Noise Makers, Upcycling, the Meowser, and More in Tampa Bay

Noise Makers, Upcycling, the Meowser, and More in Tampa Bay

tampa bay maker space

This weekend, on Saturday, March 23, the second annual Tampa Bay Mini Maker Faire is taking place in Hudson, Florida. They have a lineup of diverse makers in store, from satellite builders to HAM radio enthusiasts, artists to roboticist, and plenty of inspiring young makers. Here is just a sampling. Head to the site for more information, including how to get tickets.

tampa upcycled studio kensart

Upcycled Studio

Ken and Diana Swallow are a husband and wife creative team based in Tampa who will be joining us this year at the Tampa Bay Mini Maker Faire with their awesome creations from their Upcycled Studio. Ken creates upcycled mixed media assemblage sculpture using broken electronics, vintage items and found objects. Diana has a passion for metalsmithing and jewelry design and incorporates found objects in her works. Ken and Diana took a little time to share a bit about their work and creative vision with us here at TBMMF.

Read the interview.

tampa bay meowser


Neal Ekengren was introduced to the maker world by a Wired magazine article on the Arduino. His indulgent wife got him one for Christmas. Neal thought he’d just play around with the thing, “learn about these fancy new toys, and light up a few LEDs.” Then, he says, “the maker bug hit.” He envisioned a single multi-project combining many of his interests. It would use an Arduino with chemistry, software development, and woodworking. MEOWSER was born. MEOWSER is a (M)ineral (E)lement Br(owser), and consists of a cabinet full of rocks and mineral samples, with cabinet LED lighting controlled using an Arduino microcontroller driven by a laptop computer periodic table. Neal had been viewing all the great online chemistry periodic tables that were showing up, as well as the great element and mineral collections online that were linked to periodic tables. And he realized he could use the same mouse-over interfaces to drive lighting in a wood cabinet full of minerals.

Read more.

tampa bay jesse-vance2

Jesse Thelonious Vance

Jesse Thelonious Vance is a performance artist, a sound engineer, a photographer and artistic community organizer who has spent the past two and a half years facilitating the Pangaea Project, a concert series for experimental music, performance and visual art. “I have been playing music, in some form for my entire life, ” Jesse tells us. ” I have studied music in traditional forms and have been a student in the Music Industry Recording Arts program at Saint Petersburg College, with a focus on production and technology. I have been performing and organizing experimental music concerts since 2007.”

Among many other things, Jesse is building lesson plans and an interactive performance workshop for elementary school students that uses a multitude of odd, experimental, modified and home-made instruments. The program will demonstrate the science of acoustics, basic electronics, programming, musicality and most of all, instilling the value of allowing youth to be passionate and creative and never, never ever letting anyone tell them they can’t.

Read more.

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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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