maker faire 2010.

it’s been days since maker faire ended and i’ve been experiencing a serious a loss for words every time i try to begin describing it. maybe it’s all the lack of sleep catching up with me, or all the words i’ve written in the last 3 weeks (before and during the faire), or the fact that my jaw is still on the floor, that’s leaving me incapable of forming the proper words. or maybe it’s that maker faire was magic. pure and simple, not much more to say than, maker faire was magic!

some things i remember:

the size of the place. football fields of people and things people make: robots! electric cupcake cars! a 41 foot rocket ship you can climb around in! a lego car! a commercial space shuttle! a giant lit-up insect! a giant mouse trap! rube goldberg machines! a fire breathing snail car! a lit up buddha statue! a teletype machine! the steam punks! a machine with a crank that turns a tongue that licks a lollipop! a machine you put a quarter in and little people begin to reenact long lost art of tomato worship! a beautiful kinetic sculpture hanging from the rafters! yarn spinning! screen printing! sewing! an infomercial! (yes, an infomercial!)

delilah. a 6 foot reclining figure of a woman, made entirely of typewriter parts, without any soldering or welding or adhesives of any kind. just typewriter parts affixed together to make one of the most striking sculptures i’ve ever seen. especially because it’s anatomically correct. yes. all the right parts in the right places, including ovaries and a uterus. no heart, though, as giving her one put her off balance. (how poetic is that? yes, i wrote a poem about it!) thanks to sculptor jeremy mayer for dreaming this up. i won’t soon forget it.

typewriter jewelry & an important realization. as beautiful as i think it can sometimes look, maker faire made me realize i feel the same way about typewriter jewelry as i do about veal–i don’t care how delicious it is, it’s cruel. i ask you, what did that old glass keyed royal ever do to deserve such an end?

that man i didn’t meet. he stood about 5 feet away, reading the sign hung above my little shop. it read: the poetry store: n. 1. a typewriter. a poet. a vision: poetry for sale on demand. 2. objective + obstruction = art. this man’s face was filled with a kind of wonder, intrigue, and delight. it’s like he just became a smile right in front of me. sure, he could have been thinking about the gigantic handmade ice cream cone he just ate, but i saw him stop when he saw the sign, i watched him read it, and i’d like to think he was taken by a stranger offering a kind of strange and interesting thing.

the banana family. a curious and cotton candy eating family approached me, asked me what i was doing, and then decided they wanted a poem. when mom found a piece of paper with bananas on it, they decided they wanted a poem about bananas. so, i turned to the youngest, as he shoved a piece of cotton candy into his mouth and made the most adorable chewing faces i have ever seen, “why do you like bananas?” he replied, “because the have osahsahsum.” i didn’t catch the last bit, “because they have what?” “osahsahsum,” he said again. i turned to his mom for help. “osahsahsum,” he said again. mom and i looked at each other, puzzled. then it clicked. potassium! he likes bananas because they have potassium. (note: i will think of this moment in moments when i might need to laugh and cheer myself up a bit.)

aloma. we met over photos she sent me. beautiful black and whites. one, of her daughter as a mime with an umbrella. the other, a sad girl at a window. i wrote poems about them. and aloma said the nicest things anyone could say. and then she came to meet me at maker faire, with her family. such a surprise. and such a lovely exchange.

all the kids who collect typewriters. you rock!

here. a tattoo on a woman’s chest, just above her heart, letters plain, simple. she asked me to write her a poem for her future child. the tattoo became inspiration. and remains the best tattoo i think i’ve ever seen.

kate. one of the makers of the maker faire! by which i mean, one of the amazing people who puts it all together for us makers. kate’s energy was as mind blowing as the faire itself. and seemingly endless! she introduced herself with huge smiles and we hugged and we literally shouted with glee about how great it was to meet each other and she said the nicest things imaginable and we laughed and jumped around and hugged some more and it was awesome. and then, on the last day of the faire, while i was packing up shop, she came running, wearing a gigantic sweatshirt and pants that are obviously not hers, waving a manilla envelope, “oh, i’m so glad you didn’t leave!” my face said, “what are you wearing?” and she waved it off, “oh, i was helping out with aqua boy and i got soaked and freezing so i just grabbed whatever was around.” hilarious. and then, she beamed, “i think what you do is amazing and i wanted to give you this blue ribbon!” i gasped. i didn’t even know there was such a thing! it felt as glorious as getting a medal for finishing the san francisco marathon (i just wasn’t as sweaty). i felt so proud, so happy. so eternally grateful. the poetry store won an editor’s choice blue ribbon! yay!

thank-a-maker. my blue ribbon goes to the thank-a-makers, a group of middle school kids from an alternative school in colorado that decided they wanted to make a booth where people could make thank you cards for the makers and then the kids would hand deliver them! so charming! so thoughtful! what wonderful giving little hearts! and i got a thank you! (i had written them a poem, but i didn’t expect a thank you.) and it’s so beautiful i’m hanging it on my wall. forever.

the people i made cry. you have touched me too.

to top it all off. on the way home saturday night, i was as elated as i was exhausted. my face hurt from smiling. i’d seen so many beautiful things and met so many beautiful, interesting, creative, gracious people! i felt like i’d been lighting sparklers and catching fireflies and jumping into refreshing lake water all day. that’s how happy. and then, there, on highway 101, fireworks! and not just any fireworks, huge, dazzling, mesmerizing, perfectly timed fireworks! the most spectacular display i’d ever seen. a sure and clear sign that my life was (is!) magic. (i will admit: it was all so incredible, i actually cried a little.)

thank you maker faire, with all of me, for being what you are and for giving what you gave to me. i am forever indebted.

i’d also like to thank the following sites/people for writing & sharing such lovely words about me and what i do: andrew of giant fire breathing robot: & DJ, author of speck martin: the staggering life story of a man greater than the sum of his regenerating parts:

and thank you to amber for the photo; eden, kate, and kate for the typewriters; andy for the drawings; and my helper for being the best a gal could ask for.


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  1. […] Maker Faire was a lot of fun, and we even won an editor’s choice ribbon, although we’re one of a number of winners (That’s just the tip of the iceberg – a 30 second Google search […]

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