Long time readers will know that I am a big proponent of Maker and DIY culture. In other times and other places people grow up with this culture and it is natural for them. I think it also becomes natural for the Tradespeople around us and those that grew up with parents that made things.
For a lot of us though if we want something we need to buy it, if what we want cannot be purchased then we are out of luck. I know going to elementary school the sentiment was that if something was homemade then it was somehow worse than if you bought it at the store, regardless of merit or quality.
Changing that mindset was a revelation to me. If I wanted something I could build it, if it didn’t exist I could design it. My only limitations were money, access to materials and knowledge. The first two could be overcome most of the time with ingenuity, the latter isn’t really a limit at all. If I don’t know or understand something the only thing that is stopping me is me.
Maker Faires are a celebration of that mind set and the intelligence and drive of the human spirit, they are a physical manifestation of the term ‘American Ingenuity’.
When you attend the Faire this year you will see large companies and sponsors like our local Hasbro, small companies like BLT Robotics with their computer controlled hydroponics units and individuals like Martin Lynn who designs practical objects from things we would normally throw away.
If you have never seen 3D printing, laser cutting, and other CNC technologies this will be your opportunity to experience them first hand. The Faire is an all ages educational environment, some formal like learning how to solder workshops and some informal by talking to the creators, inventors and tinkerers themselves. You will see toys, art, jewelry, computers, practical and impractical machines, robots and things that are difficult to describe.
I go to events like this to be inspired and I hope we will see you there. It may just spark a lifetime’s worth of enthusiasm for you, your friends or your loved ones.
The Mini Maker Faire this year will be held at three locations this year in Providence, RI from 11am to 6pm. The locations are the Hasbro building at 1 Hasbro Place, along Adrian Hall Way and AS220 at 115 Empire St, all within walking distance from each other. If you start at Hasbro the Dunkin’ Donuts Convention Center may be the easiest place to park. The event is rain or shine so dress appropriately.