Maker Faire Detroit: Interview with Peg Upmeyer of Arts & Scraps

Maker Faire Detroit: Interview with Peg Upmeyer of Arts & Scraps

Arts and Scraps Xylophone

Detroit has an impressive number of makers who are passionate about their community and dedicated to making a difference. Our second Maker Faire Detroit, taking place this weekend, July 30 and 31, at The Henry Ford in Dearborn will showcase many of them. One maker on a mission is Peg Upmeyer of Arts & Scraps. In 2010, they recycled 28 tons of material donated by 184 businesses into learning opportunities.

1. Tell us about Arts & Scraps and about the project(s) you’re bringing to Maker Faire.
Arts & Scraps is a Detroit nonprofit that uses recycled industrial materials to help people of all ages think, create, and learn. When we arrive, so does the fun! Arts & Scraps does activities at events all year. One of my favorite things is designing a center like this, creating opportunities for others to play and be creative. It’s an exciting way to learn.

We’re doing several activities:
1) Build a working paddle boat and try it out in a 6′ swimming pool
2) Create the prototype of an invention that meets a need
3) Build a path with rubber bands and giant peg board in a 8’x8’x8′ room
4) Play an 8′ junk xylophone made with PVC piping.

2. This is your second year of participating in Maker Faire Detroit. Please share your experience last year with us.
The maker group had so much energy, it almost vibrated. Everyone was anxious to share their experiences and learn from each other. The attendees were interested, curious, and NOT in a hurry — families spent an average of 45 minutes at our location. Parents, as well and children, invented and played.

3. Is your project strictly a hobby or a budding business? Does it relate to your day job?
Arts & Scraps is my day job.

4. What new idea (in or outside of your field) has excited you most recently?
Watching the internet and social media evolve and learning things about technology in general is exciting.

5. What is your motto?
It’s from a child’s song: “You can’t make a turtle come out.” Think about it.

6. What advice would you give to the young makers out there just getting started?
Experiment, analyze, learn, and move on. You learn more from errors than successes. Henry Ford went bankrupt three times before he started Ford Motor Company.

7. What do you love most about Detroit?
The huge number of people that are working hard to lift up other people and the city.

Thanks Peg!

For all the information you need to attend this weekend’s Faire, head over to the Maker Faire website.

2 thoughts on “Maker Faire Detroit: Interview with Peg Upmeyer of Arts & Scraps

  1. Shreya Kapoor says:

    It is a amazing post! Recycling is a good step, to save environment.

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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 or via @snowgoli.

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