Tuesday, September 28, 2010

2010 Maker Faire: Report II

Tess in her Toy Theatre booth this past weekend...
Here's the scoop from Tess on this year's Maker Faire in New York City:

The World Maker Faire here in New York City was just terrific and happily overwhelming. We had good crowds, and a lot of families lamented not getting the weekend pass to take advantage of all the teaching booths—this was all so new to locals. Maker Faires usually have pricey entrance fees (ours was $25 at the door and a weekend pass $35 with much lower rates for kids). But once you go in, there are many many booths where you can get free lessons and I made sure to show anyone who would stop long enough how I make my rod puppets. I did not go as a seller, but to simply show what I do and demonstrate what I make and how I do it. My booth was covered with balloons so I was a kid magnet. We had a little over 500 exhibitors from all over the Eastern seaboard, and many came pretty late in the game as I did because the word got around so slowly.

The important thing about Maker Faire is that it is the vision of a man named Dale Dougherty. He looks like a low key professor with a pleasant demeanor and amused smile. But he is a true believer, mover & shaker of DIY, i.e., it helps the Earth with recycling and repairing objects, and it helps the individual save money and maybe even build a business. In this economy, we can't have enough people who see the world this way. Maker Faire encourages Makers to talk to each other and be supportive. It is so refreshing to encounter business people who are opposite the corporate model of ruthless Capitalism. The Makers believe in what I think should be called Capitalism with a beating heart. Many of the makers I met referred other makers to booths for supplies or to share technical problems (I brought flyers for two of my suppliers, also). I had a tricky moment right up front when I discovered my gridwall required an Allen wrench which the seller did not inform me about. A local maker helper passing through brought me an Allen wrench in five minutes and helped to put it up.

Tess' Italian Toy Theatre

Tess' Medieval Toy Theatre - I LOVE the draw bridge stage!