The Austin auditions for Maker Faire were held at the Austin Children’s Museum on Sunday July 15. We had a great turnout and a full afternoon of makers demonstrating their projects. We were really excited by the range and quality of the projects. As one of the makers said: “Everyone has smiles on their faces here.”The goal of the audition is to allow us as organizers to preview some of the projects that will be coming to the Faire and understand how best to feature them.
Here are some of the highlights:

Adrienne Sack showed a sophisticated assortment of hyperbolic origami and demonstrated how to get the rest of us started making the basic folds.

Bob Pennington was a hit with his own retro-futuristic “ray guns” which he was inspired to make from an article in volume 08 of Make. Bob also demonstrated his own DIY bagpipes which used two large green balloons, tubing and two harmonicas. And he could really play.

Continuing with music, James Fenner demonstrated his creative percussion instruments, which he makes from recycled objects like bottle caps.

One of the highlights of the day was Michelle Lee and her mother-in-law, Joy, both of whom are members of the Austin Lace Makers Guild. They brought all their equipment and showed us the bobbin lace making.

Benderella showed us a variety of circuit-bent instruments. Mike and Cerrise Weiblen came prepared as a maker couple: he showed off a variety of boxes and containers he’s found for various projects; she showed how to make puppets from colorful foam tubes, a project she said she came up with this morning.

Marc Greenburg proved that balloons could be used a speakers; he demonstrated it by showing how an inflated balloon amplified some recorded music. Upon request, he filled a kitty balloon and showed that it didn’t matter much what kind of balloon you used. Our grand finale was Joe DiPrima and friends of the Geek Group “played” the musical Tesla Coil.

We were throughly delighted by all the projects. It’s a terrific start for our preparations for Maker Faire in October. You don’t have to audition to participate in Maker Faire. You can submit an entry at the Maker Faire website.

Thanks to Cybil and Becky and the rest of the staff at the Austin Children’s Museum. It was a great venue for the Maker Faire auditions. Thanks also to everyone who came to watch including several people from Houston.

Tagged

DALE DOUGHERTY is the leading advocate of the Maker Movement. He founded Make: Magazine 2005, which first used the term “makers” to describe people who enjoyed “hands-on” work and play. He started Maker Faire in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2006, and this event has spread to nearly 200 locations in 40 countries, with over 1.5M attendees annually. He is President of Make:Community, which produces Make: and Maker Faire.

In 2011 Dougherty was honored at the White House as a “Champion of Change” through an initiative that honors Americans who are “doing extraordinary things in their communities to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world.” At the 2014 White House Maker Faire he was introduced by President Obama as an American innovator making significant contributions to the fields of education and business. He believes that the Maker Movement has the potential to transform the educational experience of students and introduce them to the practice of innovation through play and tinkering.

Dougherty is the author of “Free to Make: How the Maker Movement Is Changing our Jobs, Schools and Minds” with Adriane Conrad. He is co-author of "Maker City: A Practical Guide for Reinventing American Cities" with Peter Hirshberg and Marcia Kadanoff.

View more articles by Dale Dougherty