Museum of Vancouver Youth Council Yarn Bombs

Happy International Yarn Bombing Day! In honour of International yarn bombing day, today’s feature is dedicated to the Museum of Vancouver’s Youth Council, Concrete Expression.


Museum of Vancouver Youth Council, Concrete Expression:

Combining street art, recycling, plastic bags, and the time-honoured tradition of yarnbombing, the Museum of Vancouver’s inaugural Youth Council brings their exhibit, Concrete Expressions, to Maker Faire Vancouver. An intensive group of young creative minds aged 16-18 from around Vancouver, members of the MOV Youth Council discussed ideas of sustainability, youth culture in Vancouver, and street art before coming up with the idea to ‘yarnbomb’ the iconic crab statue in front of the Museum of Vancouver. The Youth Council is excited share their exhibit, engage Vancouverites with their colourful 25-foot plastic yarn scarf, and provide demonstrations on how you can turn your own plastic bags into a recycled work of art.







Yarn Bombs away!


Open Up the Box with Mini Maker Faire Toronto

Check out this awesome video that was created at Mini Maker Faire Toronto. Looks like the event was a great success!!



Makers: Mini Maker Faire Toronto from Ryan Varga on Vimeo.

Meet Your Makers: Meredith Nicole’s Heirloom Quality Furniture

Shane Le Gresley interviewed Meredith Nicole, of Meredith Nicole Studio Furniture.


I read that you design and make handcrafted, heirloom-quality furniture. What makes a piece heirloom-quality?

An heirloom is more than just something old, it is a special object which has been selected to carry on a family legacy. I provide a service for people looking to invest in a unique piece of furniture that will enrich their journey. By using traditional and proven construction methods, I can guarantee a piece will hold up and  always be a part of ones family history.


What is your creative process when developing an idea?

I employ different methods depending on the situation. When I’m making a speculative piece, I let my imagination go and experiment with whatever strikes me. I have recently become enamored with the simple yet intimate designs produced by Scandinavian designers durning the 40’s and 50’s. I’m especially crazy about Finn Juhl so I made a chair based on one of his designs. That chair and one other Danish inspired piece will be on show at the Maker’s Faire.  For custom pieces, I work with clients and explore their values and dreams and that information becomes the inspiration. Once I’ve established what the goal of the piece is, I’m guided by my three musses: human stories, the materials with which I create, and the practice of exploration.


Some of the work on your website is somewhat quirky. There’s the table with the inlaid silver tank and a three-legged chair. Yet other pieces are quite classic. Is there a style that you identify more with?

Oddities capture my attention and I love to play. Through intentional exploration, I bring my own sense of quirkiness and originality to my works. I feel it’s a playfulness that complements the more formal aspect furniture has in our lives and I use this whenever I see it as being appropriate. But some pieces defy quirkiness soI don’t identify with one style more than another. I just follow the inspiration and see what happens.

Meet your Sponsor: The Hackery

Interview by Vincent van Haaff




“Fix more, buy less.”


I was fortunate enough to meet with David Repa, founder and owner of The Hackery and co-founder of Free Geek Vancouver. David and I sat down to chat about what The Hackery is, and its role in the community here in Vancouver. I learned that it is actually a full-fledged, local, cradle to cradle computer centre where they repair, provide parts, and offer recycling services for all your computing needs!


… So how did The Hackery get here?



David: I used to be in the auto industry…. recycling automobiles is a bit easier than recycling computers which require a bit more reverse engineering and problem solving. The auto industry has other business that sell tech manuals and software that tell you what parts fit what, making the re-use aspect easy to accomplish. With computers you need to dig around for this knowledge, but it is out there.


I was lucky to have trained with the old guys in the auto parts industry. They didn’t have all the parts software modern dealerships have. They learned by talking to techs, understanding measurements and ratios, and by personal experience with the parts. They had a much more intimate knowledge of how everything fit together as a system – it was not simply A fits B. I think that I was part of the dying tradition of apprenticeship, which is really a failure to society. There’s not much download of knowledge like that anymore.


David: I really wanted to get into computers because, for one, it was cleaner, and I liked how the used parts aspect was like my experience in the salvage yard.


I was amazed over the quantity of knowledge and generosity that was housed within the doors of The Hackery, and was in awe over their willingness and openness towards information sharing. With three full time and two part time employees, The Hackery is a great asset to have in the city of Vancouver.


One thing to really note here is that The Hackery believes in that apprentice model, the model of knowledge sharing and openness. That doesn’t mean they enforce Linux on all the computers they service. It means that he and all his staff are very willing to help any customer that comes in with many different problems.


If they know the issue is fairly simple, they will try to save client’s spending money by recommending known procedures, Google searches, or going to various open help night’s around Vancouver. David sees it being a unique institution Vancouver in that as much as it is a business, they are always willing to share information. And he sees it mostly with John, his vintage specialist.


David: John will take a 1/2 hour trying to get a customer’s Apple II working. And while it’s very proprietary hardware and software that they are working with, it’s still information and knowledge sharing, and there always seems to be a a laugh or a story attatched to it. You just can’t get upset talking about an old Apple II or PDP 11[zomgwtfbbq].


[Continued below the gallery…]


David took some time to show me around the space and I totally and completely geeked out.  Walking past Ataris, wall mounted desktop towers with their innards exposed like a Hieronymus Bosch painting, a self repaired forklift, and a flat of Apple IIs (yes a flat!!), I began to get a feeling for what this place represents. Not only do they repair, educate, and recycle computer equipment but they also curate them. It’s almost like they preserve the history of an era in computing where you could still find breadboards in production-level products, when word processors were written in basements, and the internet was run by a motley crew of people like us.



David: …sitting down with racecar guys is very much like the Hackspace or Maker Faire: their talk about rear ends and gear ratios is very much like taking about phones and hooking them up to an Arduino. The new hot rods are computers, and phones [and robots!], because hot rod cars are too expensive and are now a rich boy’s atmosphere. Back in the day, anybody could do hot rod-ing. It was very accessible. I like where I am because I can blend the automotive old timer self-learning and the new kind of hotrod-ing that I am a part of today.


And a quote from The Hackery website:


At The Hackery, our favourite pastime is computer equipment. Our founder has over a decade of experience in the recycling industry. While we always prioritize re-use of our equipment, there comes a time when some electronics need to be recycled. The Hackery takes ethical recycling seriously. We do not ship any of our laptops or computer scrap overseas—even the really ancient ones.


Here’s to The Hackery!



Meet your Makers: Shannon Harvey of Monkey100

Shannon Harvey of Monkey100 and chalk xchange is a socially engaged artist, with a career spanning community murals, theatre, installation and artist residencies.  She sees Monkey100 as an extension of this work: an engagement through the arts to instigate dialogue and positive change. At Vancouver Mini Maker Faire, she will be leading a silkscreening workshop, and will have a selection of bamboo/cotton tshirts on display. Here’s a bit of what she has to say about Monkey100:



I created Monkey100 five years ago as a public art project. With a background in murals and collaborative projects, I was interested in finding ways to reach a wider audience on issues that were important to me. I chose the name Monkey100 based on the 100th monkey story which is essentially a parable of how critical mass is achieved. I loved the idea of every person’s potential to ‘be that 100th monkey’, the tipping point for massive social change.


As a kid, I had learned screen-printing from my Mother, and found it was a relatively inexpensive way to reproduce an image. I started with the Fossil Fuel Series of prints, illuminating the fossils behind our fuel. Over time, the designs have grown and expanded covering issues of local ecology and bicycle culture. I’ve sold and exhibited them at art markets, events, and stores throughout Vancouver. I’ve been inspired to keep going by the conversations the designs have sparked and the absolute love people have expressed for them.


Right now, I’m working on a series of silk-screened Animal Icon posters featuring portraits of local agricultural producers and the animals they work with. I’m also a Board member with the popular Eastside Culture Crawl, and have recently started a community arts space in Strathcona for people who want to share knowledge and make things together ( I’m looking for interested folks who would like to teach workshops or classes in any creative medium.


Shannon also runs a creative neighbourhood space in Strathcona, known as Chalk Xchange.  Workshops and classes are hosted in the spirit of promoting an exchange of ideas.  See some photos below and check out some of their upcoming classes and workshops.





Calling all Yarn Bombers!


Come out and help plan a yarn bomb attack to promote Vancouver Mini Maker Faire! We’re having an official yarn-bomb meeting next Sunday at the Vancouver Hack Space!




When: Sunday May 29th 1:00pm

Where: Vancouver Hack Space (VHS) [45 West Hastings]. The entrance is around the back where the crow mural is located. Please ring the doorbell and we’ll pass a key down! Confused? Here’s a video.





What: The meet-up will be hosted by the lovely Claire Desmarais, with a feature talk by Leanne Prain, author of the book, Yarnbombing.






This event is open to anyone wanting to get a knitting or crochet project started, or help spread the Maker Faire spirit! So come out, bring some supplies, ideas, friends, and cookies! (Because what’s knitting and crocheting without cookies?)





(images: Yarn Bombing ; The Fibe Squad)



As seen on Make Magazine: Why Educators Want to Attend Maker Faire

Post by Emily Smith

Featured on the MAKE blog yesterday is an article about why Maker Faire is such a great fit for educators. Check out some of the testimonials here.



Some testimonials from various educators (via MAKE):


“Maker Faire is a great opportunity to get my students out from behind the computer and put their ideas into the world in a tactile way.”
—Brian A., college professor of art and computer science, Emeryville, Calif.


“I am always inspired and motivated (a hard thing to do at the end of a school year!) from all the new approaches to materials and sharing. Makes for great material to chew on over the summer and apply in the next fall’s lessons. I just photograph and download on my computer as an ‘inspired images’ album.”
—Kirsten J., high school teacher and college professor of art, San Francisco, Calif.



“Maker Faire exemplifies the best coming together of creativity and science. As a teacher I feel it is not only important to convey theories, laws, and equations to my students, but also give them a sense of what can be achieved by the power of these scientific ideas that they can relate to in their day-to-day lives.” —Thanh-Lam N., high school science teacher, San Jose, Calif.


See more testimonials on MAKE Magazine.


If you’re in the Bay area the weekend of May 22nd and 23rd, get your tickets for Maker Faire San Francisco today! Just one more day for early bird passes



Meet your Makers: Rachael Ashe, Altered Book Workshops

For Vancouver Mini Maker Faire, Rachael will be displaying some of her recent altered book artwork made from old books and recycled materials. She will also be demonstrating some of the techniques she uses to make her book art, as well as paper cuts, and exploring making sculpture from the reclaimed cardboard of toilet paper rolls. Check out a timelapse of her work, and read a bit about what she has to say about her work below!


[flickr 5339916474 620 480]


My name is Rachael Ashe, and I am an emerging artist working in photography, collage, and altered books. I work on all of my projects in a small home studio located in East Vancouver.



Photography has always been my primary focus, but for the past couple of years I’ve been exploring paper-based art forms such as collage and book arts. I create fine art three-dimensional assemblage collage pieces that combine found objects, recycled paper, natural objects, etc. with old discarded books. These altered books are an endless source of fascination and inspiration for me because I feel there is an unlimited potential for creating interesting work by modifying books through cutting, folding, rolling, and collage.


Creating altered book art is as much about the process as it is about experimenting
with the materials I’ve used to create each work. I often start with a rough idea of something I wish to explore which can be inspired by the objects or materials I have on hand, or by ways in which I want to alter the pages of the book itself. The composition and material choices for each book evolves as I work on them, often over several days. It’s a process I find very stimulating.


Book arts have led me to explore using recycled paper materials in different ways in my work. An on-going project I have in development is to create a large-scale installation from cardboard toilet paper rolls. I was inspired by the work of Junior Fritz Jacquet and Yuken Teruya, two artists who create beautiful work from this material. They opened my eyes to the potential of making something wonderful from even the most mundane household object.


I have most recently exhibited my work at Container Art, the CreativeMix Conference, and during the 14th Annual Eastside Culture Crawl. I am currently working on a series of altered books inspired by fairy tales which will be on display at Seymour Gallery in June 2011.

Nerding out with the Vancouver Design Nerds

Interview by Emily Smith, featuring Sarah Hay from the Vancouver Design Nerds

Vancouver Design Nerd Projects at Maker Faire:

The Vancouver Design Nerds have submitted some exciting projects for Vancouver’s Maker Faire – including a large raft built of salvaged materials, Bristlebots & Vibrobots, or tiny robots that are propelled using a single vibrating (eccentric) motor, as well as the Gramorail, a pedal powered railway-gramaphone contraption.

I recently caught up with Sarah Hay from the Vancouver Design Nerds to pick her brain about what exactly these creative and inventive design nerds are all about.

1) What is a design nerd? And how did you find yourself on this journey to nerd-dom?

A design nerd is a curious creative person who is interested in collaborative projects that engage with the public realm of the city. Design Nerds thrive on conversations that transcend disciplinary boundaries. That is the beauty of the diversity of the Nerds.

I found myself on this journey to Nerd-dom when I was introduced to a few of the founding members in 2004 at Green Drinks and through some connections at Emily Carr. At that time, I had just moved here from Ontario, I was obsessing over anything and everything to do with ecological design. Here was this group of friendly intelligent people who shared the same passion and enthusiasm as I did for design (and socializing!). I was invited to a couple of jams where I presented some ideas / projects that I was working on. I began to see the jams as a way to overcome my irrational fears of public speaking, especially when talking about things I cared most deeply about. One thing that kept me coming back was the idea that we were building a really important community that had the potential to inspire and empower people through dialogue and design.

2) What does a “Design nerd jam” look like? How many people are usually involved, and how does a general evening unfold?

Design Nerd Jams are collective brainstorming sessions that take place on Friday nights and involve food and booze. They used to happen in living rooms. They would spring up with out a lot of notice without a lot of structure and would typically focus on a specific project / opportunity. Over the years, they have grown in popularity, and because of this we have been hosting them at larger venues where we can accommodate upwards of 60 people. On average we see about 25-35 people at each jam. Given the growing numbers we have had to design in more structure (i.e. time keepers and 90 second elevator pitches) and opportunities for break out groups. Toward the end of each jam we try to wrap things up by creating action plans and appointing project leads to take responsibility and keep the activity going. This is something we continue to work on.

3) Can you tell us a bit about some of the projects that the Vancouver Design Nerds have produced?

Since 2005 the Nerds have been undertaking various public art and design projects. Most of our projects are well documented on our website which I encourage you to visit!

In the early days, the project that garnered media and civic attention was Car Park . The Nerds ripped off the top of an old car and planted a garden. This ‘car’ was then towed to various car free day festivals and now sits at the corner of Clark and Broadway as a permanent fixture to a community garden.

More recently, the Gramorail has been turning heads at public events through out the city. Gramorail began with a vision by the Nerds to design and build pedal-powered cars that would connect to one another and form a human-powered “party train”; a train that could be paraded along unused rail corridors in Vancouver. Gramorail brings attention to the city’s rich rail heritage and promotes a sustainable mode of transportation. Over the last year the project has taken on an identity of its own and the spectacular vision has been realized with the completion of two railcars! I believe there is a spectacular railway parade planned for later this summer!

In parallel to the more kinetic / industrial projects I’ve just mentioned, a project group within the Nerds known as Urban Video Collective have been creating large-scale, multi-channel video installation works. Specializing in site-specific video installations, they create work that integrates with the built environment and responds to social, historical and architectural contexts in a manner that is both playful and insightful. Their goal is encourage a more imaginative perception of the urban world. You may have had the joy of seeing Purse Dog Factory at this year’s Illuminate Yaletown.

We are currently working on collaborative projects for Maker Faire and the City’s Summer Spaces program.

4) I’ve heard that your next Design Nerd Jam is going to be on “Biomimicry and Living Buildings.”  Can you give us some more information about the event?

This is true! Our Biomimicry Jam is planned for next Friday 29 April. We have partnered with Cascadia Green Building Council, their Emerging Green Builders, The Biomimicry Group and Vancouver HiVE. The idea is that we will explore how the genius of a single organism can inspire new design ideas for the built environment that take into consideration biological limits. This will be the first jam in our new space at the HiVE. I can’t wait!

5) If I’m a bit nerdy, and want to get involved with the Vancouver Design Nerds, how do I go about doing it?

Come to a Jam. We are an incredibly inclusive bunch. You can find out about upcoming Jams by joining our Facebook group, following us on Twitter or by signing up to our newsletter at the bottom left corner on our website.

Nerd on!

Upcoming Event: General Volunteer Meeting

This is not an exclusive meeting. Bring friends, or anyone that may want to get involved in any capacity.

We’re absolutely thrilled with our response from our call for Makers. It’s amazing what talent, creativity and ingenuity exists in the city, and we can’t wait to start showcasing cool projects and bringing people together for the event.


Great Northern Way Campus, at 577 Great Northern Way at eatART. The eatART building is in the back of the main building, the one with all of the graphics on it (see both photos below). Please note that if you made it out for our general Makers meeting early in the year, this is a different building (NOT Vancouver Community Lab).


Monday, April 11th at 6:30 pm

If you can make it, please RSVP to and let us know if you’re going to be bringing friends or passing the invite along to mailing lists or larger groups.

Looking forward to it!