OAKLAND – The one thing 13-year-old Mohandas Duewa wanted more of at the East Bay Mini Maker Faire was time.

More time, that is, to experience the entire event — all 180-plus makers and dozens of performers who on October 22, 2017 brought their fire, silk screening, air compressor canons, paper airplanes, robots, hip-hop dance, glass blowing, homesteading and other creative do-it-yourself projects to the day-long festival at Park Day School and the city of Oakland’s Studio One Art Center.

“When I heard about it I thought it was going to be boring and just listening to people talk,” Duewa said. “But it’s actual things right in your face and you could make stuff. I mean, fire coming out of a gnome’s head? I wish I had more time to see more.”

The East Bay Mini Maker Faire is “mini” only because it’s smaller than the 100,000 person,  three-day flagship Maker Faire Bay Area held in May at the San Mateo County Fairgrounds. The Oakland event attracts more than 6,500 people of all ages, and makers from around northern California.

While some of the broad themes of robots, rockets, science, crafts, and homesteading have remained constant in the faire’s eight years, the variety of exhibitors and new makers is what keeps Vera Leo of Oakland coming back.

Leo has attended four East Bay Mini Maker Faires and this year jumped in as a maker — she performed Japanese drumming with her all-women group, Heiwa Taiko, whose members range in age from 53 to 83 years old.

“I love talking to the various vendors because they are all so passionate about what they do. I was just telling some older friends that they really need to come here next year even though they don’t have children,” she said.

The faire’s variety of booths allows faire-goers to be as hands-on or hands-off as they want. The stage offered dance battles hosted by Turf Inc., allowing anyone to come on stage and show their hip-hop moves, or just enjoy the performances, while other makers showed off their solar vehicles, and sound-responsive LEDs; and anyone could learn to solder, shape alabaster by hand with sandpaper, or take a ride on a Frankentrike.

Makers were just as varied as the attendees. Several East Bay schools brought their projects, such as a chicken coop virtual reality environment, and a human-scale hamster wheel. Other youth hosted bubble experiments, built a BMX quarter pipe, showed competition robots, offered origami lessons, and shared a homemade race car simulator. Adult makers offered lessons on quilting, ceramics, leather work, and ham radio operations.

What draws the depth and breadth of makers is the ability to “show and tell” their projects in an engaged and appreciative community context, said Sabrina Merlo, who produces the event.

“Maker Faire is awesome because makers are right there, next to their projects, and you can ask them anything. In many cases, you can even try your hand at some part of their making process,” Merlo said.

“The makers’ passion and engagement is contagious,” she said. “Adults and kids alike leave inspired, even optimistic about the world and the impact one creative mind – and set of hands – can have.”

It’s going to be a gorgeous day tomorrow!  Fall in the East Bay—and surrounded by the best, brightest, most creative!

Here’s some reminders of what to bring:

  • Your tickets, either printed, or downloaded to your mobile phone.
  • Some extra cash/credit cards for the awesome food trucks, beer booth, and crafter shopping.
  • Clothing or items to screenprint at the Grease Diner screenprinting booth.
  • Plastic toys & figurines to donate to the Toy Hack booth—and then to hack!
  • Clothes to transform in the Swap-O-Rama-Rama.
  • Hat and/or sunscreen, as a lot of the event is outside.
  • A water bottle to help you and yours stay hydrated.
  • Your bike! Free bike valet parking on 42nd Street – come in style!
  • Friends! They can still get tickets here & pre-purchase day-of tickets before hitting the gates.

Those especially prepared will have scanned through:

Remember auto PARKING is limited and biking and walking and transit are just more fun anyway!

Gates open at 10 a.m.  See you in the morning!!

Spend the day activating all of your senses at five acres of hands-on fun!

The East Bay Mini Maker Faire is a daylong celebration of Do-It-Yourself and Do-It-Together creativity in a high-energy community festival. Activities include operating robots, trying the high-rise sport of “crate stacking,” welding, needlework, stretching mozzarella, playing in virtual reality, and learning to build amphibious tricycles.

The wide variety of activities makes this is THE place for people of all ages to explore their curiosity, discover new hobbies, and enhance their understanding of how things work.

Just a sampling of booths:

  • For the budding musician, the Oakland Symphony’s Petting Zoo gives you the opportunity to explore string, wind, brass, and percussion instruments. Pluck a string or toot a horn to find out how they work!
  • Bring out the woodworker in you with a plane, saw, chisel and hand drill. Supervision is provided by an experienced woodworking instructor.
  • For the foodies, there are demonstrations with cheese, kale, honey, and plenty more on the Homesteading Stage.
  • What’s a maker faire without robots and rockets? We’ll have plenty of both, including hands-on building and big battling bots.
  • And so many more ways to explore science, art, and your own creativity with a toy hack, sewing, coding, rocks and minerals, and even the physics of motion and gravity with pendulum painting.

 

And, if seven awesome hours of East Bay Mini Maker Faire fun isn’t enough for you, consider this: there is ample research showing the benefits of hands-on making. Deeper learning happens when it involves hands-on activities, because we are more engaged and different areas of our brains are activated. Besides, when is it EVER a bad idea to learn something new?

 

By day, Scott Parenteau works as a commercial welder who runs a sheet metal fabricating business in Sacramento. By night, he dreams up and creates vehicles and large-scale kinetic machines out of metal. This year, the East Bay Mini-Maker Fair welcomes Scott and his robotic pod house, which he describes as an attempt to make the world’s smallest home for two people. We caught up with Scott to find out more about his designs and his Maker philosophy.

What led you to create the robotic pod house — possibly the world’s smallest home for two people?

I have always been fascinated by micro homes and started wondering how small I could design a metal dome house. The robotic pod house is the result of that experiment. It is an extension of my work, which is also art that can be lived in — such as my frightening walking machine, the Tinspider, which is actually just a not-so-scary RV with legs. Although the pod house is more art than function, it may be a glimpse of what a home of the future may look like, especially if you were living on the moon or Mars.

You’ve credited Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome and Theo Jansen’s Strandbeest as influences. What inspired you in each instance?

My brother built a dome in our backyard when I was about 10 years old and I’ve been fascinated with Buckminster Fuller’s domes ever since. In 2011 I decided to design my first dome using formed metal panels that could be easily bolted together. It worked extremely well and I have been using this design as a base for all of my other dome and pod projects. In 2012 I wanted to make a dome that was both mobile and edgy, kind of a mutant-camper-vehicle that I would bring to the Burning Man festival that year. While researching a method to move an entire dome house, I discovered Theo Jansen’s amazing Strandbeest linkage. Merging a Buckminster dome and to a Jansen Strandbeest leg system seemed to be the most obvious and the most difficult thing I could do, so I had to give it a try!

I understand you had the opportunity to meet Theo Jansen when he was in San Francisco recently. Tell us about that – how did he react to your use of his “leg” design?

In June 2016 I was invited to bring my Tinspider walking machine to the Exploratorium in San Francisco as a display next to an exhibit of Theo Jansen Strandbeests. This was a huge honor! Theo was there to speak for the opening reception and I had a rare chance to meet him in person. It’s still hard to believe I got a chance to speak with one of my greatest heroes. I pondered what first question I should ask a living legend, and eventually I asked him if he hated me for mechanizing his beautiful wind-powered linkage. He said, no, and that he views all of the transformations and mutations of Strandbeests as part of a natural evolution of the Strandbeest species. I guess that would make me unwittingly part of the Strandbeest reproduction system, which is kind of deep when you think about it.

What are your favorite things about being a featured Maker at a Maker Faire? What do you hope kids will get out of interacting with your pod house at the East Bay Mini Maker Faire?

Being a featured Maker gives me the awesome opportunity to show kids that metal work can be both fun and a vital skill to use in making their own amazing creations. Metalworking is slowly becoming a lost art and I hope in a small way I can help change that by displaying my machines and discussing the fabrication processes.

 Why are Maker communities important these days?

You can never really know if an idea works until you actually build it. What I find exciting about the Maker movement is that it gives the knowledge and tools to the tinkers among us who can then turn their ingenious ideas into something the whole world can benefit from. The Maker movement is fueling a Renaissance of amateur geniuses.

 

“Forges roar, sparks fly, glass bends, neon glows, and creativity explodes!” This is the mantra and invocation of The Crucible, Oakland’s iconic fine and industrial arts center. Known for its collaborative, hands-on classes for all ages in blacksmithing, welding, glass blowing, fire dancing, and much more, The Crucible is a nexus for the vibrant local arts scene and a pillar of the maker community.

“The Crucible turns arts education upside down in some ways, because we don’t canonize it,” says Kristy Higares, The Crucible’s director of administration and strategic initiatives. “You just need to come and be willing to learn, and by collaborating with your fellow students and instructors, bold creativity happens naturally.”

Founded by Michael Sturtz in 1999, The Crucible and its cohort of maker-teachers have cultivated a mission that values bold creativity and arts access for all. Crucible classes and workshops draw youth and adults from all over the Bay Area and beyond for hands-on experience in everything from jewelry making to timber framing. Summer programs, youth leadership programs, team-building workshops, and fire ballet and fashion events add to the Crucible’s kaleidoscopic repertoire. Today, The Crucible is the nation’s largest nonprofit industrial arts center.

This year the East Bay Mini Maker Faire welcomes The Crucible back for another interactive suite of activities. “Our blacksmithing, foundry, and jewelry departments will all come out to the East Bay Maker Faire,” Kristy says. “Our foundry department will be offering a hands-on activity in aluminum sand casting, where visitors can design their own mold in sand, then watch as molten aluminum is poured from our Hello Kitty furnace into their molds. Visitors can also create a unique copper stamped charm or pendant with our jewelry department. For all the fire lovers, we will also bring our signature ‘fire poofers,’ providing explosions of fire for all curious passersby. The East Bay Mini Maker Faire is dear to our heart, as it happens in own backyard, and truly represents the intersection of our artistic communities.” 

Join us tomorrow, Thursday September 7th, for a fun, FREE gathering of the East Bay maker community!

Your chance to:

  • Ask questions about what the heck it is to be a “maker” – or what exactly is a Maker Faire?
  • PITCH crazy ideas & let’s see if it could work!!
  • Submit your application to participate in the 8th Annual East Bay Maker Faire — happening Sunday, OCTOBER 22, 2017
  • Share some snacks and raise a glass THANKS TO DRAKE’s BREWING CO. with your fellow makers!

All this and more, happening at Ace Monster Toys – a great makerspace in North Oakland!

RSVP on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/events/115836432414324/

Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017
7-9pm
6050 Lowell Street
Oakland, CA 94608

flight3Unleash your inner Maverick, Goose, or Ice Man in the cockpit of an F-35 fighter jet—or a simulated version of one, at least. FLIGHT Next Generation is an innovative flight-simulation system that lets you experience the rush of the cockpit without getting a pilot’s license. In addition to getting a feel for the intense multitasking pilots flight2must master—tracking speed, monitoring fuel levels, and watching altitude (while also avoiding enemy fire)—you can familiarize yourself with authentic cockpit instruments as you virtually navigate the open skies.

FLIGHT Next Generation’s creator, Andre Barton, is making his East Bay Mini Maker Faire debut, having only recently discovered the maker movement. He learned about it from a neighbor, who encouraged him to check out Maker Faire Bay Area. Little did he know that inside the gates he would discover a whole community of kindred spirits, not to mention a legion of new fans. Don’t miss your chance to join their ranks: check out FLIGHT Next Generation in person at Sunday’s faire!

screen-shot-2016-10-22-at-10-35-58-pmCannot wait for the morning!  The show site looks amazing already.

Check out the program and map.

Reminder… What to bring:

  • Your tickets, either printed, or downloaded to your mobile phone.
  • Some extra cash for the awesome food trucks, beer booth, and crafter shopping.
  • Clothing or items to screenprint at the Grease Diner screenprinting booth.
  • Plastic toys & figurines to donate to the Toy Hack booth.
  • Clothes to hack in the Swap-O-Rama-Rama.
  • Hat and/or sunscreen, as a lot of the event is outside.
  • Your bike! Free bike valet parking on 42nd Street – come in style!
  • Friends! They can still get tickets here & pre-purchase day-of tickets before hitting the gates.

Those especially prepared will have scanned through:

But lots of folks will just show up at 360 42nd Street, buy a ticket, and see what happens.  And that’s great too.

Either way, see you tomorrow!  The gate opens at 10 a.m.

foodtrucksIt’s time to talk about the food options present at the fair to feed your hungry selves while your minds are busy at Making!

There will be something for everyone to relish whether it be gourmet pizzas, tasty burgers, refreshing yummy sushi, scrumptious tacos,  mouth watering Indian food and the list goes one. For those with a sweet tooth there are a few dessert food trucks options as well to keep your taste buds happy!

Here’s our list of food trucks that are already committed to being present at the Faire.

Spicy, salty & peppery savories

foodtruckimage

Chocolaty, sugary & frosted bites

sweet-final

Note – do bring cash or cards; there will not be an ATM onsite.

See you Sunday!!

educatormeetupEducators! Don’t miss the maker educator meet-up at the East Bay Mini Maker Faire. Explore strategies for designing maker-centered learning experiences with others. $5 advance tix, includes lunch. (Please share with your educator friends!)  Register here:  https://ebmakerfaire2016.eventbrite.com?discount=EDHACK16

Thanks to Agency by Design Oakland and the Abundance Foundation for supporting.

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