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From Michelle Hlubinka, MAKE’s Education Director:

Get a little pre-season Maker Faire appetizer at the Exploratorium this Saturday at the first Open MAKE of 2011. This year, each Open MAKE will center around a different material-centric theme. This month it’s PLASTICS.

Open MAKE is a monthly program highlighting the tools, techniques, and ingenuity of local makers. Visitors are invited to participate in tinkering and making activities inside the Tinkering Studio, where makers from around the Bay Area will share their work. In addition, Dale Dougherty, founder and publisher of MAKE magazine, will interview Featured Makers in the McBean Theater.

Come by the museum between 11am to 2pm to tinker with plastics. Julie Yu will show you how to make “shrinky dinks” with discarded plastics, and Michael Shiloh will invite you to engage in a little “Freeform Tinkering.” Karen Wilkinson will demo fusing recycled plastics into a sewable “fabric,” and welcome you to give it a go, too. And museum staff will lead visitors in playing with wind tubes.

Join Dale Dougherty in the McBean Theater (just inside the museum) at 1pm for interviews with our four Featured Makers (lengthier bios here):

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Shih Chieh Huang (“Cj”) will display one of his mind-bending multimedia art pieces. He uses recycled plastic and found objects to create otherwordly installations.

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Lanny Smoot will showcase his incredible strobing zoetrope. You’ll be able to lipsync a Ping-Pong ball to your voice!

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Virginia Fleck will host a workshop on building a collaborative, inflatable meditation cushion made of recycled plastic bags.

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Shawn Lani’s Strobe Flower lanterns will be installed in the Tinkering Studio. A simple plastic bag becomes a thing of beauty.

All Open MAKE activities end at 2pm.

Since kicking off the new season of the Young Makers program (a collaboration between the Exploratorium, MAKE magazine, and Pixar Animation Studios) late last fall, we’ve been amazed at how quickly and enthusiastically the model has been adopted by new Maker Clubs in schools and neighborhoods around the Bay Area and all over the country. Club members and mentors will hold our first regional meeting in the hour before Open MAKE begins, and they will share projects they’re building for this May’s Maker Faire Bay Area in closed-to-the-public “plussing” sessions mid-day.

Check out what we have going on for Young Makers here, and if you’d like to add your organization to our network or start a new Club, please be in touch with Michelle Hlubinka and Tony DeRose.

The next Open MAKE (on the theme of cardboard) and Young Makers Regional Meeting will be February 19th, 2010.

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.


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