Sunday, July 29, 2012

We Are Everyday Makers

Today, in Detroit, thousands of thinkers, tinkerers, hackers, and makers are at Maker Faire. They are immersed in a place, a culture, where invention, creativity, curiosity, and innovation are not only recognized, but celebrated... a place where failure is an option, but not the end of the journey. Thinking back on our trips to Maker Faire, Bay Area, I feel excited for those thousands of people, especially the children, I feel reignited about the Make culture, and our own Young Makers, Love & Rockets, Art & Engineering.

This year we arrived at Maker Faire, as Love & Rockets, Art & Engineering, our own Make Club, and an Academic Club at SDA High School, founded by Alex Van Valkenberg. Three of the club members came ready to share their projects. In total, there were seventeen of us, traveling in caravan, flying in, and meeting up, to share two days of Make awesomeness. The experience was phenomenal, the inspiring effects long lasting. We are already deeply immersed in new projects and full of bright ideas for next year.

There is still a lot to share about our time at Maker Faire. I am eager to post about the projects our Young Makers demonstrated, as well the amazing contributions of other Young Makers. Besides Maker Faire Detroit, something else compelled me to share memories of the greatest show (and tell) on earth... something Maria was tinkering with, yesterday...

Maria built a castle... the tall cylinder perched on the tower is the king. She made a pendulum which she will let swing at the castle, hoping that her structure will leave the king safe and standing. Save the King! Design, curiosity, physics, construction, engineering, fun, initiative, independent play, resourcefulness, and recall.

Recalling something challenging and fun she did at Maker Faire, while visiting Gever Tulley and his extraordinary Brightworks School station. It was interesting to look back and see the original concept for Save the King, and appreciate how much it of she remembered and wanted to recreate at home.

The building pieces are rubber bottle stoppers, and there's the pendulum, the red king is sitting atop his tower. At the Faire, this exercise was fascinating to her. She built the castle at least four times, four different ways. She was engaged not only in the design, but in the question: what will happen? No one answered the question, the answer was in her own experience.

And the cool thing is, not only did she enjoy this moment, the process and experience, but she brought something home, too...

She made it her own. And like Adam Savage says, "Make what you can't not make." In other words, don't resist the urge to make something, just because someone thinks it should be justified, profitable, purposeful. No one suggested this to her, no one asked her "why?" It doesn't matter... which, conveniently, matters very much to us. So we all gathered to witness her experiment.

She decided her first pendulum was too light, and asked for help to find something heavier. Geoff drilled a hole in the handle of his brass mallet, and we looped a ribbon through it: much heavier pendulum!

Maria constructed a new castle. And employed Geoff to hold the ribbon of her pendulum.

Ready, Set...


The king stands! But what I see is Maria's absolute delight with the success of her design, with seeing her idea in action... this matters very much, to everyday Makers, like us.

Thank you Make, Maker Faire, Gever Tulley, Tinkering School, Brightworks, and Adam Savage.