Celebrating the makers
Engineers, scientists, artists and crafters will gather to demonstrate a wide variety of projects, hobbies and ventures this weekend when the Portland Mini Maker Faire returns to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.
Billed as the "Greatest Show (& Tell) on Earth," the family-friendly event on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 15-16, will showcase the work of makers of all ages — folks who embrace the do-it-yourself (or do-it-together) spirit and want to share their accomplishments with an appreciative audience.
More than 100 exhibitors are scheduled to display their wares, including two members of the Lake Oswego community: jeweler and metalsmith Molly Rahe of Westlake's Elizabeth Jewelry, and Rob Brown, president of Portland Jugglers.
For Rahe, being invited to this year's maker faire is a huge honor. As a native Oregonian, she grew up taking trips to OMSI and has continued that tradition with her own children. She says she's excited not only to be a part of the event, but to also see what new and interesting things are taking place within Portland's maker community.
"There is a plethora of extremely brilliant and uniquely talented artisans and makers in the Portland area, so to be included means a lot to me," Rahe says. "I've been doing this since 1996, and throughout that time I've put my hands in every type of jewelry medium you can think of, whether it be metalsmithing, hand fabrication, glasswork, all the different gemstones. And I've finally, over the years, honed it to what's really relevant to me and my customers. I'm excited to share that at the maker faire."
In addition to selling her own creations, Rahe will demonstrate a jewelry medium she believes ties into Portland's DIY spirit of creating something that holds sentimental value. Throughout the weekend, faire-goers will be able to stop by Rahe's booth to learn how to hand-stamp their own small pendants.
"When I started my own line of jewelry, it was very important for me to listen to what people were saying was relevant to them," she says. "What they wanted were things that had a sentimentality, things that had meaning far deeper and resonating than a trend or something gaudy and ostentatious that Instagram or the media said was cool. That's one of the reasons that the personalized, hand-stamped jewelry is such a focus, a mainstay.
"I'm demoing how to make simple hand-stamped pendants and charms where people can put in special meanings — the day of their anniversary, special or funny quotes, secret messages or their kids' names," she says. "They're really classic, everyday wearables."
Rob Brown says he's also delighted to be invited to this year's maker faire, where the Portland Jugglers will put on an exhibition showing folks how nearly any item can be turned into something you can juggle.
"The Portland Jugglers make their own fun out of juggling balls, clubs, sticks, rope and practically anything under the sun that can be thrown and caught. We created the Portland Juggling Festival in 1992, and it has become one of America's premiere juggling events, held each year at the end of September at Reed College," Brown says. "We will be juggling with each other and teaching attendees how to juggle. We'll also be demonstrating how to make simple juggling balls from household items."
The Portland Mini Maker Faire is presented by OMSI and Lam Research in partnership with Make: Magazine. It celebrates the maker movement and brings together makers of all fields with the goal of supporting grassroots innovation in the community.
"The Mini Maker Faire encourages thousands of young minds to think creatively and work together to solve tough challenges or make something new, things we do every day at Lam," says Sesha Varadarajan, senior vice president and general manager of the Deposition Business Unit at Lam Research. "Lam is proud to be this year's presenting sponsor and to support the next generation of makers."