Is it the work of a creative genius or just plain weird? That’s a matter of perspective. Take this solar car that Dick and I saw at the Maker Faire Bay Area a few weeks ago. I recognized it immediately as the creative work of a man in my neighborhood. I think it’s kind of cool. His neighbors who see it parked on the street every day are not so generous. Especially since he’s quite prolific in the creative vehicle department.
That’s what the Maker Faire is all about: having a vision of something unique and having the drive to build it.
I come from a family of makers. There are few things my dad enjoys more than fashioning a clever gadget, a repair part for a household item or a toy for his great-grandkids in his workshop. My mom is a master painter, quilter and seamstress. Growing up, if we saw an expensive dress, she would sketch it on a piece of paper and sew us a perfect knock-off. My sister Lucy is an award-winning fiber artist who teaches her craft across the country, and her daughter Martha is an equally talented sculptor and fashion designer.
I could go on more. I have a very big family with lots of creative talent.
I have a little maker in me that comes out every once in a while. Like the time I desperately wanted a fascinator hat for a ladies tea and couldn’t find one I liked. So I made my own from a cereal box, linen and craft store feathers. And the time I made creole cream cheese from raw milk based on how my mother remembered her aunts making it in her childhood in the 1930s. But I’m a dilettante as a maker. I have little commitment.
I don’t have the dedication and persistence that drives someone to fashion a robotic hand with the manual dexterity to pick up objects, and of a size and strength to pick up automobile fenders and sheet metal.
I don’t have the quirkiness to mount dozens of animated fish and lobsters on an old Volvo for a rolling orchestra.
I don’t have the grand vision to make a statement about the power of the bicycle by using bicycles and volunteer labor for a Pedal Powered Stage. And to fashion it as El Arbol the bike tree? That’s way out of the box.
The Maker Faire had so much going on it was hard to take it all in. Fortunately, I took a lot of pictures. Because I wouldn’t have enough words to describe the amazing creations. You have to see it for yourself.
Are you a maker? If so, is your maker drive confined to a particular discipline or are you all over the map?