Gil and J.D. Zamfirescu say they feel lucky to have discovered “a few of our own passions early on in life.”

Which led both brothers to MIT, where Gil earned his degree in economics and J.D. earned degrees in computer science. Gil went on to found FertilGas, an initiative dedicated to sustainable energy technology in Honduras. And J.D. co-founded Appjet, which was acquired by Google in 2009.

“Our experiences growing up inspired us to create Workshop Weekend,” the Zamfirescu brothers say. “We think everyone, young and old, should have the opportunity to discover [their] passion, and that belief has driven us to put together Workshop Weekend: It’s a way to encourage that exploration of passions.”

Workshop Weekend you ask?  Workshop Weekend is a pop-up maker university.  Take (or teach!) 1-3 hour workshops on science, technology, engineering, art, and more.  The next full-scale Workshop Weekends coming up is:
» November 10-11, 2012 at Tech Liminal and other venues in downtown Oakland

HOWEVER…  We’re excited to announce a “mini” Workshop Weekend at the East Bay Mini Maker Faire! Workshops will run through the day Sunday in their room upstairs in Studio One.  Workshops include:

Accessorize Your Style: Clay Jewelry Making and Button Making

Patrick Schmidt is the owner of a brand new art gallery in Berkeley. The art of millefiori (pronounced mil-uh-fee-awr-ee) — employed in Patrick’s clay jewelry workshop — was first discovered in Ancient Roman times. The technique was subsequently lost for more than a thousand years until the 19th century, when a couple of crafty folks where able to figure out the process from scratch!

You’ll learn the technique in this workshop, and, as a bonus, you’ll be able to make your very own button.

Sewing Up a Storm! Machine Sewing, Hand Sewing, and Using a Serger — Halloween Style! (pictured above)

Michelle Adam — a magnificent fashion maestra specializing in scrapcycling, the art of repurposing old or worn-out fabrics into completely new items — is currently working on her master’s degree in fashion design at the Academy of Art University.

“I like to make a game out of it by trying to see how much I can create from irregular pieces of fabric that others would consider useless,” Michelle says.

Michelle will teach you three essential sewing techniques: hand-sewing, machine sewing, and using a serger. You’ll use your skills to sew together a Halloween-themed item which you can take home with you!

“One of the first fashion pieces Michelle ever made was a dress made entirely of Post-It notes,” Gil says. “It was meant to represent women’s ability to multitask, and one of her professors fell so in love with it that she bought it off of her!”

DIY Extraction: Getting Vanilla Flavor Out of Vanilla Beans!

Oakland-based Andrew Milmoe is a maker and educator extraordinaire. He founded the “Make:SF” community of makers and explorers, and has taught or assisted in over 100 workshops over the past few years.

You’ll take home a bottle of your very own vanilla extract to use in homemade cookies, ice cream — whatever you like!

FIND WORKSHOP WEEKEND UPSTAIRS IN STUDIO ONE.  See the SCHEDULE page for complete lineup and times.

The first time I went to Maker Faire in San Mateo was in 2008, as a performer with my band Toychestra.  Except for the time on stage,  I spent almost the entirety of my day (and indeed, each time I’ve returned) inside the Swap-o-Rama-Rama — a pavilion loaded with mountains of donated clothing to sift through, unmake, re-make and up-cycle.

But it’s not just clothes.  There’s sewing machines as well as freestyle use of buttons, ribbons, glue guns, feathers and googly eyes.  A veritable textile buffet!

My favorite part was the screen printing.  You just pick out an article of clothing from the stack, take it over and choose from one of the ten or so available screens.  Mr. or Mrs. ScreenPrint would swipe the ink that you like and Voila!  A super cool t-shirt for my son—and a much improved hoody for myself.

screenprinting station @ Swap-o-Rama-Rama

When we started producing the EBMMF my personal Maker priority was to ensure some kind of clothing mash-up section—especially because our Mini Maker Faire will happen on the Sunday before Halloween! Costume-O-Rama-Rama! So I did a little internet searching and discovered a bit about the inspired and fearless leader of Swap-O-Rama-Rama—Wendy Tremayne.  Here are a few inspired words from the Swap website:

In 2005 Wendy created Swap-O-Rama-Rama (to observe and respond to) some of the issues that perpetuate consumerism. It got off the ground with a grant from Black Rock Arts and now takes place in cities all over the world. It has repurposed hundreds of thousands of pounds of textile waste and transformed thousands of consumers into creators.   … At Swap-O-Rama-Rama objects are imbued with meaning as would-be trash is revivified with authentic, communal creativity and spirit.

This year, the East Bay Mini Maker Faire will stage our own Swap-O-Rama-Rama thanks to Wendy and her SORR sponsor YUDU (!  WooT!

If you want to play, just come on down on October 24.  It’ll be a great opportunity to make that ultra fabulous Halloween costume, remake some favorite clothing, or find and make some new treasure you can take home with you. And, it’s all FREE with your EBMMF admission!

If you want to help—donate some clothes—any womens/mens/kids clothing that still has some life in it. We also need sewing machines to use that day, volunteers to help with all the hijinks, and any extra materials, notions, trims or embellishments you can part with. Contact Corey for more details at

Swap-O-Rama-Rama by Wendy Tremayne is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.