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My name is Agnes Niewiadomski, and I’m a Maker-Faire-oholic. I was introduced to the world of Maker Faire three years ago, and have since attended nine Faires in North America (Bay Area, New York, Detroit, and Toronto’s Mini Faire). I have exhibited twice in Detroit as a maker, featuring my mascot heads, and my laser cut textile plants. I am also a member of a makerspace in Kitchener/Waterloo, Ontario called kwartzlab where I run the art programs. We are actually hosting our own Mini Maker Faire next month for the first time, Maker Faire Waterloo.

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Here I am at Maker Faire Detroit 2011. (Photo by James Bastow)

I’m a huge Craft follower, I love getting a daily dose of inspiration to my inbox with Craft Daily, and really wanted to contribute to the blog this year by capturing the Faire in photos. My favourite part about going to the Faire is not just the visual spectacles, but also talking to the makers about their work, their process, and giving them encouragement to keep doing what they do, because they are so awesome. Travelling to different cities to attend Maker Faire also gives me the opportunity to go site-seeing, and there is something about San Fransisco in particular that keeps calling me back. I cherish all the friendships I have made with the folks here, and look forward to visiting again next year!

Below are some of my favourite crafts from this year’s Maker Faire Bay Area. Note that there are multiple pages!

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DODOcase are handmade and customizable cases for all types of portable electronics. From phones to tablets, you can carry your technology around safely and in style.

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Zazzle.com had a large booth showcasing a few of their partnered artists. Included were illustrators Josh Ellingson, Ben Walker, and Nidhi Chanani who had their artwork printed on big poster paper for attendees to colour in. Also Rickshaw Bagworks were featured using Ellingson’s designs printed on their bags, one of the services that zazzle.com provides.

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Art at the Zazzle booth.

Zazzle art on Rickshaw bags.

Zazzle art on Rickshaw bags.

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Ply90 has created an aluminum bracket that is used to quickly and easily create your own furniture. Perfect for those who move around often, it will flat pack when you’re ready to move again.

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Ply90

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The Everlamp is an injection-molded plastic bracket that allows you to put a lamp anywhere you need some illumination. And the best part, you can make a shade from just about anything! Recycled coffee cups, soda cans, paper, whatever you have laying around.

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Everlamps made from old drink cans.

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Barbara Coole returns to the Bay Area again with her multitudes of awesome machine embroidered 
designs and other custom wearables.

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Some of Barbara Coole’s patches.

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The Freeform Common Room and Needle Arts Zone gave folks a welcoming opportunity to sit for awhile and craft up something special.

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The Needle Arts Zone is always popular with the crafters.

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At Julia Dvorin’s booth, Fly Your Freak Flag High, Fairegoers decorated their very own freak flag to express their individuality.

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More crafty goodness.

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Hugalopes are customizable toys that go from a cuddly plushie, to hat, to puppet. These creatures feature button holes sewn into the body that allow for extra eyeballs, tentacles, mustaches, and more to be added on. Available in many colours and combinations.

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Natalie McKean returns to the Bay Area to show off her DIY scratch art techniques and robot light switch covers.

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Natalie McKean’s robot light switch covers.

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Ayu Tomikawa makes linocut stamps which she uses to create cute tiles and textile pieces.

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Ayu Tomikawa’s adorable stamped tile coasters.

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Ex Libris Anonymous produces handmade journals from vintage books, and well as bracelets from the left over spines.

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“Free: A Utopian Project” was offering up everything on their booth table for free! It was mostly yard sale type junk, but their signage made me smile. You can follow this evolving project on Facebook or at freeup.us.

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Junktopia had a great display that I could not take my eyes off of. I was drawn into all the little details of this minature land that was made from, yup, you guessed it — junk! They were selling kits are as a way to jumpstart young kids into making their own little junk play-worlds.

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A Junktopia detail.

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Lots of hands-on weaving and crocheting from recycling textiles happening outside at the Crochet Jam and American High School RE:Useables tables.

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Weaving at the American High School RE:Useables table.

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Inside the Swap-O-Rama-Rama tent I got the chance to jump right into some sewing! Sonya Philip of 100actsofsewing.com set me up with some fabric and a dress pattern. It wasn’t long before I was on a machine and stitching up a new outfit. I took it home to finish the bias tape step since I was keen on moving on to see all the other stations. So much to see, so little time.

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My dress, in progress.

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Other ladies working on their dresses.

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This was my first time ever tie-dying something. I found an old apron in the huge piles of clothing that were up for grabs. The volunteers were very helpful throughout the whole process. I have since washed out the excess dye, heat set it in the dryer and I’m quite happy with the results!

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Jenine Bressner gave a talk on laser cut textiles which I only caught the end of. She is a very awesome gal, so much so that she’s even been featured on Martha for her glass bead work. Check her out at jenine.net.

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Swap-O-Rama-Rama’s retro-lounge area, I definitely had a coffee table like that growing up!

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Swap-O-Rama-Rama’s free textile tables. Everything here was up for grabs to be hacked up and made into something new using the multiple work stations in the tent.

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Attendees changing into their costumes for the Craft Harlem Shake video. This little girl had the best disguise.

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Janay Rose, aka The Window Lady, makes gorgeous wearables upcycled from neckties, doilies, fringe, etc.

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Jenay Rose with some of her creations.

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Frankenstuffies made me smile. These freaks-of-plushie-nature are looking for a loving home.

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Jaco A. Connolly, aka Drift Stitcher, shows off his millinery skills as he upcycles old military duffle bags into custom top hats.

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Natalie De Ranieri of capuletcovers.com takes your helmet from boring to fabulous!

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Field Day showcases their fantastic camper van that has been completely remodelled inside and out. Their well designed garments are handmade from reclaimed textiles.

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Welcome to the Bazaar Bizarre tent!

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I instantly fell in love with the beautiful designs and letterpress work of Cindy Tomczyk at Paper Parasol Press.

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A Paper Parasol Press print.

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Sean Finocchio takes his digital photographs and turns them into vintage style works of art. His work is made using a large format printer and UV solvent inks, printing directly onto plywood.

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I love these ceramic jewellery creations by Andrea Lithgow of dandycraft.com.

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More DandyCraft jewellry.

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Spiffy Pups is the answer to “What will Mittens wear to the dinner party?” Your pet will be the most stylish thing on four legs.

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Cody Williams’ wonderful stuffed Yeti heads really made my day.

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Chris Yates’ handmade puzzles are so whimsical and beautiful, I am so glad I got a chance to see these up close and personal.

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Another Chris Yates handmade puzzle.

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The beauty of an insect’s wing is preserved under the glass of a necklace. Entire beetles are posed in playful ways. bugunderglass.com

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A beetle on a bike.

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Taryn McCabe hand cuts colourful leather into funky and stylish earrings.

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Faryn Davis of fernworks.org makes beautiful little paintings using acrylic paint on built up layers of cast resin, which creates an interesting cloudy effect in her works of art.

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More of Faryn Davis’ artwork.

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Lisa Swerling showcases her “Glass Cathedrals”. Shadowbox frames with tiny figures inside various imagined landscapes.

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Magic Wallets made from recycled vintage books.

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The lovely ceramics of Laurel Begley would be a sweet addition to your kitchen to hold sugar, salt or anything precious.

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Ceramics by Laurel Begley.

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Emma SanCartier creates adorable little monster sculptures. She also makes lovely illustrations.

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Emma SanCartier’s monster sculpture.

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Erica Sirotich of Cuddlefish Press had a fantastic display that I could not take my eyes off of. I love her style and use of colour.

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Cuddlefish Press

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The Tin Gypsy had a great display featuring original tin types, as well as reproductions on metal and paper.

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Alysia Dynamik creates custom LED costume accessories. These headpieces include smooth transitioning RGB LEDs.

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Sita Rupe makes lovely decorative pieces by layering screen printed patterns and images, she isn’t afraid of glitter either. They’re sealed with a layer of cast resin.

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Bottle of Clouds makes laser engraved and hand painted jewellery. Min’s adorable designs and attention to detail made it very hard to just choose one! I fell in love with these right away.

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Bottle of Clouds pins.

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Heidi Gibson creates teeny tiny oil paintings with a teeny tiny brush. These little works of art are turned into pendant charms you can wear.

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One of Heidi Gibson’s teeny tiny paintings.

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Linnea Oliver of Bird of Virtue had a lovely display of laser cut jewellery. These wooden pendants caught my eye. They are laser engraved with different virtues using brail on the front and cursive text on the back.

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Tapigami had a fantastic display this year in the front foyer of Fiesta Hall. They had rolls and rolls of masking tape available for people to try their hand at the art of tape sculpture. They’ve come out with a How-To Book with lots of tips and techniques so you can build your own creations at home.

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You can build Tapigami structures anywhere — even your shoulder!

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I Touch the Art — Tapigami

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I ran into Jenine Bressner again, this time at her booth in the Metal Craft tent. She was selling kits of her laser cut textiles available in lots of fun colours.

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Kelly Jensen, aka Chunky Mutt, was showing off her neat canvas wallets made using an inkjet printable canvas. She was pretty gung-ho about this awesome material and all the fun possibilities. She also has a book out with lots of DIY projects.

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Anatomology had a lot of interesting and strange items in their booth.

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I think the ashtray was my favourite.

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The Sequoia Gem and Mineral Society returned to Maker Faire to offer a free make and take. Attendees were able to grind and polish their own gemstone cabochons.

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Fairegoers grinding and polishing gemstones.

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Beaducation had a very satisfying make and take which I jumped right into. It only took a few moments to create a customized metal stamped copper medallion. I may have found my next new crafty obsession.

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People try their hand at hammering copper at Beaducation.

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Alana Dill’s amazing face painting skills blew me away. Book her for your next event!

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Alana Dill shows the finished piece.

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SCRAP (Scrounger’s Center for Reusable Art Parts) was founded in 1976. They are located in San Fransisco and accept donations of high quality materials that businesses no longer need. Instead of heading to the landfill, these materials are collected, sorted, and made available to teachers, parents, program directors, school children, artists and designers.


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