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.