Saturday, January 17, 2009

Maker Faire Austin 2008

Maker Faire is kind of a cross between a electronics techie geek convention, craft convention, DIY gathering, with a teeny whiff of burning man thrown into the mix. My husband gets into the electronics tech stuff, our teenager isn't completely bored with it, and I like it all so it makes for a nice family trip to Austin. We went last year too, and you can read about it here and see more pics from last year here. The Austin event takes place in October.

Here I am at the Crafty Chica booth at Maker Faire 2008 in Austin.

I went to the Crafty Chica booth where they were GIVING AWAY these awesome journals. Thanks, Cathy! They have unfinished wood front covers and blank pages. Journals with unlined pages are kind of hard to find sometimes, and I don't like the lined ones. The booth was set up for people to decorate the journals. I'm holding up the one I did, which is partially decorated. There are lots of Crafty Chica designs to decorate with, including sugar skulls and other Dia de Los Muertos imagery and Frieda Khalo, both of which I really love.

The highlight of my visit was seeing Cathy Cano-Murillo
, also known as the Crafty Chica. I really admire the way Cathy has marketed herself and her products. She's the author of Making Shadow Boxes and Shrines as well as the upcoming Crafty Chica's Guide to Artful Sewing and many other books. I took some notes during her presentation.

I'm going to paraphrase some of what she said from my notes. All errors and misquotes are mine.

She talked about branding yourself:

  • what makes your product special and unique to you
  • your products should work together and tell a story
  • use themes
  • work every angle: craft books, products, fiction, teaching, selling, product line development
  • stay true to your own style and brand but know your boundaries when you need to negotiate with companies
  • if you have something published send pics to companies whose products you used
  • must have fan base

Here is Cathy at her booth with some children decorating their journals. The Crafty Chica products are now available online at Amazon. She has some really good paint colors and glitter, plus great designs that can be used for collage and other art.

...and then THE ART CARS:

I didn't take nearly as many pictures this year, but I did get some new Art Car photos for my "collection." The car above is covered in Astro Turf. Note the gnomes on the hood.

This car was a real crowd pleaser. I have video of it which I will have to post. All of the lobsters and fish on the car move in time to the music they play. One of the lobsters extends out over the hood at various times to "conduct the symphony." Very amazing. I don't know how they keep them attached to the car or get them to work together but then this is a techie sort of event.

Here are some more art cars. I also have more photos of these from different angles on my Flickr art car set. There were more art cars but I got photos of those last time. I can just imagine the double-takes when people spot these vehicles going down the road.

The robots commonly seen in robot war events were in the auditorium battling it out. I wasn't able to get any good pictures though.

We had a great time at the faire and will return next year. I bought some cool products in the store, including a resin kit from Resin Obsession, a LilyPad E-Sewing Kit, and a LilyPad Pro Kit. The LilyPad kits are for experimenting with adding electronics to clothing and other wearables. I think that's going to be common in the future. Ralph knows about arduinos so he should be able to help me with the programming process.

Ralph gifted me with a set of Young Mad Scientist blocks from Xylocopa. Check these out! Be sure to click on the picture so you can see the detail. The level of detail is amazing, plus they are definitely in the steampunk genre. I can look at them forever. I want to write stories about them. In fact, there should be an alphabet book with these as the artwork. Hint, hint Xylocopa.

Read more about Maker Faire at the website. Also the Make and Craft magazines and Make Blog and Craft Blog are well worth a look. The blogs are very active with dozens of new posts daily.

Maker Faire events are held yearly, one in California and the other in Austin, Texas. A new one has been added for 2009 in the United Kingdom.

As we were leaving the event I picked up dozens of rusty and semi rusty flattened bottle caps that are just perfect for found object jewelry charms. It was a great trip.


Mei (WireBlissMei) said...

Hi Leslie! I have awarded you the Lemonade award for your blog because it shows an attitude of gratitude, uplifting and has good content. Pick it up at:

Leslie Todd said...

Thanks Mei! And congratulation on your award as well. I'm always inspired by how much you get done and by your creativity.