Tap into Your Inner Maker at the Largest DIY Festival in Australia

Maker News
Tap into Your Inner Maker at the Largest DIY Festival in Australia

There’s no question that the city of Adelaide, Australia, is a special place. With rolling hills to the east, beaches to the west, and an abundance of urban parks, this bike-friendly, eclectic metropolis has a thriving arts and tech scene and, along with it, a growing maker community. For the past four years, the community has been convening at what is now the largest DIY festival in the country: Maker Faire Adelaide, taking place on Sunday, November 5 at Tonsley, Australia’s first “innovation district.”

Last year’s Faire featured 107 maker-made projects, drawing roughly 5,000 curious attendees. This year, even more maker exhibits have been added, and the word is spreading fast. At the helm of Maker Faire Adelaide is the volunteer-run South Australian Makers, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting makers and making in South Australia, also responsible for Fab Lab Adelaide and Adelaide Makerspace, opening in 2018. Organizing team member Alison Kershaw gave us some insight into what to expect at this year’s event:

This year we’re providing more free opportunities for children and adults to get hands-on, including a paper plane competition, Wacky Races, paper rockets, building and programming robots, and building a waterwheel.

We’re seeing a greater variety of makers as the Maker Faire and Maker Movement grow in Adelaide and Australia. We’re also seeing an increase in the number of “semi-professional” makers, makers who have day jobs and but also make wonderful things to sell.

Artisans of Adelaide

Be sure to check out the complete list of exhibiting makers online as well as the program guide to get an idea of the scope and variety of projects at this year’s Faire. We were struck by the variety of artisans, traditional and 21st century, in the lineup. Here’s a sampling.

Blakesby Hats

Blakesby (Blake Canham-Bennett) is an Adelaide-based, awarding-winning hatter (not a milliner, meaning he makes strictly men’s hats) and one of the few in Australia keeping the craft and art form alive. Stop by his stall to see his handmade lids, demonstrations, or just to talk hats. Seen below is the specialized tool used to find the circumference around the inside of a hat.

Joshua Smith Miniatures

Joshua Smith is an Adelaide-based miniaturist who creates miniatures of the urban environment (one seen at the top of this blog post). With roots as a stencil artist, Smith invites the viewer to take a closer look at all of the overlooked features of an urban environment and question the definition of beautiful. His work has been shown in London, Paris, Berlin, San Francisco, New York, Hong Kong, Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide.

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Painting Mill

Artist James Dodd combines his loves of painting, DIY, graffiti, adventure, and public space in the form of the Painting Mill. Now in its third iteration, the giant 2-axis mill rolls via bike and is remote controlled, an homage to simple mechanics and electronics.

Simply Stunning Shibori

Denise Averay will demonstrate contemporary techniques used in shibori, the Japanese art of shaped resist dyeing. Discover how stunningly beautiful, unique, and colorful fabrics can be created by folding, binding, clamping, or stitching the fabric before dyeing it. The background design at the top of this post is also one of Averay’s designs.

Crafting Sistas

At Crafting Sistas, Othene Cole and Janice Evan salvage glass, stone, and other materials, repurposing objects to live another day. They design their own artwork and sand-etch an assortment of products.

Robb Props & Cosplay

Stephen Robb is costumer and prop maker and engineer, building moving and electronic props, leatherwork, and armor, made with everything from laser cutting to hand stitching.

The Sound Garage

The Sound Garage are makers of high end musical instruments, repairers, and hot rodders! They specialize in extended range and multiscale guitars for the modern, demanding musician. Maker Jordan Reynolds is constantly striving to push the guitar forward with every instrument.

Keighlians Crooks and Canes

Doug Storton of Keighlians Crooks and Canes makes unique handcrafted shepherd’s crooks, walking sticks, and canes of local timbers such as olive, almond, plum, and hawthorn. Handles and crooks are fashioned from ram horn, deer antlers, water buffalo horns, and cattle horns.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Pulteney Grammar School presents their Chitty Chitty Bang Bang prop from the recent musical production, led by teacher Kym Wilson. With working wheels, lights, wings, and propeller, it moves on its own and “flies”! Meet the car, staff, and students who created this character from scratch. The student build team includes Maya Thesinger, Olivia Veronese, Grace Neuhaus, Spencer Atterton, Akash Thomas, and James Burgess.

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For all the information you need to attend Maker Faire Adelaide, head to the website!


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I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at snowgoli@gmail.com or via @snowgoli.

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