Monday, September 26, 2011

Maker Faire New York

So this post is behind the times but as soon as we came back from New York there was oodles of work to be done. I don't think you can really put into words the awesomeness of Maker Faire and even taking pictures of the place is hard to do so I'll focus on some favorite parts.

While in my booth I spotted this guy wandering around. I pointed and Scott immediately went off to photograph him. The weekend involved a lot of pointing and running off to catch something.

First off, the Bust show was great and I had a blast talking to all of the customers and meeting so many that wanted to talk shop and getting to see why some of them were there (from hackers to robotics teams). Tadly was welcomed warmly and everyone was totally down with the whole plush/animation thing we have going on with him and Abigail. We shared a tent with a lovely gal named Francesca who makes awesome cards that she hand cuts from vintage magazines and the like (we came home with a few). We actually ended up being 1 tent away from the metal dragon that I posted about earlier and that thing did not disappoint. I was excited about it after seeing the video but you really can't comprehend this thing unless you see it in person. Actually, I won't even mention anything more about it because it kind of needs it's own separate post.

The show is in and surrounding the New York Hall of Science. The grounds are actually where the '64 World's Fair took place so peppered throughout were buildings and statues from that event. The Faire is in zones and we of course were in the craft zone. In the Science Hall you could wander through the museum and stop at tables set up throughout. You could make paper cranes, catch a speaker (Scott saw John Hodgman!) or you could enter a darken room and play games that people had developed or watch other crazy stuff made out of lights and strings or people playing instruments with gameboy parts.

My favorite thing in there was a group that made lights for bike tires. They had a simple set for $50 and then were showing off entire wheels that have text and pictures on them (like a monkey running). I tried getting video but my camera was too slow. Outside was a sprawling mass of tents both big and small. There was a Maker Tent where you could learn to solder, make a flashlight, lock pick etc. There were lots of high school robotics teams showing off their creations. People were there with crazy bikes you could ride around. You could be pushed on a giant swing that was constantly "raining", only stopping when you passed through. A team was showing off their work with making a robotic arm work with only your thoughts. And you could sit down, be hooked up with electrodes and try it out for yourself.

It was exhilarating to be around such a large mass of people who were exited to make things and learn. Sometimes I get a bit bummed being around others who seem to not only not care about how the world works but actively mock people who are trying. Trying to learn, comprehend, interact with the world around them, make things, anything that will make the world or even part of someone's day a little better or just more exciting and fun. This place had none of that and it was wonderful to behold. It made me exited to be doing what I do and it was just great to walk around and have everyone marveling and sharing all sorts of ideas.

My favorite scene I witnessed that summed up the spirit of this weekend involved a bike (or two) tricked out to be a moving cart. The pirate riders would stop occasionally in the crowd. This time they stopped in front of the metal dragon and the rocket statue. One pirate passed out foam swords and encouraged attacks on himself.  A second rider antagonized the children and adults from inside by poking out of various windows. Mostly everyone would focus on the riders but occasionally they would branch out. I witnessed a wonderful fight between a mother and daughter. When the pirates were "beaten" they rang a bell, the swords were given back and off they went.

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