Seattle-based crafter and engineer Fay Shaw, founder of bitwise E-textiles, is bringing both her charming light-up plush kits and her experience as a woman engineer and maker to the Maker Faire Bay Area.

Fay Shaw

Fay Shaw

Fay will be showcasing her e-textiles work at Ωmaterials, a hands-on booth where Faire-goers can play with a variety of soft circuit and wearable technology projects and even make their own in periodic workshops. (By the way, organizer Ally Seeley is still looking for more exhibitors and workshop leaders to join the Ωmaterials team, so contact her if you are interested.) Fay’s kits, including a firefly, luna moth, jelly fish, and (in-progress) pair of hearts, are currently available online and will also be sold on site at the Faire at the Metrix Open Hardware Alliance booth. Each kit includes felt, thread, and stuffing as well as and LED, photoresistor, resistor and battery pack. The photoresistor makes the circuit light sensitive, so the felt creatures glow when you cup them in your hands or take them into a dark space.

Light-up Plush Toys from bitwise E-textiles

Light-up Plush Toys from bitwise E-textiles; photo by Michaela Rose

Fay is also on a panel at the Faire called “Makerspaces for Everyone: Six Women’s Stories,” featuring women makers from Seattle and San Francisco makerspaces. The panel idea originated with Tamara Clammer and Andrea Foertsch when they attended the “How to Make a Makerspace” conference at Artisan’s Asylum in February 2013 and many people expressed concerns about how few women are involved in makerspaces. (Georgia Guthrie, director of The Hacktory, recently posted an article on MAKE discussing similar issues.) Tamara and Andrea decided to join forces with Fay, Beth Kolko, Alex Glowaski and Sho Sho Smith, a diverse, passionate, experienced panel of women whose lives have been changed by being involved in makerspaces. They describe the purpose of the panel discussion as being “to share our stories of direct makerspace experience as members, instructors, founders and supporters, and to discuss why it’s important for more women to be interested and involved in the maker movement at this level.”

So keep your eye out for the Maker Faire program schedule to see when the panel is scheduled, and look for Fay’s plush toys around the booths!

Luna Moth from bitwise E-textiles

Luna Moth from bitwise E-textiles

Karen Tanenbaum

I am a technology researcher and designer; a Steampunk prop maker and costumer; a writer of both academic papers and blog posts; a voracious reader/watcher of science fiction. I am currently contributing to MAKE by writing about the Maker Faire. You can contact me via karen@makermedia.com


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