Maker to the Rescue: Peterson Neon Resurrects Makey at Maker Faire Bay Area

Maker News
Maker to the Rescue: Peterson Neon Resurrects Makey at Maker Faire Bay Area

Time stopped while a collective gasp rose into the air along with the neon gas escaping from Makey’s foot.

“Kerry is going to kill me.”

Kerry Moore is the Maker Faire Operations Manager and she’d specially arranged to have our Neon Makey sign hauled out of storage, attached to a new black background to more effectively show off the Maker Faire mascot, and delivered to San Mateo for this weekend’s Maker Faire.

And we just broke him.

I work for Make:; my team and myself are at Maker Faire this weekend launching our new Make: Membership program out of Make: Town Central, the booth where we show off Make:’s contributions to the maker community like Maker Faires and books and Make: Magazine.

I’d wanted to hang Neon Makey in our booth, and I got impatient for the production crew to show up. And – karmically, it now seemed – one of our team, Senior Engineer Alicia Williams, dropped him while trying to attach Makey to fencing in the booth.

His whole foot just snapped right off.

Where’s the rest of me? Makey’s broken-off foot.

Visions of bills with multiples zeros flashed through my mind. Alicia was grief-stricken. The rest of the team looked at the ground.

But we’d all forgotten one thing: this is Maker Faire and where makers gather, problems get solved.

Shawna Peterson runs Peterson Neon; she makes art, all kinds of corporate signage and teaches neon-making classes out of her shop in Oakland, California. We’d commissioned Peterson to make Neon Makey for us two years ago.

Peterson is exhibiting at Maker Faire this weekend in the Homegrown Village. She was just headed out the door when Kerry called to share the bad news.

“No problem. I still have the pattern, “ replied Shawna. So she pulled up the Neon Makey recipe, took some tubing and whipped up a Makey Foot; it took about an hour and a half and then she headed out to Maker Faire.

Have tools, will travel.

I found Peterson on the ground in our booth re-installing the foot.

She seemed confident, but I found out later she wasn’t really sure it would work; it’s straightforward enough to reattach the foot tubing but if the neon gas had leaked out from the rest of Makey, he’d be complete but still dark.

Shawna Peterson with repaired Makey and a relieved Alicia Williams.

1,2,3, plug him in!

Neon Makey flashed back on, resurrected. Alicia sighed in relief.

And Peterson rushed off to her booth to share her other neon creations with the world. No fanfare, no drama, no recriminations, just get the work done.

Take that attitude, add some tools and the skills to wield them, and you have a maker.

You can meet more than 800 people like this exhibiting at Maker Faire Bay Area this weekend.

If you see Shawna of Peterson Neon, please thank her again from me, Makey, and all the crew!


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