Organized by the Cleveland Public Library, the 8th Edition of Maker Faire Cleveland has left the shores of Lake Eire and taken up residence in the cybersphere. In a city with a tradition of arts philanthropy that supports free entry to notable local museums, Maker Faire Cleveland has likewise been committed to providing hands-on activities, opportunities for STEAM enrichments, and plain old fun and WOW since 2013.

Maker Faire Cleveland 2020 will feature an interactive workshop for kids presented by the Great Lakes Science Center, as well as some “behind-the-scenes” tours of new maker equipment available for public use in their Spark Space MakerSpace. NASA Glenn Research Center introduces visitors to the makers who make it possible to explore Mars and, one day, for humans to land and live on Mars.  You can also get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the truly amazing spaces where making for Mars happens. See the full SCHEDULE.

Local makers from a custom computer building business to a bagel bakery and an independent yarn dyer to the author of bilingual books for children will share their Maker stories and their workspaces with us in behind-the-scenes features. You can check out their work and others on Make Projects in the Maker Faire Cleveland collection.

Producers Deb Hajzak and Aaron Mason shared the impetus behind moving forward with the event even as an event defined by hands-on experience faces significant challenges, “Making is going strong despite all the setbacks 2020 has thrown at us. And we’re looking at this year’s event as an opportunity to make every day Maker Faire.  As we face the continued need for social distancing and with work-at-home and home-schooling keeping families in close quarters, the need for creative outlets is more crucial than ever.” To this end the library, like many across the country, is launching Maker Kids activities featuring Maker Kits that families can pick up at their neighborhood Cleveland Public Library branch.  Some of the first kits will focus on puppet-making and storytelling with puppets, building on several years of puppet-related making that’s been going on at the Cleveland Public Library.  As they build the Maker Kits project, they’re looking forward to adding new twists such as themes, Maker Challenges, contests, and expanding opportunities for teens and adult Makers to participate.

The producers report that they are also seeing some notable examples of the maker community adjusting to this “new normal” and the restrictions needed to keep everyone safe.  Despite the challenging times, makers are finding new ways to sustain their maker-based incomes, connect with the community, and foster the creative outlet that making provides in even the toughest of times. Here are two great examples of the maker community banding together to support each other and bring making to the community in new ways:

Ohio Artisan Collective

A maker couple who participated in last year’s Maker Faire Cleveland has opened a shop called Ohio Artisan Collective at the Aurora Farms Factory Outlets.  Jessica and Jason Brown, owners of Wood Thingamajigs were a big hit at last year’s Maker Faire with their Cleveland- and Ohio-themed wood decor items, wall art, games, gifts, and serving ware.  The Ohio Artisan Collective offers a space for local Makers, artisans, and food businesses to sell their goods without having to rent a storefront individually. You can see what they’re up to here.

Holiday Handmade

Three large, successful Maker markets from Cleveland, Akron, and Pittsburgh have collaborated to create an online Maker-focused marketplace for handmade goods of all kinds.  Cleveland Bazaar, Crafty Mart (Akron), and Pittsburgh’s I Made it Market joined forces for a curated mix of over 150 Makers, artists, and small businesses will offer their goods and services via an online holiday-season market to take place on the weekend of Small Business Saturday (November 28 & 29.)  A catalog will be produced and maker profiles will be featured to provide shoppers with a way to meet the Makers. Catalog and more information will be available in the next couple of weeks here. (Featured photo: masks by Kaitlin Juarez of MadKnits)

Cooperative Press

Holiday Handmade has been spearheaded by Shannon Okey of Cooperative Press.  Cooperative Press is also a real example of the power of makers connecting with other makers.  Shannon founded Cooperative Press to give indie knitwear designers and authors the opportunity to publish their books, share in the proceeds of everyone’s hard work, and enjoy much more creative control and higher royalties than they would at any other publisher. Need more information? You can reach Shannon and Cooperative Press here.

Cleveland’s industrial past and strong craft ethic have made it a natural home for makers. Looking to find other local treasures, opportunities, support or supplies? In true library fashion Maker Faire Cleveland has got you covered with the Local Resources page. And not to be forgotten is the Cleveland Public Library and its Maker Faire team who year after year are strengthening the maker community in their city and creating opportunities for fun and skill building through their year round programs.

Find them on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram