Learning through doing: Locals showcase at Maker Faire
The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry's seventh annual Mini Maker Faire on Sept. 15 and 16 will have a little something for everyone, from a lightning simulator to T-shirts printed by a steamroller.
Sand-sculpting workshops, Tesla coil demonstrations and a wind tunnel test of paper airplanes are just a few of the other activities offered by more than 120 crafters, educators, hobbyists, engineers, artists, homesteaders and commercial exhibitors at the event, taking place from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at OMSI, 1945 S.E. Water Ave., Portland.
A maker faire is a family-friendly showcase of invention and creativity where people of all ages gather to demonstrate what they do best, and this year's event at OMSI will feature two local makers, Myles de Bastion and Jessica Hebert.
Myles de Bastion
For de Bastion, who is a deaf musician living a block north of Milwaukie in Sellwood, the Mini Maker Faire is an inspiration and a chance to meet interesting and intelligent people working on fascinating projects.
In addition to being a musician, de Bastion is a designer of cymatic technology, which makes sound visible, and founder of the nonprofit CymaSpace.
"I founded CymaSpace because of a need to make music more accessible for myself and others like me. Progressive hearing loss means I am unable to hear the singers' lyrics or all the notes when I play guitar," he said.
"Falling back on my technical training, I connected with the Portland maker community to create interactive light sculptures, transforming sound and music into a visual and tactile experience."
During the maker faire, de Bastion will demonstrate "a framework for mapping music harmony to color harmony, enabling anyone to create sound and light interactions without needing to hear nor needing prior training in music theory."
De Bastion recommends this event for all ages, abilities and interests, adding that he "enjoys seeing such a wide variety of local makers and hands-on projects built with open-source electronics. The large robots are particularly awesome.
"I want to thank OMSI and the event organizers for arranging ASL interpreters and accommodating my needs as a deaf maker."
To learn more about de Bastion, visit cymaspace.org.
Those interested in what Hebert calls "pirattitude," will want to head over to see the crew representing PDXYAR, also known as the Swashbucklers of Stumptown.
Hebert explained that YAR is not an acronym. "It's an exclamation. It means everything from yes to hello to I see. It's our aloha."
This group of historical "fictioneers," seeks to educate by providing insight into past technologies. PDXYAR also provides services such as pirate appearances, staged combat, fire dancing and living history instruction.
"Maker Faire is more than robots and what's new. It's about what do you make and how? Making hardtack and gunpowder might be older technologies, but privateers are definitely making things," she said.
Hebert, a Milwaukie resident who portrays the character of Quartermaster Greta Thorbjornsen, said that PFXYAR has been involved with OMSI's maker faire since its first year.
"For us, it's an opportunity to do more of the educational side of our work, teaching about weapons of the era, period cooking, real sailing terminology and more," she said.
This year the crew will be showing off some of its gunnery and weapon collection, including flintlock pistols and swords.
"We'll show why hardtack was so valuable and yet so gross, as well as the critical role singing played onboard ship," Hebert said.
"We love to engage different audiences, and the crowds that come to Maker Faire are inquisitive and friendly. We see a lot of families at this event and the opportunity for all members of a family to learn together is something really special," she said.
"From robots to coffee, 3D printing to metalworking, we've seen it all over the last several years at Maker Faire. The two days fly by and even as participants, we end up learning so much from our neighbors."
Learn more about PDXYAR at pdxyar.org.
What: The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry will host the seventh annual Portland Mini Maker Faire
When: 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 15-16
Where: 1945 S.E. Water Ave., Portland
Cost: Adults, $16; youth and seniors, $10
The fair celebrates the maker movement and brings together makers of all fields with the goal of supporting grassroots innovation. It is presented by OMSI and Lam Research and is supported by the University of Oregon, Rockwell Collins, OSH Park, Epilog Laser, Sunstone Circuits and CUI Inc.
Community partners include Ninkasi Brewing Co., Portland Pedal Power Sustainable Catering, Portland Sangria and DRY Soda Company, in partnership with Make: Magazine.