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Maker Faire 2009 & SBPCG

The Maker's Faire is a fabulous gathering of creative souls whose imaginations seem to know no bounds. The 4th one was held May 30-31, 2009 at the San Mateo County Fairgrounds, CA.

"Learners of all ages can experience “the risk takers, the doers and the makers of things” as they create, invent, participate and observe."

A few dedicated members of the South Bay Polymer Clay Guild (SBPCG) volunteered to join me to represent our guild at the faire. [Thank you Candace, Diane, Kathy and Cindy] The above photo shows a modest attempt to educate do-it-yourself-ers about polymer clay.

Modest, because our display was just that, when compared to...

There were also many artists and crafters throughout the event. We just weren't as flashy as that list of above techie exhibits.

This was the first time I attended as an exhibitor and my second time attending the event. So I thought I had some idea of what we'd be up against (exhibits like the ones listed above). I figured we'd get a few visitors wandering by on their way to the more exciting presentations. They'd stop, politely ask what polymer clay was, nod and continue wandering. I expected there wouldn't be too much interest in our humble little spot so there would be enough free time for us to take turns to wander around ourselves, see all the cool, flashy displays.

Boy, was I wrong! We were not prepared for what we experienced. Candace, one of the guild volunteers, said it best, "We got slammed!"

It seemed non-stop. From opening to closing each day, adults and children crowded around our table, wanting to learn about and/or make something with polymer clay. Although our table was completely covered with everything we could think of to educate the public about polymer clay, including jewelry, boxes, light plates and other samples, handouts, membership forms, books, a toaster oven and a demo spot for one of us, that wasn't enough. I brought pounds of old beads (bunches which I had cached and forgotten about my studio), put them in a big bowl and allowed anyone to take one bead each. That wasn't enough... but it helped. ;-) (Plus now I have room for more, newer beads!)

We still needed to make room for several workstations so people could sit down and make things right then and there.

We set about getting newbies excited about clay, helping them make their own canes and beads, swirly lentils, little birds, Natasha beads, and abstract sculptures. Waiting clayer wannabees were 2-3 deep at times. At one point, I had to fold up the chairs to prevent people from sitting down to make things, just so we could take a break.

Thanks to my clay buddies and Nancy (who keeps talking me into these little adventures), our collective efforts and sacrifices to our time, resources and backs made this a huge success for our guild!

We introduced. We educated. We spread the good word at a grass roots level. I heard countless stories from folks who were considering trying or re-trying polymer clay; many who wanted to join a guild (though quite a few were from the San Francisco area and didn't want to deal with a long drive) and/or take a class. We got a few parents to try clay side-by-side with their kids. We made quite a few kids happy. We had adjacent booth vendors wondering what on earth we were doing to draw such crowds. We might even get a new member or two out of this.

The event was a lot of fun, exhilerating, fascinating and exhausting.

Some weeks earlier, when submitting the application for the guild to be a Maker at the faire, I had to give our exhibit a title. Without giving it much thought, I wrote down "Polymer Clay is Addictive!"

By the end of the faire's first day the phrase hit me - "Be careful what you wish for..."

One must be careful when wielding addictive substances. ;-)


Russell, the 17-foot tall walking Electric Giraffe (my absolutely favorite robot at Maker Faire)

Twin Tesla Coils

a Rube Goldberg style life-size Mousetrap

Nemo, Nautilus... some form of kinetic art with a 20,000 Leagues theme!

Lego Village and Trains

'bots of every kind

The Neuron Chamber

Two-person self-propelled Ferris Wheel

Abstract metal sculptures using selective laser sintering and direct metal printing.

A sculptural experimental laboratory, combining hydroponic agriculture, aquaculture (fish in the tank), and solar energy in a self-contained system


Last update to this page: 2 Jun 09. Send comments, questions or suggestions to Desiree McCrorey.