Maker Faire Brighton – One Week to Go!

This time next week, we’ll be in full swing at Brighton’s first Mini Maker Faire and right now we couldn’t be more excited. Everything’s coming together brilliantly and it’s set to be a fun-packed, totally mind-blowing day.

The buzz is building, but you can help it grow even more by spreading the word. Sign up to our Facebook event page and invite all your friends, tweet about it (using the #bmmf hashtag), blog about it, shout about it and generally flap your arms in a “you’ve GOT to come and see this” sort of way. You can even win a copy of Make Magazine for doing so! And don’t forget to remind people that it’s FREE and suitable for all ages.

Hopefully you’ve seen the brilliant teaser videos by Larchmont Films that are on our homepage. But to give you even more of a flavour for what’s in store, we’ve compiled some other films of our makers showing off various projects that you’ll be able to see on the day. Visit the Makers page for a full run down.

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Win the Latest Make Magazine

Since 2005, Make magazine has been inspiring DIYers, inventors and tinkerers all around the world with practical projects and ideas for building things with computers, electronics, robotics, metalworking, woodworking and more. In 2006, Make magazine organised the first Maker Faire in San Mateo, California, bringing its readers out of the workshop and into public to share their makes. This now legendary event then spawned others around the globe, the next of which is our own Brighton Mini Maker Faire.


The lovely people at O’Reilly (Make’s publisher) have given us 10 copies of the latest Make magazine to give away in the run up to Brighton’s first Maker Faire on September 3rd at the Dome. We’re running a prize draw via Twitter, and all you have to do is follow us and tweet about Maker Faire Brighton to enter, using @MakerFaireBTN and the #bmmf hashtag. We’ve even created this handy button for you in case you can’t think of what to say:

…and here’s a handy follow button, too:

The competition is open until 5pm on the day of Maker Faire – Saturday 3rd September. Meanwhile, here’s a little taster of what’s in store in the latest Make magazine:

Terms & Conditions

1. By participating in this Competition you agree with these terms and conditions.
2. The Competition commences on 22/8/2011 at 7.00pm and closes on 03/9/2011 at 5.00pm.
3. This promotion is open to 18 year olds or over, who are resident within the UK.
4. Persons wishing to enter the competition must be following Brighton Mini Maker Faire’s official Twitter profile ( and tweet using #bmmf and @MakerFaireBTN.
5. Ten winners will be chosen at random to win one copy each of the most recently published Make magazine.
6. Winners will be notified by direct message on twitter, within one week of the competition closing and must respond with their address within 24 hours, or the prize will be offered to another randomly chosen entrant.
7. Brighton Mini Maker Faire will not engage in any communication regarding the outcome of the Competition.
8. Brighton Mini Maker Faire reserves its right to unilaterally cancel or amend this Competition and its terms
9. This competition is not affiliated with O’Reilly or Make magazine
10. Only one entry per person will be entered into the draw, but entrants are free to tweet as often as they wish.

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(Re)Make, Don’t Buy – The Green Ethos Behind Maker Faire Brighton

Surprising as it may sound the upcoming Brighton Mini Maker Faire is very much a Green event, and we’re delighted to have so many participants helping us to get a real focus on ecological issues.  It may sound a bizarre thing to say about an event featuring everything from giant Etch-a-Sketches to gingerbread teapots and ghetto blasters , but behind all of this, we have a solid green agenda.

In fact the Maker idea wherever you find it, from Vancouver to Cairo, online and in Make magazine, is at heart an environmentally aware and active movement. If you make, you don’t buy, and if it breaks, you fix. You don’t buy another. Seems simple, but this hands-on ethos has far reaching impact.

Brighton is a city known for its eco-friendly mindset and progressive attitude towards recycling and conservation. We have brilliant set-ups like The Wood Recycling Centre, Magpie Cooperative and the council’s own recycling scheme. Even the profusion of vintage clothes shops and flea markets is testament to the city’s willingness to embrace all things recycled. So it seems only fitting that we should be the first community in the South to host a Maker Faire, as not only a mind-boggling day of super inventions and surprising craft creations, but a celebration of our green credentials.

When you come to Brighton Mini Maker Faire many of the most amazing exhibitors will be showing and sharing items created from materials that would normally have been disposed of and added to the ever growing and unsustainable mountain of waste our society creates.  Instead of overloading landfill though, they can now delight, excite and entertain!

Circus Kintica's Josephine

Circus Kinetica's Josephine

Take the creations of Circus Kinetica for example – this fabulous band of Brighton based creative crafts people and artists has for years now been beavering away sculpting the most beautiful contraptions from random junk and thrown away bits and pieces.  From their workshop in the base of Embassy Court on Brighton seafront they produce everything from delicate items of jewellery to enormous adventure sculpture spaces (called Josephine).

Garden by Canvas for Mosiac

Garden by Canvas for Mosiac

For craft and design recycling that you can learn at our show, come and see the amazing works created by Canvas for Mosaic.  Not only will Christine be showing her beautiful creations made from recycled bathroom and kitchen tiles, but she’ll also be sharing her skills and letting visitors try for themselves.  This creative skill sharing is a core part of how we go from being consumers to creators, and is an essential part of the Maker ethos.

Another crafty recycler is Emily Wright, aka Cuttlefishlove, who will be teaching visitors how to make these fascinating Japanese style Kanzashi flower brooches and clips, all made out of paper and scrap materials.

And if you’re after a more practical application of the ecological mindset, look no further than Cranks, the Brighton bike repair co-op who will be running classes and activities at the Brighton Maker Faire.  What could possibly be greener than using shared skills and tools to keep your low impact ecological transport on the road?

Love Your Bike- the Cranks workshop

Love Your Bike- the Cranks workshop

The list goes on, with almost every maker utilising something recycled or re-made into their creations, and all of them advocating the benefits of making rather than buying.

So come and join us on the 3rd of September at the Brighton Dome Foyer and Bar for a celebration of what creativity and skills can do to help us all make a difference.

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Meet the Maker #2: Jane Bom-Bane and her Mechanical Hats

If you’ve ever taken a wander down George Street (a little side street off St James’s Street in Brighton), you may have stumbled upon Bom-Bane’s, a tiny little cafe with a big personality. The proprietress, Jane Bom-Bane is also an acclaimed singer-songwriter, much-loved local eccentric and maker of fabulous mechanical hats. With all this talent, she was a natural choice for Brighton Mini Maker Faire and we are all thrilled that she’ll be joining us with a collaborative music/hat making project that will be going on throughout the day.

This short video from Larchmont Films introduces Jane and will give you a little taste of what to expect from her at Maker Faire…

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Meet the Sponsors: Folksy

For many makers, getting their creations into the hands of others is part of the fun – whether that be at an event like Maker Faire or by selling the things they make.

Online marketplaces have become vital hubs for many makers – a way to reach buyers, but also as a focal point for the maker community. So we were super-happy when Folksy, the UK marketplace for ‘handmade things’ agreed to support Brighton Mini Maker Faire by becoming sponsors. We were even happier when they launched a competition to collaborate on a Folksy artwork to display on the day. We asked them to say hello here and tell us a little about themselves. So over to you James.

Crafting things is what is about and we’re excited to be involved in celebrating making things, be that arduino based simple robotics to more traditional craft. Since exhibiting at the first Maker Faire in Newcastle we’ve seen the interest in making things grow and more and more people experiment with soft and hard materials to make things. Matthew Crawford has cogently argued that in our post-industrial service based economies we’ve lost our relationship with craft and as a result we have degraded our lives to be less satisfying and fulfilling. Maker Faire is a good re-dress to this. It’s about exciting people in making, re-awakening that enjoyment we felt when we made our first sir fix model, lego structure, meccano car or knitted pom pom hat.

Whilst Folksy is mainly “soft craft”, we do have plenty of people using wood and metals and even experimenting with electronics. Here are some of our office favourites from today (Mon 16th).

Pink Multi Crocheted Headphones

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Oak & Brass Magnifying Glass

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Noise Hero – Lofi Electronic Noise Maker

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Over 8,000 crafters sell the things they have made using Folksy and we’ve sold over one million pounds worth of merchandise in the last twelve months and with growth of around 230% year on year we’re confident that the enthusiasm seen at Maker Faire will ripple out to a wider audience and more inventive cottage industries will develop.

We’ll be hoping to let people play with a few crafts at our space in the faire and showcase some of the work of crafters selling and making through

James @
modern British craft

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Meet the Sponsors: Revolution Education & PICAXE


I first came across Revolution Education when we were planning kits for our Noise Toys workshop back in May – the Luna Mod kit in Make: 26 was based around their PICAXE microcontroller. The kit went down a storm (in fact, we’ll have them available to make at the Soldering Workshop), and in the process we discovered what a straightforward and simple microcontroller programming environment they had created.

The PICAXE microcontrollers are designed to be the brain of your electonic project. Originally designed as an educational system for schools, the PICAXE system has now also been widely adopted by hundreds of thousands of ‘hobbyists’ due to its ease of use. Each year thousands of secondary school students are also introduced to electronics and microcontrollers via building a PICAXE project. They’re popular because they are very low-cost, and simple to program using free, easy-to-learn software.

We’re very pleased to announce that once we let them know that we were planning a Maker Faire in the south of the UK, they were immediately keen to provide us with financial support to make it happen – and some equipment to make it easy for us to show you how to program the PICAXEs (and Luna Mods!) yourself.

Revolution Education’s Clive Seager has these words to say about the Maker Faire: “We are always delighted to see the wide range of interesting projects that people build using our PICAXE microcontrollers, from simpler projects using the 8 pin PICAXE-08M2 up to far more complex designs using the 40 pin PICAXE-40X2. The Maker Faire is a great way to share ingenuity and we are proud to sponsor and support this type of event.”

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Meet the Sponsors: Semantico

It’s with great pleasure that I write a wee blurb about Semantico, who are providing a great deal of financial support to our Maker Faire. They make innovative and award-winning web sites for the academic publishing industry.

Semantico, and particularly their Managing Director and owner Richard Padley, have been a big supporter of BuildBrighton since its inception two years ago, providing both equipment and financial support to us, without which we would have had a much harder time getting to where we are now.

Two of the three BuildBrighton directors work there (myself included!), so we can vouch for it being an excellent place to work – which is good considering they are hiring right now.

Richard would like to comment: “Semantico are delighted to be sponsoring the Brighton Mini Maker Faire and to be a part of the Brighton Digital Festival. We value new ideas and original thinking, and this collective approach to creativity appeals to the team working spirit of Semantico. We wish BuildBrighton all the best in making the inaugural Mini Maker Faire a success.”

Thanks Richard!

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Brighton Mini Maker Faire – One Month to Go!

Today marks the beginning of our final countdown (cue cheesy 80s soundtrack) to Brighton’s First ever Maker Faire, with just one month left until the big event on 3rd September. Behind the scenes we’re squirrelling away – making preparations and liaising with makers, getting the word out in Sussex and beyond, and bringing everything together to ensure it all goes off with a bang (metaphorically speaking of course, although with some of the science experiments going on, you never know…).

We’re also on the hunt for volunteers to help out on the day with stewarding and other duties and would love to hear from anyone who wants to be involved. Go on over to the volunteers page to find out how you can help.

If you’re still unsure what to expect and whether it’s for you, here are some highlights from last weekend’s Detroit Maker Faire – which we hope will give you a feel for the spirit of the event and inspire you to come along to (or be a part of) ours.

We’ll have more sneak previews from our own lineup of makers in the coming weeks, so watch this space to find out what’s in store.

You can follow us on Twitter @MakerFaireBTN or sign up to the Facebook event for the latest Maker Faire Brighton news. Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with this…

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Meet the Maker #1: Jason Hotchkiss’s Musical Lava Lamps

In the first of our ‘Meet the Maker’ series of films, Brighton programmer Jason Hotchkiss demonstrates how he makes musical soundscapes from lava lamps using light sensors, and talks about his passion for making things.

Thanks to Larchmont Films for donating their time to capture some Brighton Mini Maker Faire makers in action.

Stay tuned for more ‘Meet the Maker’ films in the coming weeks…

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Maker Faire Brighton Makers Announced

After an intense (and longer than expected – sorry) phase sorting through applicants and choosing the best, the time has finally come to announce the makers who’ll be appearing at the first ever Brighton Mini Maker Faire on 3rd September. It’s been quite a challenge deciding from so many great submissions and we’re super-thrilled at the quality and range of people who’ve wanted to be involved.

With musical mechanical hats, Japanese craft oddities, a giant Etch-a-Sketch, wind powered sculptures, self-balancing two wheeled skateboards, Arduino submarines and much, much more, it looks set to be an eye-poppingly inspirational, educational and down-right fun-packed event. Whether you think you’re into crafts and gadgetry or not, come to Maker Faire with an open mind and you will come away amazed. Here are a few snaps from some of our makers to whet your appetite:

Intrigued? Head over to the Makers page for the full rundown of what’s in store.

We’ll be introducing you to some of the makers over the coming weeks, so stay tuned for even more scintillating teasers. You can also follow us on Twitter and sign up to the Facebook event for regular updates.

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