Guest blog – Maker Faire from the front line

July 27, 2011

in Events

By Lish Dorset, Handmade Detroit


With Maker Faire Detroit just a few days away, I can’t help but feel like I’m in finals mode for a Michigan State final exam. But this time around, the all-night cramming for JRN 108 has been replaced with all-night quilting. (Not a bad swap, if you ask me.) And all across Michigan and the Midwest right now, there are hundreds of makers doing the same thing as me – there’s probably just a lot more soldering involved.

As part of the Handmade Detroit and Craft teams at Maker Faire, I’m incredibly lucky to be back for year two here in Detroit. Maker Faire is one of those events that you really do have to see for yourself to fully appreciate. I still love seeing the reactions on friends’ faces when I explain that Lifesize Mousetrap is just that – LIFESIZE. No, really! For the creative community in and around Michigan, Maker Faire is our grown-up show-and-tell, minus naptime.

We’ve got an amazing lineup this year – I didn’t think we could top our 2010 offerings, but we really have. For those of you who attended last year, more than 80 percent of the makers are new to the faire this year. If you ask me, this isn’t surprising at all given the ongoing, amazing creative community here in Detroit.

I’m often asked what it means to be a crafter or a maker. To me, being a maker is about loving the creative, hands-on process and being so excited to not only see the finished product, but to share that finished product with others and figure out how to make the next version even better. We’re always trying to perfect our craft and lean on others to help us do that.

Makers love to meet other makers and exchange knowledge, and that’s what Maker Faire is really all about – getting people excited to learn something new and try it themselves.

This weekend you’ll see just that. Makers will be on display showing off their products, but in their spare time, they’ll be talking to other makers sharing tips, suggestions, ideas and more. It’s an amazing sight to see.

When you come to The Henry Ford for Maker Faire, make sure to ask the makers how they made their projects – trust me, they want to show and tell you. Michigan is a pretty friendly state, and I’m pretty sure we’re on our way to becoming an official “maker” state, too.

Makers love to show you how to join in on the fun, just like The National Needlearts Association does with free knitting and crochet lessons.

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