Submissions from VMMF Yarn Party

A few weeks before Maker Faire 2012, we received a large shipment of wool from Granted clothing. We decided to pass out free wool to anyone that wanted to knit something awesome. Scroll down to check out some of the submissions!

A felted table covering:

A hand knit toque:

Finger warmers!

A kayak cozy!

A creative wall hanging:

A poof!

Slippers:

More!

To see even more photos of submissions, check out our yarn party group on flickr.







Vancouver Mini Maker Faire + Mom = Bliss

Vancouver’s second annual Mini Maker Faire witnessed a sea of smiling faces two weekends ago, as local makers shared, entertained and inspired the city’s hungry minds.

 

Being a volunteer, I was eager to share the experience, so I invited my parents along.

 

There was plenty to see and do — but what first? 3D printer village? Perfume mixing? Soldering? Painting with bikes? Felted beads? Mushboo? Disaster Area?

 

More than 100 makers were busy tinkering, weaving, hacking, playing handmade horns, drawing with robots, and carving faces out of sand.

 

It was a thrill for the senses and a feast for the mind.

 

During a short break, and in between bites of scrumptious pakora, I asked my mom what she thought of the event.

 

“It reminds me of the mentality we had in the 60s and 70s, you know, getting back to the garden,” she mused. “Everybody wanted to make their own things — clothes, macramé, growing their own food, working with leather. Only people would do it in small groups. Nobody would have put an event together like this.”

 

Right on! A gold star from my mom! And she’s right on too. The event is organic. It’s educational. It’s loopy and it’s kooky, but most of all it’s fun. It’s a nerd’s paradise, no matter what kind of nerd you are.

 

As I listened to my mom speak, I looked inside my purse full of little handmade trinkets, some of which I made myself onsite. I felt so inspired.

 

“It’s the beginning of something,” she said. “I’m not sure what exactly. It feels like Circle Craft, deconstructed.”

 







A Volunteer’s First Maker Faire

What a magical place! My first time at Mini Maker Faire was the overwhelming array of sights, sounds and motions that I had hoped for. The Makerverse was a hustling, bustling assault of the senses.

 

As an early morning volunteer, I headed to the front gate to begin my shift, passing the beginnings of stalls I saw many things that intrigued me: weird shapes protruding, projections screens expanding, messes of criss-crossing wires and circuits, cables being gaffered to the ground and strange objects lifted from boxes.  I wanted to explore, but I knew I had to focus on helping out. I spent the morning volunteering at ticketing, where I saw kids buzzing with excitement; jumping, squirming and smiling ear to ear. It’s good to see that the Maker movement has captured the hearts of those so young.

 

Silver Dog Vancouver Mini Maker Faire

 

When my shift was over, I was finally able to round the door and see what awaited me. Things spun and clicked and rolled and danced before my eyes. There were glowing lights and the whir of a helicopter overhead! Scents emanated from the perfume booth. A long, low, echoing note surprised me from a horn made from a hat. Strings and sculptures dangled. Visual projections warped and altered. Flashes went off from the callotype booth. Here I was, surrounded by making. I felt immersed in the joy of creation and sharing, and I too started to buzz with inspiration. If you are heading to Mini Maker Faire today, here’s a sneak peek of what you can expect to find.







Meet Your Makers: Al Roback of Grass Frame Works

 

Ever wanted a bike frame that’s completely sustainable and totally unique? Vancouver’s Grass Frame Works has just the thing: a bicycle made from bamboo.

 

Al Roback spent time researching the varieties and uses of bamboo and had the inspiration to start building bamboo bicycles when he was studying in Asia.

 

When he’s not on the production line, he spends his time finding materials and parts for Grass Frames’ bikes, sourcing them as locally and sustainably as possible. In fact, sustainability is one of Grass Frames’ top priorities. Their frames are manufactured from bamboo poles, hemp fibre, aluminium fittings and plant-oil derived epoxy. They constantly source out the most ethically grown bamboo and most eco-friendly products on the market, while also cutting down on waste in the production process.

 

Driven by a need for local, innovative, and sustainable manufacturing, they also offer a course teaching others to build their own frame. Here’s what Al had to say about his influences, the bike-making process, and what he plans to bring to this year’s Maker Faire.

 

 

How did you come up with the idea for making bamboo bicycles?

 

I was studying in Asia and noticed the way they used bamboo in construction of buildings and furniture. Being a cyclist and a woodworker, it got my mind going. What started a a side project ended up being a really great bike.

 

How important is sustainability to you, and how does this influence your product development?

 

Sustainability is one of Grass Frames top priorities. We constantly source out the most ethically grown bamboo and most Eco friendly products on the market while cutting down on waste in the production process.  It really results in better quality bikes in the end.

 

Are you the first company ever to manufacture bamboo bikes?

 

I wish I could claim that! Bamboo bicycles have been around for a long time. They were making them in England at the turn of the century and now in Australia, Asia and the USA there are companies that have been making them for a few years. But we’re proud to be the first company in Canada to making bamboo bicycles.

 

 

I gotta ask, how durable is a bamboo bike frame, and how much does one cost?

 

The bikes are incredibly durable. Because they are bound at each end, the bamboo will keep its structural integrity even if it were to crack in a situation like being hit by a vehicle. We do offer a 10-year warranty with each of our bikes. We’re extremely confident on their durability. The frame alone is $2000 and a full bicycle starts at $3000.

 

What do you plan on bringing / demonstrating at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire this year?

 

We will have the bikes out with us, be doing some fun demonstrations on the durability of bamboo, and showing people how we build our frames. We might even build a frame at the Faire to show our process.

 

Awesome!

 

Meet the Grass Frame Works team at Maker Faire tomorrow, or visit their website for product and ordering info.







Meet Your Makers: David Gowman – The Legion of Flying Monkeys Horn Orchestra

 

David Gowman, or Mr. Fire-Man as he’s better known online, is a prolific instrument-maker, performer, orchestra leader and culture creator.

 

Mr. Fire-Man creates events that allow viewers to become participators. He trains volunteers to act as ‘shills,’ or prepared performers hidden in the audience. He also creates physical artworks (horns made from local, natural materials), and composes song structures that allow simple interactions to happen – such as a ‘Call and Response’ song.

 

The result of such meticulous preparation is not only to make musical instruments, but also to create a cultural moment that sicks in participants’ memories. The result is a unique event where the barrier between performer and audience is removed, resulting in the union of creator and consumer.

 

From his Maker Faire bio:

 

“In 2002 I made a horn from a stick of elderberry wood. It took about two hours of labour to produce a sound. Nine years later, a band called the Legion of Flying Monkeys Horn Orchestra entertains with the descendants of that horn (there are over forty as of last count). Looking back, that simple act of burning a shaft through the pith to make a chamber was a turning point leading to a near decade of music, interactive art and instrument making.”

 

As I learned more about him, I became more and more intrigued. Homemade horns? More than forty of them? All made from natural materials? Combined to create a Horn Orchestra? And anyone can take part??

 

Supercool!

 

So I caught up with Mr. Fire-Man to find out more about his work, and hear what he plans to demonstrate at this year’s Maker Faire.

 

What’s the The Legion of Flying Monkeys Horn Orchestra all about? Can you describe your sound?

 

The Legion of Flying Monkeys is an interactive art project that happens to have an orchestra specializing in singalong music. We also have monkey puppets, parades of clowns, diabolical corporate geneticists and dangerously hypnotic lounge experiences, but perhaps for this interview I should focus on the orchestra.

 

Our sound is midway between Circus Sideshow and Zombie Apocalypse, though you should judge for yourself.

 

You make horns from local, natural materials such as old felt hats, hardwood branches, the dried stems of giant cow parsnip and papier mache. What are your favourite materials to work with, and why?

 

My current favourite material is empresswood because of its ease of carving, lightweight nature and speed of growth. Also, I am cultivating it locally at the Means of Production Garden with some success.  A well pruned empress will produce 18 feet of new, hollow growth in a season.

 

 

A neat thing about your live events is how they allow the viewers to become participants. Can you tell us more about how this works?

 

Most of our songs have an interactive element, meaning a part that the audience can sing (or yell as the case may be). Simple structures such as a call and response style facilitate easy entrance into the spirit of participation even for the uninitiated.

 

How can someone check out your events? When do they happen, and where  are they located?

 

My events are always posted on my website. Currently we’re playing Midsummer Fete at Colony Farms on Sunday June 24th, the Jazz Fest on Saturday July 1 in David Lam Park, the Railway Club on Wednesday July 18th (9pm) and Maker Faire before all of these, on the Saturday afternoon.

 

What do you plan on bringing / demonstrating at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire this year? How interactive will it be?

 

I’ll be bringing several horns for random visitors to try, many alcohol wipes to disinfect them in-between, and a huge selection of razor sharp tools for children to handle (just kidding). You can expect loud horn blasts to emanate from my booth throughout the day.

 

 







Meet Your Makers: Rachael Ashe

 

Rachael Ashe is an emerging Vancouver artist working in the mediums of altered books, photography and collage. She often works with recycled materials and found objects to create three-dimensional altered books and mixed-media collage.

 

As well, she plays with paper, paint, rubber stamps, reclaimed papers, and old book pages to create her work. This particular piece is my favourite:

 

 

Her compositions feature whimsical scenes inspired by the natural world, and she combines colour, texture, and striking compositions to create imagery that is personal and expresses a love of imagination.

 

Being a bit of a book nerd (not just in terms of reading, but in terms of collecting idiosyncratic, book-related things), I was excited to pick Rachael’s brain to find out what she plans to demonstrate at this year’s Maker Faire, and to learn more about her artistic process.

 

Your work is beautiful, and I am a particular fan of your altered books. Can you walk me through your creative process?

 

Opus Art Supplies recently did a video feature about my work, and gives the viewer a terrific view of my process:

 

 

My process is iterative and often spontaneous. I do my best work when I get out of the way and let the ideas flow. With respect to the altered book work I create, the compositions I come up with are either inspired by a particular material or object I’d like to incorporate into a book, or because I’m experimenting with a new way of manipulating the pages through cutting, folding, etc. Most of the books I use to create altered books end up with me because someone no longer wanted them.

 

 

You often use recycled materials and found objects to make your art. What is the most unique found object you’ve ever worked with?

 

The most unique found object I’ve worked with to date would have to be a crow’s foot. I was working on a series called, Forgotten Knowledge, which combined natural found objects with a set of encyclopedias. I just happened to come across it in a park, and decided to use the foot in one of the books after carefully preserving it. I’ve also used bones in my compositions a few times.

 

 

Who / where do you look to for inspiration?

 

I get inspired by the materials I work with, and by the challenge of coming up with new ways of working, but the content of my work is heavily influenced by nature. I also make a point of meeting up with my fellow artists and makers because I get inspired and energized by sharing ideas with others.

 

Your work has been shown in cities all over North America and in the UK. Is there something about your work that makes it distinctly Canadian, or West Coast?

 

I’ve managed to show outside of Canada because I sought out those opportunities. I don’t really feel my work is distinctly Canadian or West Coast. I actually feel my work doesn’t fit very well at all into the Vancouver art scene.

 

What do you plan on bringing / demonstrating at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire this year?

 

As with last year, I’ll be displaying some of my recent work. I’ll also have a second table set up for people to hang out and make things from books and book pages. I recently acquired a donation of materials from a law library decommissioning some of their collection, and I’m bringing some of these along for people to work with. I won’t be teaching a formal workshop, just offering suggestions and guidance if needed. I’m curious to see what people will want to make, as it can be difficult for people to get their heads around working with books as a material.

 

Stunning!

 

Check our more of Rachael’s work on her website, twitter, and Facebook.







Young Makers @ MOV Postponed…

 

The Young Makers Club at the Museum of Vancouver will be postponed till Fall 2012. Come to Vancouver Mini Maker Faire on June 23 & 24 at the PNE to see some of our current Young Makers. There will also be a sign-up sheet to keep you informed about future Young Makers programs at the Museum of Vancouver.

 

We are excited about the future possibilities of this youth program and will need your support. If you are inspired to start your own Young Makers Club in your garage, backyard, workshop, or community centre you can find more information at www.youngmakers.org.

 

Check out what some other communities are doing with their Young Makers Clubs!

Saphira - A fire breathing dragon built by the Central Marin Young Makers Club

 

 







Insane for Indie? Hysterical for Handmade? Got Craft? is Too!

 

Got Craft? is Andrea + Robert: a husband and wife event management and wedding coordination team based in London, UK and Vancouver. Providing crafty wares to young, trendsetting individuals, they share a love for handmade indie craft that goes beyond the simple charms of the macaroni art piece.

 

Got Craft? aims to bring together a community that fosters handmade and DIY culture by supporting like-minded events such as DIY @ Museum of Vancouver, the Austin, TX and Vancouver Premiere of Handmade Nation, Swap-O-Rama-Rama 2009 and 2010, Vancouver Mini Maker Faire and the Sweetie Pie Press 2011 Summer Craft Tour.

 

When they’re not busy filling their blog with field trips and beloved crafty things, you can find Andrea and Robert selling their handmade goods at local events, or hosting fun and interactive badge-making workshops.

 

We recently caught up with Andrea to learn more about what Got Craft? is all about, and to find out what they plan to demonstrate at this year’s Maker Faire.

 

Can you talk a bit about what Got Craft? and Lotus Events is all about?

 

Lotus events inc. is an event management and wedding coordination company that Robert and I started in 2004 to work on a mix of corporate, independent contracts, and self-produced events such as Got Craft?. Got Craft?, aka myself and Robert, is a husband and wife team that shares a love for handmade indie craft. We are devoted to the Vancouver handmade community by supporting like-minded events such as DIY @ Museum of Vancouver, the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire, the Vancouver Premiere of Handmade Nation, Swap-O-Rama-Rama, and Indie I Do.

As designers ourselves, we wanted to curate a boutique event to showcase some of our favourite handmade artists and provide Vancouver the opportunity to shop for one-of-a kind goods in a casual environment. Attendees are able to meet the makers in person to talk about their handmade goods and creative processes, as well as craft their own take home DIY project.

Aimed at bringing together a community that fosters handmade and DIY Culture, Got Craft? was founded in 2007 and is held twice a year in May and December featuring 50+ handmade designers and an average attendance of 3000+ a year.

 

What events do you host in the city, when do they happen, and where they are located?

 

As I mentioned above, we are we have been involved with events such as DIY @ Museum of Vancouver, the Austin, TX premiere of Handmade Nation, and the Sweetie Pie Press 2011 Summer Craft Tour. We are also happy to have had the opportunity to produce events such as the Vancouver Premiere of Handmade Nation, Swap-O-Rama-Rama 2009 and 2010, and the Sweetie Pie Press 2011 Summer Craft Tour. As well, we are super excited to be a part of the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire again this year!

 

What do you plan on bringing / demonstrating at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire this year?

 

Got Craft? will be hosting a DIY button-making workshop at the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire! We’ll have two sizes of buttons for you to choose from including a large selection of pre-made patterns and custom Got Craft? images, or you can draw your own unique design! We’ll be on-hand to turn those creations into your own custom button!

 

Who are some of the crafters that came out to Got Craft’s event in early May? Any highlights, or new features?

 

Last May was one of our busiest Spring shows ever with the swag bag line up starting at 5:15am for a 10:00am door opening. We even had a special guest, Carol, that flew in from Chicago for the second time to attend the show!

 

We truly believe that it takes a village and we heart each and every one of our vendors! It wouldn’t be fair to us to have to choose our favourites, so you can check out our website for a full list of vendors that joined us for our Spring show.

 


Any exciting plans for Got Craft? in 2013?

 

We are always tweaking different aspects of the event or working on ways to make Got Craft? event better. We do have a few big announcements that we are working on, but you are just going to have to wait a bit longer!

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To learn more about Got Craft?, preview their upcoming events on their website or check them out on Facebook.

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Photo credits: [stu-di-o] by jeanie.







‘Biopoiesis’ Project Profile: Carlos and Steven Invite Makers to Help Create Cybernetic Art

 

 

Carlos Castellanos and Steven J Barnes will be showing their project Biopoiesis at this year’s VMMF. They are members of Dprime Research and Carlos is a graduate student at SFU’s School of Interactive Art and Technology. You can see Biopoiesis at the SFU booth, or check it out June 5-10 during an interactive exhibition at Gallery Gachet.

 

Biopoiesis is an electrical device that grows its own wires. Before I saw it in the gallery I didn’t even know that was possible. Can you tell us more about how it works and where the idea came from?

 

The project is based on cyberneticist Gordon Pask’s work in the 1950s on electrochemical computational devices [in electrochemical solutions electricity causes a chemical reaction]. In Biopoesis, the solution is held between two plates of glass with wires running into it. When we send electricity into it, the solution grows its own wires, or “threads” as we often call them.

 

 

The threads are made of conductive crystal structures and they grow unpredictably, but we can make them react to their surroundings by hooking the wires up to a sensor, like a microphone. So in Biopoiesis, the threads are capturing information about their environment in the way they grow. We’re also recording the growth of the threads with a video camera and using that to alter the electricity going into the solution. This is a classic cybernetic feedback loop, the threads grow based on electricity in the wires, and the electricity in the wires is altered based on how the threads grow.

 

The project is part of an exhibition called Proof-of-Process where visitors can interact with and change the work on display. What led you to organize a show like that?

 

Much of interactive or new media art is what they call “process-based”; the work is often characterized by continuous prototyping and testing. Typically the artist creates several pieces that explore a central concept, and then displays them in an exhibit.

 

We wanted to open that process up. Basically reversing the standard gallery exhibit, where you see the finished product but not all of the work that went into it. This is pretty common in the art world these days, and this is just our particular take on it. When we started DPrime Research we wanted to try and make interesting/weird art-science projects but also bring them and the ideas surrounding them “down to earth”. So there is this tension between our complicated ideas and theories and this sort of community-based, open-sourcing of the work, where people can come and change the art without knowing all the theory behind it. I think having that unresolved tension can be good.

 

I’ve often heard members of local makerspaces talk about how diverse the maker community is, and the School of Interactive Arts and Technology is an interdisciplinary department. Has working with people from different backgrounds had an impact on your art?

 

I think it has but probably not in the way I may have imagined. I should say that my background is originally in music, I never really wanted to be an “artist” in the stereotypical sense. And I have always been interested in technology. Being at SIAT is probably what got me interested in alternative modes of computation like Biopoiesis. It’s like I said to myself, “everyone else is coding all the time, let me try and NOT do that”.

 

What’s your favorite part of the project so far?

 

It’s open-endedness. All of the projects in Proof-of-Process can be configured in so many different ways. We are really looking forward to others coming in with their ideas. I’m sure they will come up with things we never would have thought of.

 







Less than 2 days left of Call for Makers!

 

All good things must come to an end, and the Call for Makers for Vancouver Mini Maker Faire 2012 is no different. We’ve had some excellet Makers apply over the last 10 weeks, and I can’t wait to share some of them with you via this blog!

 

But it’s time to finalize the planning for the event, and as such Saturday May 19 will mark the end of the Call for Makers. If you’ve been putting off applying, now’s your last chance to get in! So head on over to the Call for Makers page, and fill out one of the application forms.