Maker Faire!

October 03, 2015

Setup before the Friday night gala for the Ozarks Mini Maker Faire! Feeling all professional and all whatnot!

This August I was a Maker for the first time!!!

(I even have a fancy "I'm a Maker" sticker to prove it!)

The Maker movement is kind of difficult to describe, but it's a community of creative and curious people who dabble in everything from tech innovation to garage tinkering to art. Maker Faires have been popping up around the world. The official Maker Faire website explains:

"Part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new, Maker Faire is an all-ages gathering of tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, authors, artists, students, and commercial exhibitors. All of these “makers” come to Maker Faire to show what they have made and to share what they have learned. 

Maker Faire is primarily designed to be forward-looking, showcasing makers who are exploring new forms and new technologies. But it’s not just for the novel in technical fields; Maker Faire features innovation and experimentation across the spectrum of science, engineering, art, performance and craft."

There's a great Time article that talks about Maker Faires, too.

At the tail end of last semester, I found out that the city I attend school in was going to host their first ever Maker Faire. I don't remember where I got the flier, but it lived in my backpack for the last two weeks of classes because I didn't want to risk losing it!

I had the chance to spend the summer working on my Shoppe and freelance work, so I knew I would finally be able to work on building enough inventory for a big show.

Over the summer, my dad even took some of my brothers and me to the Kansas City Maker Faire to "research." That event was overwhelmingly huge.

All in all, I was pumped to participated in the inaugural Ozarks Mini Maker Faire!

Image source. You've gotta love the Ozarks mountains and the bluegrass fiddle in this logo.

I started prep work for the Maker Faire over the summer. In July, I participated in three Farmers Market/ Craft Fairs, which went fairly well, and over those three Saturdays I learned what did and did not work for displays.

I have an extra complication over your average artist at craft fairs: a large amount of inventory for online sales which I have to keep packaged and sorted so that I can mail orders out in a timely manner, and which I have to track closely to make sure that I don't have sold items on my Etsy page.

Dad and I designed and built racks for my smaller, bagged jewelry. (Rivet pins and masonite are my new best friends!). It took many hours of work, but in the end we designed a display that works three ways:

1. as drawers in my workbench for sorting online inventory and prepping for fairs
2. as walls for my outdoor canopy
3. as a stand-alone corner rack for indoor fairs like the Maker Faire

(Don't tell anyone, but the display for the large pinecone circlet is a trashcan turned upside down, with a styrofoam hemisphere on top, with a scarf on top of that.)

The Maker Faire took place only two weeks into the fall semester, so between classes I set up everything in the basement of our apartment to make sure I had everything ready! 

(My roommates are angels for putting up with all this craziness!)

I am so grateful to have this basement space, as it also holds my workbench and supplies for art classes. Also, it is gloriously cold during hot summer days (we'll see how I survive the winter...).

This summer, I put a lot of thought and work into my displays. Everything but the styrofoam heads and the necklace stands is handmade. After I get another fair or two on my belt, I'll write up a blog post about what I've researched and experienced about building jewelry displays!

Here's the full display-- you can see the drawers used as "wall" for my lower-priced items!

The entire stand goes up in just five minutes, with two people and eleven bolts!

The hand-lettered signs would usually hang on a canopy for outdoor fairs; here I've put them on the table and stand.

Since the Maker Faire is geared at a DIY sort of audience, I made some quick posters talking about some of my favorite techniques. Very few people read the posters, but I do think it helped explain that everything is handmade and I'm not just selling mass-produced jewelry!

...does anyone actually use QR codes?

(The artist in the booth next to mine makes decorative steampunk guitars!)

The little card table featured all of the circlets, which I let people try on! My brother drove down from his school for the weekend to help me at my booth, and he did a great job manning the photobooth.

I also printed off some favorite photos of my models. The pictures had my information at the bottom so people could take one as a souvenir if they didn't want a business card. Several little girls spent a good amount of time searching for the perfect picture of a princess. :)

On the main table I had a booklet with pictures of commission work and handmade trays for electroformed leaves, metal book necklaces, and rings.

The wooden necklace displays were handmade using my dad's bandsaw.

I was lucky enough to receive several felt and canvas necklace stands as a gift, so those displayed some of the larger necklaces!

Look at all the lovely people looking at my work! 

I was floored by how friendly, encouraging, and supportive the people here in Springfield are. So many people stopped to talk about my inspiration and techniques.

There was even one visitor who knew me from online first-- how crazy is that?! She'd joined my facebook page just a few days before and recognized my work when she saw the booth!

With Meleah Spencer, the director of Discovery Center of Springfield!

Among the many interesting booths at the Ozark Mini Maker Faire was the Discovery Center table! I have been a volunteer graphic design intern there since last year. The Discovery Center is a very fun science center run by some of the nicest people ever. (And the environment is the perfect mix of science-y and creative!)

There were people with metalwork demonstrations, 3D printing, robotics competitions, homemade segways, upcycled toybots, art cards, and much much more!

I purchased two souvenirs: a 3D printed ceramic cast mug, and a copper butterfly painted with flame. The copper colorists were so friendly and their technique is SO AWESOME. I want to learn how to do this. Just look at that butterfly!

A photo posted by Shaylynn Ann (@shealynnsfaerie) on

After attending the KC Maker Faire, I knew there was one thing that I really needed for my booth: an interactive element. We had the most fun at booths where there was an activity.

So, I painted a fairytale landscape (with sparkle spray paint which is the coolest schtuff ever), my dad built a banner stand for it, and I created a photobooth!

Visitors could try on any circlet they wanted and don one of my many capes to cover boring "normal people clothing." Many people asked to try on the wire masquerade masks and the Entwife circlet, too! 

Below you can see my friend at the photobooth! She was so cold at the gala that she wore the cloak the whole evening!

As a bonus, here is a picture of my sisters in front of the painting when it was almost-finished:

You can never go wrong with this much cute in one picture.

I'm so honored to be a Maker and look forward to future events!

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  1. This is so great! I am impressed with the level of detail you put into your booth and how well thought out it all is. I hope someday I can attend one of your faires in person. :) Or do one together!!!

  2. your baby sister is so cute! and all of your items are so lovely!

    ~ Elisabeth Valentin

  3. Elizabeth-- Doing a faire together would be an absolutely amazing dream! Maybe when I'm out of college and your health improves, we could collaborate! And thank you-- I did spend a long time planning this out!

    Nicole-- I know, right? So dang cute. :)

  4. I am really very impressed to know about this Maker Faire! It seems like a wonderful. I am glad that everyone had great time in this event. Our boss also wants to take us to Florida in holiday vacations. He will be organizing some team building events there so we need to get some company holiday party ideas for this event. Please share some interesting ideas dear!!


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