This weekend we were talking with someone and the Maker Faire came up. What is unusual is that this person had not ever heard of the Maker Faire or the Maker Movement, reminding me that life can be a little insulating. What I thought was a shift in mindset everywhere, may still be limited to Silicon Valley and other like-minded pockets around the global, but that is far from actually being a thing everywhere.
The Maker Movement is seeing something that could be, something that doesn’t yet exist, and making it happen. Maybe with a 3D printer, maybe with cardboard and tape, or maybe with a lot of steel and a gas flame. Some are business ideas, some are products to make life easier, and some is just fun.
This may have once been called DIY and while it came from that concept, it’s much more complex.
What we’ve taken as a family is the emphasis on learning through doing. I say hands-on all the time because that is important to me. It’s how I learn. Hearing someone talk about a lesson is one thing, but for retention and deeper understanding, I need to see it happen. I need to do it. I need to get my hands on it to learn how it works.
There is something that feels like it’s the true American spirit. We are a country built by people who pursued a vision of something better or different.
It’s also important to our family for inspiration. Anyone can be a maker and that is so clear at the Maker Faires, where work from all ages are given equal respect. Some of the most inspirational makers are kids who have an enthusiastic passion for their work and zero feeling of restriction due to their age. Learning to embrace failure and setbacks on the road to success from a young age is such a fabulous skill that the Maker Movement cultivates.
Finally, I love that it is (theoretically) accessible to all. Anyone can be a maker. There are efforts to reach kids who may not be exposed naturally, especially through Maker Camp
, which is a free and aimed at kids 8-12 online and at some locations like Boys and Girls Clubs. Kids are naturally makers and things like Caine’s Arcade
show fancy supplies and equipment aren’t needed to make something unique.
The future is here. The next generation of industry leaders is in this group.
There is so much joy in creating and with being exposed to others who are fully nerded out into whatever it is that they are into. It is contagious. The Bay Area Maker Faire in May is our annual dose of inspiration, but, the movement is more than a weekend. It’s a fresh perspective. It’s a way of life.