This past weekend was the Mini Maker Faire at OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry). When I asked my husband if he wanted to go and take our three year old, we decided it would be best for me to just go solo. I got there later than I was hoping but still had the chance to walk around and talk to some of the people in the booths and see what was happening in the maker world.
My first encounter was with the Oregon Rocketry booth where they were allowing kids to make their own rockets and shoot them 100 feet up into the air. My three year old has been begging to make a rocket ship all weekend and I was feeling disappointed that he wasn't there. But as I looked around at the other booths I was happy to see all of the other kids pushing their creativity. There was a station for them to make cardboard costumes, collograph prints, small denim treasure sacks, and clay sculptures. There were also opportunities for them to see the amazing technologies of laser cutters, 3-D printers, routers, and robotics. There was even a soccer playing robot!
These kinds of opportunities are so important for children to experience. While walking around, I remembered an outdoor art fair that I used to go to as a child at the Mobile Art Museum. They had kid booths set up so that we could use our fingerprints to make small animals or fish for a prize behind a curtain. I loved making at that fair and today was envious of the kids that had this opportunity. These are the kinds of experiences that kids remember; outside of school hands-on learning. The adults seem excited which gets the kids excited too.
It just seemed like people here were passionate about what they were doing. I talked to guy at the laser cutting booth about my new love for laser cutting and got some tips from him. I also met a board game designer and initiated a conversation about board games, the many aspects of being creative you can use in board game design, and the questions that I have about the users of board games these days. The highlight of the day was hearing an artist from Laika speak about her work as a Costume Designer. She spoke of her influences in life and her work in the film and fashion industry. We even got to see the miniature knitting needle that she used to make her miniature "jumpers" for the characters in Coraline and two puppets (one from Boxtrolls and the other from Kubo and the Two Strings). It seems that creative people are so passionate about how they spend their time. Maybe there is something to this maker movement!