Manchester Mini Maker Faire 2012

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I’d never heard of Maker Faires until the middle of June when I happened to see a closing date alert Tweeted by @VoiceofMOSI (Museum of Science & Industry, host of the faire), I think I might be cultivating a small addiction now.

Maker Faires are a massive show & tell of anything you you make, or tinker with.  It can make you money or not, the idea is to share & inspire.  I really had no idea of the scale until Saturday morning – I’d dumped my stuff on Friday evening, & a golf course was being built in the room next to me.  I genuinely thought I’d have a couple of days to tidy up some projects, finish some & try out some new ideas.

Nope, I finished one necklace, I’ve started a ring, I did 3 rows on my #foolsproject. And I talked, and talked, and talked.  I’ve been blown away by the interest people have shown in my little beads, something I started as a distraction from my brain over 4 years ago.  I could have sold it all to the bus load of Japanese schoolgirls by Saturday lunch, and maybe all over again by the end of today.

Saturday I was pretty much glued to my table, but even in our quiet crafting corner the atmosphere was amazing, Sunday I resolved to go and have a look for myself. I donated a couple of lonely earrings to “The Chandelier of Lost Earrings” I had a play on Chris Ball’s Laser Harp, absolutley beautiful. Stuart Dunbar’s Automated Universe also gorgeous. I wish I’d had time to play on more, Rubbish Revamped has some great little projects. 3-D printers abounded, making perfect little Yoda heads, and human sized games ruled the roost, I had a go on human sized operation – shan’t be training to be a surgeon that’s for sure & the kids had their first taste of etch-a-sketch by Hackspace Manchester.

But really, honestly, the atmosphere & enthusiasm was the best thing of all, some of the exhibitors go to loads of Faires round the country & there was a real community feel, everyone was so welcoming & happy to chat that you are quickly welcomed into the Maker “family”.  An especial thank you to Lizzy Astro for looking after me from when I dumped my stuff on Friday :D .  I guess this is because people are showing off a passion, a thing they love to do, there may, (or mostly) may not be a commercial reason behind it, so there is no false salesman vibe, just genuine “hey, look at this cool thing I do”.  This then has a knock on effect to everyone coming to see the Faire, normal shyness seems to disappear & people will leap in with questions.  As I said, I really wasn’t prepared to be talking so much.

So, things I would do differently? I’m going to get some proper graphics & labels sorted, some “how to” sheets & kits so people can have a go. I might make a little video & set it up on a portable DVD player, or the tablet as when you’re talking it’s hard to demo, especially with a table.

I think that means I’d do it again.  I would definitely recommend visiting one, & if you make anything I would endorse having a go at exhibiting. I’m so fired up with ideas now, I just need more time!  I think I might be a bit addicted.

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