Tuesday, October 29, 2013

She's Crafty | East Bay Mini Maker Faire

We went on a field trip! A fun-filled, creative feast-for-the-eyes, whirlwind of a craft adventure and we've put together a field report.

Craft Adventure Field Report 001
Event: East Bay Mini Maker Faire 2013
Where: Park Day School and Studio One Art Center in Oakland, California.
Participants: Kaye, Malia, and Selena.

The East Bay Mini Maker Faire is modeled after a larger event known simply as the Maker Faire. Both celebrate creativity, innovation, learning and sharing. And while the Mini Maker Faire is named so because it is a fraction of the size a Maker Faire can be, let me tell ya - it's not really very mini. From flying robots and walking pods to walls decorated with fabiric-cover hangers and makers teaching how to screen print, this event had it all!

To get and in-depth account of what a Maker Faire is all about check out Lori's amazing blog posts, Maker Faire, Part 1 and Maker Faire, Part 2.

Now for the reports...

Malia: Back Entrance Overload and a Nerdy Derby

Set on the campus of Park Day School in Oakland and the adjoining grounds of Studio One Art Center, The East Bay Mini Maker Faire was nestled inside a residential area. We parked at a separate school campus down a small car-lined street and were already confronted with the cool and wonderous.

Murals made by students at Emerson Elementary

Surprisingly, we still had not glimpsed anything of the actual Faire itself except for the busy streets and streams of people walking towards something cool--you could see it on their faces. As we walked down the street and came around a corner we could see why: following heads turned toward the sky we saw a flying robot buzzing overhead, we heard cardboard boxes crashing and the screams of triumph as kids played Angry Birds IRL (in real life), merchandise calling my name under white canopies, colorful pennant flags, aquariums full of water plants...and this was the back entrance!

We got our little maps out and left it up to my niece what to do first. Selena is 18, but like her aunt she likes to make anything vaguely sword like so when she saw Duct Tape Swords we navigated the campus through a few wrong and right turns, down an incredibly packed area known as Food Truck Alley, and found the craft tables over-populated with munchkins half our size. We watched for a bit and planned to come back later.

Then we spotted the Nerdy Derby and watched kids push their hand made cars with fun names like, "Car" and "Death Wave" down tracks built on top of playground slides.

Kaye: Lady of Glass

One of the things I really enjoyed was watching a lady making beautiful beads from molten glass. She had lots of glass rods, each one a different color, laid out on her work-table. She wore special glasses to protect her eyes from the glare of the torch she had set in a clamp directly in front of her; and, with a hand to each side, she twirled the glass rod in the flame with one hand while holding a mandrel with hot glass wrapped around it in the other. Then, every once in a while, she would take the hot glass and mold it against a metal plate she had close by. It was like magic! A shape was taking form! I wish I could have stayed longer to see what the final bead would look like. But, Malia and Selena beckoned me on to explore other wonders. One day I hope to do what that lady had been doing...she had made it look so easy, I just knew I could do it too. I know that lots of things look easy but aren't, but I want to try it anyway. Just once.

Malia: Glovetopus and FIRE!

After scanning the crowd for a bit I spotted a sign for the Glovetopus. I've made a stuffed glove creature before but never a Glovetopus so I had to check it out. That's when we crossed a courtyard area dominated by a tall contraption with what I thought were arms capable of spinning and tanks of propane...ohmygosh, that's a thing capable of FIRE! We waited while the guy in a top hat and his buddy fiddled with nobs, grabbed a sledge hammer and asked for people to line up. The first kid came into the ring and hit a wooden lever much like one you would find at a carnival. Without knowing what to expect, the large burst of fire and heat was surprising but very, very cool!

For now, this is the end of our field report. However, we have so much more about the East Bay Mini Maker Faire to share, so stay tuned and stay crafty!

Kaye and Malia


  1. This looks so cool! I'm interested in going to a Maker Faire one of these days so I can see all of the cool things!

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