Bay Area Maker Faire recap (part 1)

by susanstars on 10/06/2007

in Art+Design

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 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.

Special thanks to Natalie, Nancy, Jenny, and Bonnie for generously sharing their photos with me. You can find lots more pictures and write-ups here:

Natalie‘s posts on the CRAFT blog and photos on flickr

Bonnie’s photos on flickr

Jenny’s photos on flickr

Nancy’s photos on flickr

Tricia’s post on Bits and Bobbins

All of the nearly 6,000 photos on flickr tagged “makerfairebayarea2007″

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 corina June 10, 2007 at 10:29 pm

You had a great time! thank you for sharing!


2 Heather June 11, 2007 at 1:54 am

Maker Faire was awesome – I didn’t get to see much of it as I was running Swap-O-Rama-Rama on the other side of the fairgrounds, so thanks for sharing your photos. For photos of the Swap check out and scroll down a bit.


3 Nutmeg June 11, 2007 at 10:52 am

Lovely! Thanks so much for sharing. I’ll be there next year for sure. :)


4 susanstars June 11, 2007 at 11:10 am

thanks, I am so glad you’re liking the photos!

Heather — thanks for the link. I was so disappointed to miss Swap-O-Rama-Rama, I really wanted to get over there. Looks like it was amazing!


5 Joan June 12, 2007 at 4:21 am

Looks great! I don’t think there’s any fair like that over here in the UK. Makes me homesick for good old No Cal! Thanks for the bits you’ve brought us.


6 Bonnie June 12, 2007 at 5:42 am

Thanks for blogging about my Make a Yoda doll demo!!!
You rock! and it was awesome to finally meet you in person.


7 cecily June 12, 2007 at 8:29 am

That was a great time! We had an amazing time in the booth. Spreading the crochet love is always a ball, but the excitement at the Faire made it amazing!


8 Chloe June 12, 2007 at 9:59 am

Oh my, that looks like too much fun! A girl could get seriously inspired at a place like that :-)


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