the International Plastic Quilt Project – I gave them one of my Editor’s Choice blue ribbons!

Where to begin?

This is one of those megaposts that makes me sad, because it reminds me of how much activity just happened, and how poof, it’s all gone now. I’m still nervous with excitement – okay maybe that’s the late-night coffee talking – and unclear what exactly to say other than if you missed it, you seriously missed it!

It’s incredibly difficult to explain in a blog post what Maker Faire is: what it excites and instills in people, and how it operates. The best way to explain it is to participate in it, to see it live, and to flow through its channels. Maker Faire isn’t a thing that tells its Makers what to do. Instead, Maker Faire is whatever the Makers make of it! There’s a point at which the floodgates open and the crowds come rushing in, sure, but more-so than that there’s a point when the team who put it together kind of give it up, and let the Makers run the show! It’s really remarkable, really incredible, not something you find much of anymore. So much of society elsewhere is “curated”, orchestrated, composed. Maker Faire is LIFE. It’s fluid and organic and sometimes it doesn’t work – and when shit breaks down, you understand it that much better, and you hack it back into place!

And perhaps the most impressive element of Maker Faire was how it natively procured a platform of dialogue that is lost in so many other facilities. You could easily walk up to a complete stranger and ask them a question – be it technical or conceptual – about their project and get a response. They were there to talk, to exchange, and to expand the minds of those attending, to open up new possibilities through language and presentation. Here is this thing, yes, but now I will tell you here is why this thing is here! Ah-hah! That’s when it gets really interesting.

I really want to mention and caption each and every single image with its own essay, but that simply might not be possible. This page will never load and this server will crash if I tried to load all 400+ quality photos I took at this amazing event. Instead I’ll post a couple dozen now, and I hope to mention a couple more choice images and projects in the days ahead; because it’s pretty clear to me that as I twitch and type that I’m completely overwhelmed with the mass of experience I just encountered, I’m looking for a way to unload, and I want you to participate in the tidal wave of awesomeness that Maker Faire has to offer:

this is like one of those centrifugal spinning solar system devices, only GIANT and DIY!

a Make workshop about marketing your hand-made products

I gave the PaperBot one of my blue ribbon Editor’s Choice awards. Here’s a video showing the PaperBot in motion:

Kids having so-much-fun in the Young Makers building

Also, kids and adults alike could learn how to solder for just $1 – and you actually made a blinking LED device!

embedded arduino lilypad in fabric – wearable electronics

giant… cardboard… robot… AWESOME!

Madagascar Institute – from Brooklyn – Invents The Wheel at Maker Faire! I have yet to take this thing for a spin!

a custom bike wheel with embedded LEDs that display images as you cycle! in this case, the Matrix code.

a crafty theatre set for teaching middle schoolers the principles of stage lighting design and sequence-programming (cue calls, basically), driven by a MaxMSP patch with iCamera and servo-lights. Brilliant!

Angus operating the ShopBot… HI Angus!

hi Tramaine… Shouldn’t You Be… (Tramaine was the resident sign-painter and made some lovely hand-painted signs chock-full of info’mation)

lots of crafters at Maker Faire!

glowing boxes of DIY-whats-it-dos!

a solar charging station, reminiscent of gas stations of yore, for you to recharge your mobile devices with sun-ergy

learning basic smithing skills, taught by Oakland’s The Crucible

the Midway fairegrounds. And yes, that’s a rocket in the background. And yes, it’s 40′ tall. And yes, you could go in it. And YES, it’s capable of space exploration, they had all the knobs and dials and viewports to prove it!

Like I say, if you missed out on this you missed out on one of the most exciting events in this country. That’s saying a lot, but it’s also true that there was something for everyone at Maker Faire – from kids to adults to hackers to solar enthusiasts to gardeners to pyro-maniacs to music and performance. And it was all Do-It-Yourself! See you next year – I can’t wait!

More pictures on my full Flickr set!