, it gives credibility and "officialness" to a person's ideas and efforts. I’m thinking about ordering Scout books to use as a tool, a calling card to represent our mission and ideals. I like to believe that it would be a nice way to introduce our club, and it would initiate and support what we believe in, what we want everyone to believe... we have good ideas, we can develop plans, and learn, we can make, we can play, and we can share.