I had the chance to hang out at the Maker Faire in San Mateo, California a few weeks ago, which was amazing — I taught a little jewelry-making demo in the CRAFT magazine workshop area both days. The Faire took over the entire San Mateo Fairgrounds this year and in two full days of wandering around, I probably only saw a third of it: the inspiring crafty exhibits, workshops, presentations, ArtCars, and the dozens of Bazaar Bizarre vendors were plenty to keep me busy!
There were all kinds of free crafty classes and demos going on simultaneously both days. I snapped pictures of a few of my favorites:
Nancy Flynn taught two wonderful beginner-friendly sewing classes, each using bias tape as a stylish design element to edge a tote bag or tank top. She’s posted free patterns and tutorials for both projects on her blog, and set up a flickr pool for people to share their finished pieces, too.
Tricia Royal of bitsandbobbins did a presentation on her street fashion community, Wardrobe Remix, and gave everyone there a copy of her “re(sources) for re(mixing)” guide to crafting your own style through embellishments, dyeing, knitting, printing, and thrift store shopping. She also posted a PDF on her site for free downloading — so handy and so inspiring.
Bonnie Burton (who does all the cool craft projects for StarWars.com) taught a wildly popular two-day demo: Sew This Yoda Doll, You Must. She had glitter felt, googly eyes, scissors and needles and thread at the ready for the dozens of Yoda enthusiasts who stayed over an hour to sew their creations! The pattern and instructions are available online, too.
Jamie Marie Chan taught two fiber arts classes: needle-felting and yarn-spinning, which also drew big crowds. Leah Kramer and her husband Dave spun a pretty gorgeous strand of yarn after just a few minutes with the spindle.
Lion Brand Yarn also offered free drop-in knitting and crochet classes throughout the Faire, courtesy of guest instructors Shannon Okey and Cecily Keim. Here’s Shannon knitting away at the world’s longest two-sided scarf, while Cecily and Liz show off some of the many hyperbolic coral reefs they’ve crocheted.
Lotta Jansdotter gave a charming presentation on the main stage, spotlighting her new book, Simple Sewing (also see Kathreen’s review here). She talked about her own creative experiences and signed copies of her book with this gorgeous little drawing.
Lotta’s publisher, Chronicle Books, hosted several other author alt-craft events at their booth too — here’s the “Punk’s Not Dead” mohawk hat from Pretty in Punk (modeled by Nancy Deane of Chronicle) and a special Build This Bong demo by author Randy Stratton.
And Carlo Rossi put on a 21+ event extraordinaire: crafters of drinking age could taste their table wines while painting, appliqueing, decoupaging, and embellishing empty wine jugs. I thought this feathery Big Bird was great.
Outside the expo buildings were a whole slew of ArtCars — I especially loved my friend Joanne Owens’ truck, Bruce (which she’s covering with patterns of tiny, colorful toys and trinkets) and Costas Schuler’s Mercedes Penz, which has over 5000 used pens, pencils and markers on every surface, to amazing effect.
And of course there were all kinds of enchanting science experiment-meets-craft challenges to gawk at. One of my favorites was the brigade of golf-cart-sized cupcakes on wheels that went whizzing through the thick of things!
I’ll be doing a quick follow-up featuring some of the remarkable crafts for sale at the Bazaar Bizarre — there are just too many things (and photos) to cram into one post.