I got invited to bring Dawson Station back to the Eugene Maker Faire. It is one thing to talk your way in to an invitation to an event like this. It is another to get invited back. Not only that, I got asked to give a talk! Well, I may have talked my way into that last part this year.
There were a number of new exhibitors this year. The only one I remember from last year was Fertilab Thinkubator who had the awesome chromatography and spectroscopy projects.
I think a lot of people think making is only about electronics and science, but I think it is much more fundamental than that. I was glad to see groups like the Eugene Weaver's Guild invited to the Maker Faire. They had a spinning wheel, a loom, and some hands on weaving projects for the visitors to try.
I think my favorite exhibit this year, given my recent disassembly activities with the Cub Scouts and Teen Makers, was Next Step Recycling. They brought a number of electronic devices and let the visitors take them apart. I wish I had more time to help them use Arduino to bring the components back to life.
My talk was in the planetarium in front of about thirty people. I gave a rambling account from my first time at trying to build a computer (disaster) up to my recent class on how to build a computer (success). I tried to express that "making" and "sharing" are fundamental human characteristics that have always existed, and that current technology is allowing us to share ideas and projects with more and more people. I closed with some pictures of my decidedly low-tech chicken coop and challenged the audience to find a project they were interested in and make it.
Exhibiting (and speaking) at these events is a lot of work. The Makers exhibit for free. The visitors pay to get in. It is an interesting dynamic that I'm still trying to grasp. At any rate, it does give me a chance to share, learn, and connect, so I feel it is worth it. I've been feeling a bit over-committed lately, but definitely think this event was well worth it. It might, however, be Dawson Station's only public appearance this year. It is time to follow my own advice and find a new project to learn, make, and share.