Creative weirdness at Maker Faire

Creative weirdness at Maker Faire
sashimi.jpgSashimi Tabernacle Choir. From Dave Hogg’s Flickr feed
pumpkinEmbalmer.jpgTwitpic image from today, spotted on @jonrjohnston’s Twitter feed

One of the things I love about Maker Faire (and MAKE and Make: Television and everything else we do) is the relative mainstreaming we offer to creative weirdness. There’s always an element of fringe creativity and over-the-top whimsical invention at the Faires, makers who don’t paint inside recognizable lines — they march to their own drummer ’cause they are their own drummer — and they made the drum (and it’s unlike any you’ve ever seen or heard).

Maker Faire itself doesn’t fit into any neat category. It’s a “DIY festival,” but it’s also an inventors and science fair, an art exhibition, a hackers convention, a free-for-all cosplay outing, a strange music festival, and lots more. But best of all, it’s a place where people who aren’t afraid to dream up “unique” ideas and give them form have a place to show off their stuff, a place where they are welcomed and respected. Sure there are giggles, and eye-rolls, and “what the heck is THAT!?” questioning points and stares. But in the context of the Faire, most people seem to give the stranger creations some respectful slack; they seem to intuitively understand that, to get a MakerBot, or an Arduino, or a Detroit 2.0, things like… well… like the Sashimi Tabernacle Choir and the Pumpkin Embalmer need to happen, too. As Stewart Brand once said (paraphrase): “You have to look at the edges to figure out where the middle is going.”

Singing with the fishes
Maker Faire Detroit: Pumpkin Embalmer interview

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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