Sunday, May 27, 2012

Maker Faire 2012, Day One

We are going to peek into Maker Faire, Bay Area, 2012.

Only a peek, because there is so much, so very, very much, that a single post in one blog could never fully share all of the marvels and wonders that are Maker Faire.

We begin, at a sort of beginning. Not exactly the part where we drove, all the way from San Diego to Santa Barbara, camped, made our way to Nepenthe, then drove directly to the gates of Maker Faire, barely in time to get our passes, check in and have a pre-show glimpse. Not exactly. But, yes... let's begin at the pre-show glimpse. We enter the fairgrounds, as the Makers are test driving their rides, fine tuning their robots, carrying tables, dishing up a complimentary paella dinner!

And we realize... this is going to be big. Epic. Better than we hoped. We arrived earlier than in years past, we were staying longer, new friends joined us, and for the first time Love & Rockets would be participants, too!
This is photo-laden, long post. I am not apologizing for that. I'd rather apologize for what I have not included. I have two three intentions here:

1. To make a photo album for Love & Rockets, and our friends and family who helped us get here.

2. To spread the message: S.T.E.A.M.M. education is vital, we want it, we need it, we make it, we share it. Science, Engineering, Art, Music and Math, in the hands of makers, tinkerers, and thinkers is awesome.

3. To convince you to find a Maker Faire, start a club, embrace a hobby, make something! As Adam Savage implores us, "Make what you can't not make!"

The Young Makers of Marin. We featured them and their amazing Saphira in a short video. Now they've come with the much anticipated Viper, a flight simulator inspired by Battlestar Galactica... do watch this promo video they produced!
Who knew Daleks are so huggable?

Early arrival, as participants? Definitely, a must.

Good morning, Love & Rockets!

Present: Max, James, William, Alex, Maria, Bambi, and Eli, Natalie and Geoff.

Arriving soon: Suki, Grant, Cameron, Jame's mother, Robin, Isaac and his cousin, Hannah, Michal and Kellie, Bill, Alison, Dom, and Marissa!

New, next Year!?! Jarret, Bobbie, Michael, Patricia, Filippo, Karen, Luca, Cecilia, Corina, Caia, and Chris? You? We hope so.

The man with the Iron Wooden fist! Everywhere you turn, you will see something amazing, and some things just make you stop and ask, "How did you do that?" "Can I take your picture?" And you find yourself meeting an enthused, creative, curious person who is more than happy to share. He modestly described his last minute decision to make something to bring to the Faire.

He opened a panel, and explained how it was working, how he wanted to improve it. He had us eating out of his hand! This guy! Design and function, and coolness. Maker Faire!

We asked to be pictured with him, because he is so cool. And funny thing... as we are finishing, we hear "Can I get a picture?" So we tried to clear away from the Wooden Robo Hand man, but the person wanting a picture was actually asking to take our photograph!

Isaac! Hannah! We met up, in the same place as last year, and jumped right back into sharing the awe and wonder of all the Maker Faire sights.

Like making envelopes and sending hand written letters through the generous and always uplifting St. Claire Aeronauts! They have welcomed us aboard every year, since our very first visit. Thank you, St. Claire Aeronauts!

Maria wrote a very long letter, and the Aeronauts generously and patiently provided all the supplies, support, and encouragement she could hope for.

New creations, re-creations, all creations... behind every tree, everywhere you turn!

Some are giant!

Some wave back! We Like Giant Cardboard Robots who wave back!

See you around!

Tea, anyone?

It's impossible not to imagine building an art car after a day seeing riding reclining chairs, cupcake cars, tea pots on wheels! Let's go!

Also cool? Buds! Best buds, forever. It's awesome running into friends. You squeee together, exchange recommendations,sqeee again, and make plans to meet later. I sent them off to meet the group that built a submersible, and their captain, a world renowned giant squid expert... sqeee!

Now, let's build a fire! Or try to, at least. It's a bit harder than you might realize. If you feel your wilderness skills could use some honing, some sharpening, then you may want to go to camp, with the Trackers of Trackers Earth.

They say, "The ancient skills are coming back," and we say, Yes!

We also say yes! to King Kong and Jaws doing the high five, 'cause it's nice.

Robin and James. Also nice. Very, very nice.

Hey! Look! It's Marshall! And Max! They've popped in to remind everyone to leave a comment at Chickenblog, for a chance to win a brand new toy- Skallops! Skallops are a clever little tool for building fantastic structures and creations with playing cards. The drawing is May 30th... go, throw your name in the fez!

Whimsical? Fantastical? Fanciful? Colorful? Is there one word for this? We could describe it forty-two ways, and hardly reach the end.

The day began with giant wonders, and as we made our way to the meeting spot at the end of the day, we found ourselves, again, standing with giants.

"We'll meet at the Hoops at eight-o'clock," that was the message we passed around. And everyone who had come before, remembered the hoops from last year.

And what better way to finish Maker Prom than with music, rhythm, swaying, and friends?

Is it any wonder, after last year, we were inspired to make our own hoops? Big hoops are big fun.

James little friend used his hoop for time travel. Pretty much anything is possible with this crowd.

Our group is gathering, the sun is setting. We're making dinner plans... but the fun doesn't stop.





and roll!

Everyone finds the meeting place. We'll all go to dinner together.

A beautiful smile. A beautiful day.

Kellie shoop-shoop-hoops. I think she'll come back next year. Don't you agree?

Maker Prom, and a reunion. James has returned from Massachusetts... time to catch up, talk story, share the hoop.

Meanwhile... Max sustains his spin marathon.

And Michal finds his groove.

Even after the Faire, we will recount all the moments we shared, the ideas we formed, the beliefs we abandoned. We will make new plans, too.

Maker Faire... it's like traveling in time, and space... the S.T.E.A.M.M. exists here, this day, we bring it with us, and we take it out and spread it. I am going all poetic, profound... ten hours with fifty thousand engaged people wakes your brain and enlivens everything, including the deep thoughts, and other musings!

Permission to Make, Play, Tinker. Do you remember the feeling you could be anything, try anything? You were an artist, a firefighter, a Ninja, a chef? You still are. Maker Faire reminds me that I can still try, play, experiment, fail, seek help, try again. What a gift.

We like to believe that the Faire never actually packs up and leaves. It is waiting for us, and we will return.

Hey, Grant.

Hands, hands, sticks, and drums. Beating out one last tune, before the setting sun.

Last dance. They're closing the gates.

It's eight o'clock, friends. And our first day at Maker Faire is done...

though we have not nearly run out of fun.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Make a Choice

Kellie and Michal, Natalie, Maria, Eli, Geoff, Bambi and Alex, James, William, Suki, Isaac, Max, Cameron, and Grant

We're back!

Not really.

Emotionally, spiritually, we are still at Maker Faire, the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth.

This is our third visit to the Faire, and I don't mind saying, it just keeps getting better! We've got new friends coming, and we presented as Love & Rockets, our awesome Make Club. Maria, Eli, and Alex made great demonstrations, and everyone helped bring it all together... lovely teamwork. The only problem is deciding what to share, in what order... actually, I know I will share it all, so brace yourselves for the impending epic display of mind blowing Maker prodigiousness.

As for the question of what order to post the many topics of epic, mind blowing Maker prodigiousness... well, I am hoping you will help me in this decision. So, allow me to share some initial peeks and hints of the wondrousness of our journey in Maker Joy, and by a show of hands the first post about Maker Faire will be decided by the readers, You! Remember: vote early, vote often. And here are your choices:

Option 1: Conventional.

We can begin at the beginning. I'll try not to get too philosophical. Who can say when things really begin? But, yeah. At some point we got on the road and started driving north, and we call that "the beginning." A lot of prep went into pulling this off, and it wasn't exactly easy reaching the point where I felt "ready," but eventually we packed children, tools, and hopes, and left for Maker Faire!

Option 2: En Route.

What makes a girl leap for joy? What can you build with found treasures on your way to Maker Faire? What is kinetic art? We didn't wait to arrive at Maker Faire, to begin our Maker fun.

Option 3: Why is this, S.T.E.A.M. inspired, young man so happy?

(Yes, "S.T.E.A.M.," not S.T.E.M.) Who did William see, and hear, speak, live!! at Maker Faire? It's no Myth, the man is super charged for Maker Faire and all who make, just like we are!

Option 4: All the Young Makers.

Sure, there are pros at Maker Faire, big names, and big companies, but we love the Young Makers! We love sixth grader Silvia Kacic and her Fairy Wall House. We love eight year old Alex Yu, and his chess piece, the KightQueen. We love Love & Rockets entrant #7982! The future is now, and these Young Makers are going full S.T.E.A.M.M. ahead. Let's give them the tools they need to show us what they can Make!

Option 5: Think, Make, Tinker.

It's our friend, Gever Tulley from the extraordinary school, BrightWorks! For us, it all began with Five Dangerous Things. He's an inspiration.

Option 6: Max and Skallops.

You're curious. You're looking at Max, appreciating his creation, and his broad, bright smile, and you're wondering: What are Skallops?! Skallops are just one more totally cool, fun, innovative, and inspiring Make experience that we could not stay away from! Vote today. And stay tuned for an awesome Chickenbloggiversary Skallop giveaway. (The crowd goes wild!)
Option 7: Roominate.

This one is about girls and science, technology, engineering, art, and math. There it is again: S.T.E.A.M.M.! So what have the women of Roominate come up with, to inspire girls to pursue education and careers in engineering? Let's see if we can Kickstart their plans!
Option 8: Neverending Maker Magic.

Vote for the random, the unique, the wild and wonderful neverending magic of Maker Faire, and I will post just a glimpse of the fantasies come true that ride, glide, slide, and guide their way throughout the Faire.

Okay. Vote! I gotta go clean out the RV now. Wha-whaa. I'll just console myself by pretending that it's really just fun preparation for next year's Maker Faire.