Guest Post from Jay Kendall, 2011 Maker

If you’re contemplating applying to be a Maker at Brighton Mini Maker Faire 2012, but are not sure what to expect, here’s the lowdown from one of last year’s Makers, Jay Kendall. We’ll be featuring different Makers from last year’s event over the next few weeks to give you a flavour for what to expect if you’re thinking of coming this year. Don’t forget you have until 20th June to apply.

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Jay Kendall said:

Never having done a Maker Faire before, I was unprepared for what unravelled throughout the day. Having organised all my supplies, a spare pair of hands, a bed for the night before so I wouldn’t be late, and the bus timetable for the same reason, I was in theory prepared.

I arrived early, found my space and set everything up. There were lots of volunteers to assist and so many exhibitors I was rather overwhelmed by the scale of what the fair was offering to the public. I was having second thoughts, technology was all around me, helicopters flying, moving images and stuff I couldn’t begin to describe. What was I doing there? I work with wool and was going to demonstrate how to make felt balls, no technology, no laptop, no electricity, no robotics – just wool and a needle.

Felting

Photo by Rain Rabbit on Flickr

The rooms began to fill up and my helper made it in the nick of time. A very quick tutorial and a health and safety talk later, and we were surrounded by eager hands wanting to make a ball. From that moment on we didn’t stop talking and demonstrating.

Sit down, health and safety talk, wool, needle, this is how you do it. So many times it was impossible to keep track. Again and again and again.

A friend of a friend fetched coffee and by the time my helper broke free to find refreshments all that was left was cake. I managed to escape for 10 mins to cross the road and eat my lunch before elbowing my way back in to continue as before.

Children as young as three enjoyed making a ball; boys, girls, mums, dads and grans all queued patiently and watched how it was done until it was their turn. The room was a buzz with excitement and the noise level was tremendous, but at our tables there was quiet chatter as everyone concentrated on what they were doing, knowing that if they took their eyes off the project they may stab themselves.

I left the Corn Exchange feeling so exhausted it was as if I’d run a marathon. Would I do it again? You bet!

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Jay Kendall is a knitting and felting expert who ran a workshop at Brighton Mini Maker Faire 2011. This year we are looking for all sorts of Makers, from traditional crafts like this, to technological, scientific and other do-it-yourself creations. Find out more and sign up at: www.makerfairebrighton.com/call-to-makers-2012

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Brighton Mini Maker Faire is Back – and We Need YOU!

After several months of recovering from organising the last event, and another few of getting together to discuss the next one, we’re finally ready to announce a date for Brighton Mini Maker Faire 2012 – and to start taking applications from Makers.

The first ever Brighton Mini Maker Faire last September was attended by over 5,000 people, and featured live demonstrations and hands-on activities run by Makers whose projects ranged from traditional arts and crafts, to science experiments, DIY, electronics and more.

We’re going to need a bigger boat

Everyone involved was truly bowled over by the popularity of last year’s event and as we witnessed the crowds flooding in it was one of those Jaws moments as we knew we’d need to expand next time, to allow more visitors, and more makers, to participate.

This year’s event is set to be bigger and bolder, taking over the entire Corn Exchange space, as well as the Dome foyer and bar area that was used in 2011. This will also give us plenty of space for more large scale projects, workshops and mass-participation, collaborative goings-on.

Are you makexperienced?

We were amazed at the breadth and scope of creations and skills on display from our Makers last year. We had miniature submarines, home made robots, needlecraft workshops, neural network simulations, a whole host of new musical instruments, and much, much more.

This year we’re hoping to extend that list to include even more types of makers: we’d love to meet bodgers, welders, sculptors and engineers; food hackers, origami experts, yarn bombers, recyclers, upcyclers and permaculturists; festival performers and set designers; space explorers model makers, Lego geeks and mad scientists. Whatever you’re into making, we want to hear from you. If you’re up for leading sessions with the public – and ideally crowdsourcing some new creations – even better!

Don’t worry if you’ve never exhibited at an event like this before. If you are someone who has a passion for making and a project – either completed or in progress – that you could show off and share with the public, we’d love to hear from you. If you know someone you think we should encourage to apply, then let us know, too.

Brighton Mini Maker Faire 2012 will take place on Saturday 8th September at the Dome and remains a free family event.

How to get involved

Applications to participate in the event as a Maker are now open and makers from Brighton, Sussex and beyond are invited to sign up at: www.makerfairebrighton.com/call-to-makers-2012 The deadline for applications is 20th June, but the sooner you get yours in, the better.

The list of Makers that participated in last year’s event can be found at: www.makerfairebrighton.com/makers-2011

If you’re a student or teacher and would like to do something for Brighton Mini Maker Faire as a school or college project, get in touch with us directly.

If you just want to come along and see the action in September, or learn how to make something yourself, then sign up to the Facebook event: www.facebook.com/events/170171163109438 or stay tuned to our Twitter feed for more details: twitter.com/makerfairebtn

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Brighton Mini Maker Faire – It’s All Over (Until Next Year)

After all the anticipation and build-up, the first Brighton Mini Maker Faire came to life last Saturday at the Dome, attracting more than 5,000 visitors for a day of creating, inventing, playing, participating, geeking out, learning and general overawed excitement. It was more than we’d ever hoped for, especially with all the hugely positive feedback from people at the Faire and online.

We’ve started a Tumblr to try and keep a record of all the reviews, photos and videos that are still being published about Brighton Mini Maker Faire. You can even submit your own links to it here.

The Flickr group is also filling up with great pictures from the day and we have had lots of lovely comments on our Facebook Page and via Twitter.

We’ve already had a post Maker Faire de-brief to start planning for next year, when we hope to be back with an even bigger and more ambitious event. Stay tuned for updates on that score. Meanwhile, here are some of the lovely comments that people have sent our way about the first Brighton Mini Maker Faire.

Here’s what the public said:

Tracey Halpin
“Back from 5 fun filled hours at the Faire. Oliver loved sharing his soldering light changing project with peeps and delighted with his Daphnias. Can’t wait for the next one, thank you very much”

Andy Piper
“It was a really fantastic day, and I’m glad I went…I love seeing families and kids interacting with technology, or making things – and getting really excited…Thanks to everyone involved in making the Brighton Mini Maker Faire happen… – the sponsors, exhibitors, volunteers, and staff at the Brighton Dome. I had a great time.”

Joan Keating
“Just arrived back in East London after a trip to the Maker Faire. Fantastic. Daphnia already growing on the windowsill, cries being heard from the kids to get out the soldering kit (our ten year old very thrilled with her efforts at the Dome). Hope those of you who organised the day are glowing with pride after your success.”

Mark Philpott
“…what an awesome day with such great creative people! Loved the projects, made some contacts, got involved. Everyone should be very proud of what they achieved :)

Paul Hayes
“I feel like the Brighton Maker Faire shows Brighton is suitably prepared for survival in event of global catastrophe.”

And here’s what some of our lovely makers thought of the experience:

Emily Wright, Cuttlefishlove Kanzashi
“Thanks to all at Brighton Mini Maker Faire and the Dome – I had an amazing time and it looked like everyone else did too! Thank you to all who came and made kanzashi at my stall – your flowers (and 1 bow-tie!) looked awesome!!”

Ed Parris, Nixon McInnes
“We had so many interested and enthusiastic people come and talk to us at our little pitch, which was really inspiring.”

Christine Walker, Cracking Mosaics
“Wow what a fantastic day! The crew were excellent and even though the temperature was hot and steamy remained cool and calm and helpful throughout. My table was occupied with kids and adults all day making mosaic designs…Very impressed, especially with the organisation and communication. Thanks to all involved.”

Richard Salmon, Bluebell Railway
“David, Deborah and I should say an enormous thanks to all of you for organising and running it… We’d certainly be very interested to take part again, and possibly bring something bigger down from the Bluebell Railway… So congratulations to everyone on such a successful day! It had a great atmosphere, and unlike many exhibitions, it remained busy right to the final bell.”

Emily from Folksy
“With over 5000 people attending I think the Brighton Mini Maker Faire can be deemed a massive success, not only for Folksy, but for crafters and makers across the country. It was great to be part of such a vibrant, positive event that celebrated British craft in all its glory.”

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Brighton Mini Maker Faire Live Blogging

Saturday 3rd September, Brighton Dome

11.04am We’re just over one hour into the first Brighton Maker Faire, and already it’s a hive of activity out there. People are flooding through the doors and throwing themselves into all of the activities on offer – once they’ve managed to escape the various mischievous robots accosting them at the door! The best thing has to be the little awestruck faces of kids (and big kids), spellbound by what must seem like magic to them.

Right now, a spontaneous mission is underway on Jane Bom-Bane’s stand, to create a ‘Mini Mini Maker Faire’ as part of the collaborative mechanical hat that’s being built during the day. Andrew is roping in various makers to create bits of it and Amy has made a tiny string of Maker Faire bunting. Photos to follow when it’s finished. Meanwhile, the first batch of snaps from the event can be found over on the Facebook Page.

1.09pm It’s madness out there. In a good way. The word seems to have spread across Brighton that Maker Faire is the place to be today. We’re chuffed to have the team from BBC Click on site, interviewing organisers and makers – here’s Bill Thomson with Will Segerman and his big gun – one of the more popular items on his stand, especially with the boys.

We’ve been loving all the excitable feedback on Twitter – follow the hashtag #bmmf to tune in to all the Brighton Mini Maker Faire buzz. And do tell us what you’re up to if you’re here.

3.07pm Wherever you are in the Dome, there’s a cacophony of sound from the various musical inventions that are here. We’ve got the subsonic submarine, the blipbox, water chimes, tape loops, the stringless ukelele, Jane Bom-Bane’s harmonium and all sorts of other noisy inventions. That combined with the constant excitable chatter is giving an everso slightly chaotic backdrop to Maker Faire, which we totally love. Here’s Jane Bom-Bane giving an impromptu rendition, as a taster for her after party performance later tonight:

4.28pm We’re into the last half hour and still the crowds are flooding in. Soon it will be time to pack up and bid farewell to what’s been a brilliant and bonkers day, beyond expectation.

We’d love to hear your tales from Brighton Mini Maker Faire, so please leave a comment here on the blog, tweet us or post something on our Facebook wall. We’ll have a write up for you in the next couple of days – and don’t forget to listen out for Maker Faire coverage on BBC Click in the near future.

Meanwhile, here’s an completely unedited video tour of the event:

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Mini Maker Faire Brighton – It’s Tomorrow!

After much excitable anticipation, we reach the eve of Brighton’s first ever Maker Faire, happening tomorrow from 10am to 5pm at the Dome.

If by some miracle this is the first you’ve heard of it, you can catch up with what’s happening via the Maker page – where you will find details of all the makers who’ll be there tomorrow showing you their projects and teaching you new skills to take away. And all for FREE.

If you are planning on coming along (and you’d be MAD not to), we’d love to hear from you via our social media channels while you’re at the event and afterwards. Here’s how you can get involved in the conversation and tell us how it was for you:

Twitter

Follow @MakerFaireBTN
Use the #bmmf hashtag

Facebook

Check into the event: on.fb.me/MakerFaireBTN
Join the page: www.facebook.com/BrightonMakerFaire

Flickr

Add your photos to: www.flickr.com/groups/bmmf
and tag them #bmmf

You can also follow and interact with our makers, many of whom are on Twitter. Here’s a handy list with them all in one place: Twitter.com/MakerFaireBTN/makers

Finally, thanks to everyone who’s helped spread the word and all those behind the scenes getting this show on the road. It’s going to be awesome. See you on the other side.

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Meet the Sponsors: sugru

I met the folks from sugru at Maker Faire in Newcastle a few months back. Manning a stall constructed entirely from cardboard boxes (and sugru, no doubt), they were possibly the most enthusiastic people I met over the entire weekend. And that was a weekend full to bursting with enthusiastic people. So I was chuffed to bits when they agreed to support us here in Brighton. Make sure you check out their stall and say hello. Over to Jane, to say a few words.

Having been part of the Maker Faire in Newcastle and the mother of all Maker Faires in California for the last two years – we are raving fans of all things MF here at sugru.

The energy, creativity and enthusiasm that comes alive there is so contagious – people just can’t help but be curious and inspired. We’ve met people who build bikes from old scrap metal, others who make custom manual keyboards, a guy who made a huge model ship from toothpicks, others who make their own skateboards and computers and one woman that knits swim suits!

sugru is all about taking a DIY attitude to life, repairing, hacking and improving the things we live with to make them work better for us, and Maker Faire people are natural hackers and repairers, so it’s a very natural and fun fit !

We’re absolutely delighted to be able to support the UK’s first Mini Maker Faire, and we’ll be bringing along some sugru on Saturday for everyone to see and try out for themselves.

If you need an intro before Saturday then check us out at sugru.com!

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Meet the Sponsors: Beta LAYOUT

Beta LAYOUT were one of a select few companies that contacted us directly when they heard about the Maker Faire. They’ve been supporting hackspaces for many moons now, and hearing that the Build Brighton Hackspace were organising this event and running a soldering workshop, they wanted to offer their support!

Not only have they provided us with much needed financial support for the ‘Faire, but also are helping out with the Open Hack and Soldering workshop by donating one of their great Reflow SMT Soldering kits to allow us to show you how easy it can be to do surface mount soldering. They’ll be up on the mezzanine with the workshop, and can tell you all about it then.

Thanks a million guys!

 

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Meet the Sponsors: Flattr

When start-up social micropayment company Flattr got in touch with us about how they could help us with the Maker Faire, we were immediately struck with how innovative their service was, and were keen to get them involved. Since their initial contact, Flattr have been kind enough to become a major sponsor of the Maker Faire, and in addition are offering the ability for you to directly ‘flattr’ the makers at our event.

Zsofi from Flattr says:

“Some of the most creative and cool things in life are not made to make money (as BMMF makers know all too well), but having a little money certainly helps. Flattr is a great way to earn a little from something you do for fun, and it’s a way for the wider public to show their appreciation for the maker. People sometimes call it ‘social micropayments’.

The concept of Flattr is simple. Users pay a monthly fee that is equally divided based on how many things they have chosen to flattr that month. There are no price tags, and giving money and recognition is just one button click away.

It’s most commonly used on blogs and websites but with QR codes any physical object can be flattred: makers at BMMF, street art, and even yourself, if you put your Flattr QR code on a T-shirt or business card.

You can flattr makers before or after the Faire (just look for the friendly green button), and at the event using QR codes. Flattr iPhone app works best on the spot.

You’ll find more info and can sign up at http://flattr.com

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Meet the Maker #3: Cranks DIY Bike Workshop – How to Tighten Bike Brakes

In the last of our our Brighton Mini Maker Faire teaser videos from Larchmont Films, Julian from Cranks DIY bike workshop in Brighton demonstrates how to tighten your bike brakes by replacing the cable. It’s all very much in keeping with the maker philosophy of repairing and recycling rather than disposing and buying anew.

You can meet the Cranks gang and learn how to fix up and maintain your own bike – as well as lots of other new skills for making, repairing, creating and inventing – at Brighton Maker Faire this Saturday. And if you’re riding down to the event, Cranks will have rachets at the ready to help you get your two wheels in shape.

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Play! An Evening of Maker-musicians at the After-Show Party

Guest post by Sarah Angliss, Therematrix and robot maker

If you’re in Brighton for Mini Maker Faire and wondering what to do when the show closes at 5pm, then come along to Play! The Brighton Maker Faire After-show party. It’s an evening of maker musicians who’ll be performing live with their glorious contraptions.

Thomas Truax is headlining, with his Hornicator – a mobile special effects unit made from a modded gramophone horn – and mother superior – a rhythm generator built from a bicycle wheel. There’s Nick Pynn, with the world’s only cocolele, Jane Bom-Bane with her beguiling mechanical hats and a playalong with Brighton’s mighty Sawchestra (who will be dishing out toy instruments on the night). I’ll be there with Spacedog, my own band of humans, theremins and robots including Clara 2.0, a the ‘polite’ robot thereminist, and Hugo, a roboticised vent doll, rescued from the attic of a dead magician.

Jane Bom-Bane

When the Maker Faire team were looking for a soirée to end the day, I knew I wanted to put together something different to any laptop music night. So for one night only, the Brunswick will be brimming with mechanical curiosities – every one of them designed and built by some of the finest and most entertaining maker-musicians. Stay tuned for news of other makers who will be showcasing their homemade instruments during the evening. It should be a wonderful night.

Clara 2.0, photo Melita Dennett

The Brunswick Pub and Theatre is in Holland Road on the border of Brighton and Hove. It’s a short bus ride or a 20 minute-walk from the Dome, home of Maker Faire. There will be music running throughout the evening, in the dedicated music room right next to the bar. So come along, grab a drink, enjoy some delicious pub food, socialise with fellow Maker Faire participants and drop into the live entertainment.

Venue and tickets
3 September 2011
7:30pm

The Brunswick

Holland Road, Hove, BN3 1FJ

Tickets (£7)

N.B. This event is free to Maker Faire exhibitors and crew – do send an email to wearespacedog [at] gmail [dot] com to let us know you’re coming so we can keep an eye on numbers. Thanks!

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