Have You Found What You Love To Do? Workshop Weekend Will Inspire You

Gil and J.D. Zamfirescu say they feel lucky to have discovered “a few of our own passions early on in life.”

Which led both brothers to MIT, where Gil earned his degree in economics and J.D. earned degrees in computer science. Gil went on to found FertilGas, an initiative dedicated to sustainable energy technology in Honduras. And J.D. co-founded Appjet, which was acquired by Google in 2009.

“Our experiences growing up inspired us to create Workshop Weekend,” the Zamfirescu brothers say. “We think everyone, young and old, should have the opportunity to discover [their] passion, and that belief has driven us to put together Workshop Weekend: It’s a way to encourage that exploration of passions.”

Workshop Weekend you ask?  Workshop Weekend is a pop-up maker university.  Take (or teach!) 1-3 hour workshops on science, technology, engineering, art, and more.  The next full-scale Workshop Weekends coming up is:
» November 10-11, 2012 at Tech Liminal and other venues in downtown Oakland

HOWEVER…  We’re excited to announce a “mini” Workshop Weekend at the East Bay Mini Maker Faire! Workshops will run through the day Sunday in their room upstairs in Studio One.  Workshops include:
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Accessorize Your Style: Clay Jewelry Making and Button Making

Patrick Schmidt is the owner of a brand new art gallery in Berkeley. The art of millefiori (pronounced mil-uh-fee-awr-ee) — employed in Patrick’s clay jewelry workshop — was first discovered in Ancient Roman times. The technique was subsequently lost for more than a thousand years until the 19th century, when a couple of crafty folks where able to figure out the process from scratch!

You’ll learn the technique in this workshop, and, as a bonus, you’ll be able to make your very own button.
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Sewing Up a Storm! Machine Sewing, Hand Sewing, and Using a Serger — Halloween Style! (pictured above)

Michelle Adam — a magnificent fashion maestra specializing in scrapcycling, the art of repurposing old or worn-out fabrics into completely new items — is currently working on her master’s degree in fashion design at the Academy of Art University.

“I like to make a game out of it by trying to see how much I can create from irregular pieces of fabric that others would consider useless,” Michelle says.

Michelle will teach you three essential sewing techniques: hand-sewing, machine sewing, and using a serger. You’ll use your skills to sew together a Halloween-themed item which you can take home with you!

“One of the first fashion pieces Michelle ever made was a dress made entirely of Post-It notes,” Gil says. “It was meant to represent women’s ability to multitask, and one of her professors fell so in love with it that she bought it off of her!”
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DIY Extraction: Getting Vanilla Flavor Out of Vanilla Beans!

Oakland-based Andrew Milmoe is a maker and educator extraordinaire. He founded the “Make:SF” community of makers and explorers, and has taught or assisted in over 100 workshops over the past few years.

You’ll take home a bottle of your very own vanilla extract to use in homemade cookies, ice cream — whatever you like!

FIND WORKSHOP WEEKEND UPSTAIRS IN STUDIO ONE.  See the SCHEDULE page for complete lineup and times.

Makers: Crash the Faire!

Announcing the Pop-Up Maker Share Zone!
Hey Folks, this suggestion just popped up from Jeff Edmonston — East Bay Dad/Maker/EBMMF Facebook friend.  Thanks Jeff!

Got a great idea or presentation and didn’t have the bandwidth to apply by our deadline? Buy a ticket to the Faire and bring your project to our Pop-Up Maker Share Zone

Bring your DIY project, your hacked up wonders, your art, and your smile.
The Community Share Zone is an area where you can show off your projects and check out what your other Makers have been doing.

Amaze friends and strangers, start an impromptu circuit bending music jam, let your LEDs shine.  You don’t need to have a full scale booth or fancy presentation to share your stuff at the East Bay Maker Faire, just be willing to demo and talk about your project, meet others in the community and exchange ideas.  Have something awesome you made from Adafruit, Sparkfun, Make Weekend Projects, Instructables, or any of the many kit makers and idea markets that have exploded to fill our idle hours with joy? Bring it out and share your enthusiasm with others.  This is not for adults only – let the kids bring their first soldering creations, bugbots, models, science fair projects, EVERYTHING!

Don’t have something to share?  Make sure to come by here and see projects that people have made their very first time soldering or creating, get inspired at the Pop-Up Maker Share Zone

Crash the Faire!

Guidelines:

  • Table space will be provided
  • No consumables (food and drinks) please
  • No high voltage or dangerous/hazardous items please
  • If you have a really big project or lots of stuff, please only bring what you can carry while enjoying the rest of the fair.  There is no storage space.
  • Please do not leave any presentation items unattended that are of personal value to you.
  • This is an “impromptu” or “pop-up” space that will be self-staffed by the faire participants.
  • You are entirely responsible for the items you bring.

 

Get yer Swap on Folks!

If you’re coming to the East Bay Mini Maker Faire, you gotta make stuff while you’re here. What better place than our Hands-On-Everything Zone at Studio One?

Tip from the Top: plan ahead for the Swap experience and bring a shirt to screenprint, and some clothes you either want to donate or something you’ve been dying to jazz up.

Swap-O-Rama-Rama is the brainchild of Wendy Tremayne, an inspired artist/maker/yogini/homesteader. Basically, its a clothing swap, a sewing room, a hackerspace, and a series of DIY/DIT (do it together) projects. Bring along some clothes or all that extra fabric you’ve been meaning to use. Grab something and turn it into something else. Make a Halloween costume, a cape, a costume, a monster or a miniskirt. Make a stuffed animal or a tea cozy or a shopping bag, a book cover or a tutu….use your imagination or avail yourself of ours!

This year, our sewing maven CC Clark is back in action with her rotary cutters, sewing machines, notions, trims, fabrics and projects galore. In addition, workshop artists Cedar Casper (young maker extraordinaire) will teach you to make a jeans purse and Jennifer Williams will get you cutting up old t-shirts to make TARN (t-shirt yarn) you can crochet into all kinds of neat stuff. Iggy from the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse will return as well, and make cars out of old floppy disks. Remember those?

Next door to the Swap/Sewing room is the Screenprinting Zone. This is the place to take any t-shirt, hoodie, skirt, totebag or any piece of fabric you can lay your hands on and transform it into something cool. The artists and homies from Oakland’s  Homeygrown collective will bring their original designs and help you create your very own work of art.

Also–thanks to 510 Families for helping promote the Faire and all our crafty efforts!

A HUGE Shout Out to Our Sponsors!

If you’ve visited our website over the past couple of months you might have noticed that the list of sponsor logos on the right side of the page has been growing.

We are deeply thankful for our event Sponsors–they help us cover the costs of producing this hands-on, fun-filled, inspirational juggling act we call the East Bay Mini Maker Faire.

The 2012 lead sponsors to date are:  Make Magazine, Park Day School, Studio One Art Center, City National Bank, Clif Kid, Brushstrokes Studio, Orange Door Properties, Galileo Learning, and CAMP 510. You guys rock!

Please frequent their businesses, buy their products, and stop by their booths at the Faire–Clay Sculpting with Brushstrokes, Seed Bombs with Orange Door Properties, Cob Oven Pretzel Making and Tasting with CAMP 510, Masks and Crown Eco-Crafts with Clif Kid, and A Shake and Quake Test Center with Galileo Learning.

We also are extremely grateful to Project 6, Greener Printer, and Lansharks who donated their time and services to help us with little things like design, printing, and wireless technology.

And our media sponsors did what they do best and got the word out to all of you.  Thanks to East Bay Express, Berkeleyside, Oakland Local, 510Families, and Edible East Bay.

See you all in four days!

Giant Public Art Coming Your Way: The Bay Lights


The Bay Lights is coming to the West Span of the Bay Bridge in 2013.

It is an large-scale civic art installation created by internationally renowned artist Leo Villareal, with over 25,000 white energy-efficient LEDs installed on the vertical cables of the West Span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

From my post earlier this year on makezine.com:

Proposed by artist Leo Villareal, The Bay Lights project will be a grid of 25,000 white LEDs spaced every foot on the suspension cables. “Each node will be individually addressable…each single pixel is controllable but working as a group to create an overall effect,” says Villareal.

Villareal has developed custom software and utilized Max/MSP/Jitter to get to a place of nuanced, three-layer control of the grid — something akin to video mixing. “It’s a long a process of making these discoveries, layering, refining; it becomes kind of like painting.

A graduate of ITP at NYIU, Villareal used to make his own LED boards and sequencers — when he was working with a microcontroller and 16 lights.  Now Villareal leverages commercially available Phillips hardware, but is deep into designing custom enclosures that could secure and protect the Bay Lights grid over its two-year lifespan.

Come meet members of the team behind this idea-gone-real, the makers behind making the largest light sculpture in the world. The LARGEST LIGHT SCULPTURE IN THE WORLD! In our backyard. Next year.

3PM Presentation Stage in the Studio One Theater.

Heaps of discarded toys + one hot glue gun + two innovative girls = MUTANTS!

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Some of Annabel and Elsa’s mutant creations.

A plastic green army man, in crawling position, bears Cinderella’s head. Shrek’s body kneels on the ground, with the face of a kewpie doll who needs a haircut. Tigger of Winnie the Pooh waves, using arms from a Barbie doll while balancing on ice skates.

The mutants are here. And there are many of them.

For 11-year-old girls Elsa Rudolph Swanson and Annabel Dudash, both students at Oakland schools and friends since preschool, modifying toys into Mutants has become a passion.

Asked to describe what a Mutant toy is, Annabel says, frankly, that “it’s a toy that was made out of other toys, so it’s not the same toy.”

Elsa (left) and Annabel (right).

For two years now, the girls have sold their Mutants at the monthly Oakland Art Murmurs; they’ve been featured in magazines; and the Oakland Museum has even lent their support to the girls in creating their toys.

In a short interview, Annabel said that she originally wanted to make party favors for her 9th birthday party and found some old toys that she could re-fashion and give out. “[My friends] loved them, and we didn’t have a hot glue gun, so we used wire,” she said.

Mutant-making at the Oakland Art Murmur.

Since then, the idea took off. These days, Annabel and Elsa use a hot glue gun to hack the toys, and at their recent Art Murmur table, they had twelve glue guns going at once as countless people made their own Mutants.

“We’ve made so much,” Annabel says. Russell, her dad, estimates that they’ve created hundreds of them. “We started pillaging toys from every thrift store we could think of,” he said. “And then when we started going to Art Murmur, people would say, ‘oh great, you’re here!’ and they would just give us heaps of old toys.” Family members would send them, too.

Eventually, Russell struck a sweet deal with Goodwill’s processing plant, and he and the girls have been able to dig through the barrels of discarded toys and take home dozens of pounds of toy parts. They then spend as many hours as they can, barring homework and bedtime constraints, cranking out toys as fast as possible.

Annabel and Elsa have a website, a Flickr page, and have completely sold out their wares — priced from $1-$5 — at various Art Murmurs over the last two years (they used the profits to buy an iPad and an iPod).

What does Annabel want to be when she grows up? “An engineer.” What kind? She shrugs. “That’s as far as I got.”

At the Mini Maker Faire, Annabel and Elsa (with help from their proud parents) will set up tables with Mutants, and everyone will be welcome to make their own Mutant. Check them out! 

Maker Profile: TweetHausOAK in the House!

Have you seen a western bluebird flitting about your neighborhood lately? This small thrush nests in pairs and feeds on insects (grasshoppers, termites, beetles, you name it)–a  great asset for the home gardener who occasionally does battle with bugs.  Cue TweethausOAK, a project of the FLUX Foundation that’s working with elementary school students to design, build, and install houses for the western bluebird, encouraging the growth and sustainability of the species in Oakland.

I had the pleasure of participating in the final celebration of the pilot Tweethaus project last spring where 17 3rd grade students from Park Day School, the magical cast of characters from the Flux Foundation, and a few supporting cast members ceremoniously planted the birdhouse posts in the soil.

After learning about the habitat desires of the western bluebird, the kids worked in teams to create and construct their birdhouses and then place them throughout the surrounding community.

Lucky for all of us, the FLUX Foundation folk will be at this year’s East Bay Mini Maker Faire and you too can contribute to the creation of a full-scale TweetHaus construction.  Throughout the day, FLUX will lead workshops where attendees can assemble and reassemble a giant, cardboard playhouse made of light cardboard and magnets.  A giant birdhouse puzzle, if you will, where you can help share concepts for future urban bird habitats.

Oh, and don’t miss the mobile fire sculptures, and FLUXcycles that will also be part of the FLUX Foundation exhibit at the Mini Maker Faire this year.  What, you ask?  Right.  Check it out.

3D Printing at East Bay Mini Maker Faire: Type A Machines, Hyrel 3D + More

I just got back from World Maker Faire New York, where an astonishing 70 different kinds of 3D printers were on display—maybe the largest single gathering of these “additive manufacturing” machines ever assembled!

To call 3D printing “hot” is a bit of an understatement.  Bre Pettis, the founder of the most well-known 3D printer company these days, MakerBot, is on the cover of WIRED magazine this month with the statement, “This Machine Will Change the World.”  !!?!  While I was in New York, a 3D printer company Formlab announced a new printer on Kickstarter, asking for $100K.  It was at $750K within 24 hours, and is now with 17 days remaining, at $1.786 MILLION.  3D printers are RED hot.

What is a 3D printer, you ask? 3D printers make three dimensional objects.  A computer design file generates a pattern, and an extruder that can move back and forth AND up and down AND side to side lays down successive layers of material on a tray (the “bed”).    A lot of printers use plastic rolled up on a big spool – kind of like “thread” – and the extruder melts it and lays it down. Cool innovations in types of material used — concrete, filaments of wood, metal — are making 3D printing more interesting.  It’s a tool only big manufacturers used to be able to afford and that more ambitious makers have in the past few years gotten their hands on; now everyone is saying it’s the next must-have fancy household appliance for everyone.

And YES we’ll have 3D printers for you to check out at the East Bay Mini Maker Faire.  Type A Machines, a San Francisco 3D printer company fresh from Maker Faire New York, will be showing off their Series 1 printer.  Type A co-founder Ronald Miloh Alexander is an electrical engineer and a hackerspace engineer.  Their origin story and mission from their website FAQ is nice:  “Forged in the fires of Noisebridge and TechShop [makerspaces in San Francisco], a team of dedicated hackers set out on an epic journey to bring better desktop 3D printers within everyone’ reach.”

To that end, Miloh will be teaching a session at the Faire on this new, easier, and more affordable world of digital fabrication. His  session is titled “D43D:  Remixing Digital Designs for the Physical World.”  Miloh will provide a background on design fundamentals that are suitable for 3d printers, as well as an introduction to the basic operation of 3d printers. “This
class provides the student with the necessary skills to start designing digital objects for additive manufacturing, and work with a variety of machines.”  You can find this class time on the schedule page.

The other 3D printer company coming to the East Bay Mini Maker Faire is Hyrel 3D.  They are coming all the way from Georgia to show!  And we think Ace Monster Toys will be bringing their MakerBots as well. Designfluence will be running some printers off their solar generator.  NOTE that we’d love to show a Replicator or even a Replicator 2, but MakerBot the company is busy this weekend.  If you have a 3D printer you’d like to run, email us at info@ebmakerfaire.com and we’ll try to get you a last-minute space.

East Bay Brass Band: All Mashed-Up and Brassified

You’re in for a blast when the East Bay Brass Band hits the stage to play mash-ups of modern tunes on Sunday at noon.

Kevin Brunetti formed East Bay Brass Band in 2011 “because I needed more brass in my life,” he says. “I wanted a brass band that could be both modern and traditional.”

“We expand what’s expectable,” says Brunetti. Sunday will be his first Maker Faire. “We’re excited to be a part of it!”

East Bay Brass Band is made up of eight horn players: two trombones, two baritone saxophones, an alto saxophone, a tenor saxophone, a trumpet, and a bass flute – as well as a drummer.

Their repertoire “goes with any New Orleans-style brass band,” but they also play a number of “trombone choir” tunes. “Our brass mash-ups will pleasantly tangle your mind as your feet succumb to the East Bay beat.”

Brunetti met most of the musicians in brass bands in the Bay Area including the Hot Pink Feathers Marching Band, Blue Bone Express, and MJ’s Brass Boppers. Many band member are local parents and/or teachers. They practice in Oakland once a week.

Catch the show at 12 pm on the Music Stage!

Bigfoot: The Musical

Ladies and gentlemen and kids, please help us welcome the WORLD PREMIERE of Bigfoot: The Musical!

It’s an eco love story about an iconic wildman making his way through the wilderness of civilization and romance.

Bigfoot: The Musical is a new project by Paul Cesewski, the man and the maker behind Paul’s Rides—the amazing pedal powered amusement rides that have graced the East Bay Mini Maker Faire for the last two years.

Catch the show and the hairy plot at 3 PM on the Music Stage!

Note that “Paul the Plumber” is not the only bigwig on the stage; here’s the whole cast of Bay Area luminaries:

  • Bigfoot – Steve Heck / Paul Cesewski
  • Helicopter Girl – Shannan Palermo / Penelope Thomas Rucker
  • Marketing Director – Eliza Strack
  • Dad – Jay Brummel
  • Clouds –  Anwyn Evans / Alex Ramerez / Emily Ramerez / Eliza
    Strack / Charlotte   Jennings
  • Dancing Tree (Flute) – Charlotte Jennings
  • Dancing Tree – Alex Ramerez / Emily Ramerez
  • Hunters – Walter Laing / James Kern / David Kimberly / Deven Osband
  • Helicopter Mom – Penelope Thomas Rucker
  • Sound Director – ( Big Daddy ) Tim Anderson
  • Music – Dan Abbot / Mike Mc Cabot
  • Choreographer – Eliza Strack

Remember… it’s a love story AND a musical.  3 PM on the field at the Music Stage!