There is something special about a Maker Faire- beyond the boom of a fire-breathing robot, whistle of model steam train, klick of knitting needles or smell of solder in the air, there is a buzz. It isn’t a sound but a feeling -like exploring a new city. Maker Faires have the anticipation of adventure- you never know what magic the next booth will bring or who you’ll meet, but you know it will be awesome. From small towns to cities like Paris and Hong Kong Maker Faires are happening around the globe, but like the Rocky Mountains, the one we’ve got is pretty unique. Colorado is home to a diverse group of makers from cutting-edge tech developers, creative organizations like Meow Wolf and hobbyists building pinball exhibits and lifesized B-25 bombers. Over the years the Faire has been at a number of venues and this year we’ll be at the National Western Complex. Along with the new location, the Denver Maker Faire has a new board of directors and event manager. Elise VanDyne, who had produced past Faires has taken a fabulous position in California working for the Russian River Chamber of Commerce. Her humor and passion for building an outstanding Faire will be missed.
Stepping into those mighty big shoes to fill is a group of enthusiastic individuals who are fresh to this Faire but longtime makers, fest planners, booth presenters and super geeks.
Managing the Faire this year, Dana Cain has won 14 “Best of Denver”Westword awards for events she owns and operates including “Best Annual Festival”. If you’ve been to the the Denver Modernism Show or recent Unicorn Festival, you’ll know how lucky we are to have her on the team. Her geek/maker creds are strong, just releasing a science fiction rock opera to CD and vinyl which she started working on in highschool.
Leading the board of directors for Making Progress Colorado, the non-profit who operates the Denver Maker Faire is Dan Griner. Currently Director of Design Strategy with Link Product Development and Lecturer at CU Denver. With roles as an Affiliate Professor at Metro State University, Director at DSK ISD in Pune India and Head of Jungbu District EPIK English Program in Korea, Dan has a diverse background in both professional and educational design practices. Former chair of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of IDSA Industrial Designers Society of America, he is well versed in facilitating non-profit groups to support the creative and financial potential of their individual members. But Dan is no stuffed shirt, look for the guy in the cool glasses and easy laughter who’s unloading the truck or helping at the ticket booth and you’ve found our man.
Board member Kate Goodman is mostly a writer who finds herself in the role of professor and researcher for Inworks at CU Denver. Kate researches transformative experiences in higher education — those moments when students connect what they learn in the classroom with the “real world,” which requires intrinsic motivation, and taps into perceptual expertise and creativity. In particular, she has looked at how engineering and other students learn in non-traditional learning environments. What kind of learning is happening when we actually make something instead of studying it? And how can we improve those experiences? Despite the tendency of academics to be insular, she has stayed deliberately polymathic, with publications in topics like engineering education, aesthetics of design, and bioinformatics.
Omar-Pierre Soubra is recognized as one of the international drivers of the Maker Movement, and has collaborated on a regular base with Make: magazine, actively participates at multiple Maker Faires around the World and is the initiator and organizer of the first annual Maker Faire Cape Town, South Africa, in August 2015. He also represented Trimble at the White House Champions of Change for Making in June 2016. He has developed several products for the construction, geospatial and architecture industries, with 16 international patents, in products combining optics, long range 3d scanning (LIDAR) and video camera solutions.
Our final board introduction is to Shawn Bowman, a subversive craft writer and artist who teaches comic creation and game design at Pop Culture Classroom for the producers of Denver Comic Con. Outside of the classroom, Bowman is an armchair gearhead and part owner of vintage sports car shop Ax and Allies Automotive which specializes in repair and restoration of pre 1980’s British and French vehicles . A consummate creator, she has participated in a number of Maker Faires around the west, as booth presenter, speaker and enthusiastic fan girl. As a board member, Bowman aims to embrace the concept of “Tequity”; the active practice of creating situations and opportunities to promote underserved and underrepresented individuals and organizations in the tech and related fields; ensuring equal accessibility to information, career development and job security, leveling the playing field to create an industry which accurately reflects our community.
Moving forward, the production team relies on your input and support. If you’d like to become more involved in the Faire beyond a booth, please reach out- we’d be happy for more volunteer help, sponsorship or to get your feedback from previous Faires. And please nudge your maker friends to bring their own creations in October, there’s nothing like workshopping your concept to a crowd of thousands to take a bright idea into the next big thing.
We are so fortunate in the talented makers that volunteer to put on the amazing Maker Faire Denver for you. Check out Andrew Fredrickson and enjoy these photos from the weekend.
Meet the Maker : Andrew Fredrickson
How did you become a member of the maker community?
Started last year with volunteering for the event in Loveland through a friend and prime member of the community, thought it was an absolutely fascinating movement and loved seeing kids and people of all backgrounds engage the with makers themselves.
Are you a professional or hobbyist maker – tell us about your work/hobby.
Not a direct maker of anything, but more of an artist. Photography has been the one art medium I’ve latched onto the hardest and I’m continually improving my own skills and work. I would like to try to make prints / framing in the near future should I gain demand for my shots.
What is your earliest maker memory?
Earliest memories for making things was grade school I think, I know I loved doing pottery and painting, things I seldom do these days but still like to engage with them when I can.
What do you think is the value of the maker movement?
Simply put, Maker movements are essential for us as humans to express our creativity, our community and give options and tools for those who want to be creative. This is a prime area that can improve American life and life in general around the globe, from urban manufacturing, to cross-sector collaboration, co-creating public spaces, crowdsourcing and engaging the young members of the community as the force for change and how it affects the future. The Maker community is still growing, but I see so much more potential and what it could do for the world over.
What is your motivation to being a member of the maker community?
I want to see the community thrive and expand even further than it has now. Denver Maker Faire was a sight to behold and I was super happy to apart of it, loved that Meow Wolf was able to sponsor it and hope to see them join the community as well for future events. I anticipate I will be able to attend again next year and perhaps expand again on another role to help get the word out across the state about this amazing event.
What is your favorite experiment gone wrong?
Best thing I can think of was when I was just starting to learn how to piece PCs together from scratch at a young age of 12, with experience they are as easy to put together as a LEGO set would be. But in my case, I was trying hard to figure out why this video card would not pop out of the motherboard and basically shattered it in half for not seeing the lock holding the card in the case. Thankfully it was an older PC and used only for teaching purposes much to my relief thankfully.
An interesting fact we should all know?
I have a website (kynthic.com) that I encourage others to look at for samples of my other work and for my blog. During the month of August of this year I did a month long roadtrip with my father across the West Coast of the USA. Visited four states (NM, AZ, CA & OR) in a Tesla and wrote a travel blog about my adventures, impressions and photos of what I saw and did. Still need to write a couple more entries about the trip but I do also type out my thoughts from time to time on it as well. Updates to the site itself happen about once a month, new pieces coming shortly!
Paul Hodson is the owner of Tropix Aquaponics, makers AquaBottle and BettaBottle, the only battery powered aquariums made out of 95% recycled or biodegradable materials that are lightweight, compact, portable, self sustaining, and 3D printed.
What is your earliest maker memory?
I created an aquarium out of a soda bottle by cutting a 2-liter bottle in half and tying it together with string. I used a drinking straw for the intake.
What do you enjoy most about being a maker?
I like working with my hands. I especially enjoy the process of 3D printing and soldering.
What’s your big audacious goal?
I plan to have at least one retail Tropix Aquaponics store in Fort Collins.
What do you want to accomplish in the next one to two years?
We want to raise enough money to have a commercial space so we can mass produce aquariums.
What is your biggest challenge?
Creating a 3D design that worked. I went through prototype after prototype without success. It took about two-years of trail and error to perfect a design I liked and that worked well.
What is something that would surprise people about you?
I can solder individual pins as small as 1/32″ without bridging (connecting) them.
You can purchase Tropix Aquaponics supplies and build your own aquarium with Paul’s assistance at the 2017 Denver Maker Faire on October 14-15 at the Denver Mart. For more information and tickets go to denver.makerfaire.com/faq.