Sunday, April 27, 2014

Our First Lehigh Valley Mini Maker Faire written by the Morning Call April 24,2014

Whether you know it or not, you are probably a "Maker." If you have ever toyed around with Legos, tinkered with your car or built mudpies in your backyard as a child, then that makes you … a Maker. This is an idea Lehigh University professor Marc de Vinck is hoping to spread throughout the Lehigh Valley. De Vinck has co-produced the first Lehigh Valley Mini Maker Faire in hopes of encouraging the "Maker" in all of us. The free event Saturday at SteelStacks in Bethlehem welcomes people of all ages to explore the magic of creativity. "I looked at the Lehigh Valley and saw that there's so much going on here," de Vinck says. "Even from a personal level, and I just wanted to know more." De Vinck has helped produce Maker Faires — known as the "greatest show and tell on Earth" — across the country. They grew from an organization called MAKE that aims to bring attention to the DIY culture worldwide. The group has a magazine and a website. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The one-day Lehigh Valley event will feature about 75 exhibits from local companies, inventors and performers, each oozing ingenuity and do-it-yourself flavor. MTS Ventures will help guests to build paper rockets, which will be launched hundreds of feet using compressed air. Kraemer Yarns, which spun the yarn for the U.S. Olympic uniforms in Sochi, will host an interactive "Learn to Knit" lesson, providing needles and yarn for anyone who wants to learn. Roey's Paintbox will hold lessons for children on how to paint with acrylic paint on canvases, and USB Typewriter will show how to convert an old typewriter into a fashionable, retro keyboard to use on your desktop. At one booth, representatives of Make Lehigh Valley, will teach you how to solder, providing iron and sponges. At others, you can build a Japanese-style manga paper doll, remote control aircraft and a robot using K'nex. De Vinck has been involved in the maker movement for about eight years. While at grad school at Boston University, he met Phillip Torrone, who was a senior editor at MAKE magazine. De Vinck started writing blog posts for MAKE and soon became director of product development for Maker Media, which produces MAKE magazine. He helped build and develop educational kits that teach about micro controllers and electronics that were sold in RadioShacks across the country. De Vinck came to Lehigh University in 2012 to join its Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity and Innovation as a professor of practice in creativity. It was there that he met Lehigh Valley Maker Faire co-producer Lisa Getzler-Linn. According to Getzler-Linn, Lehigh's Baker Institute "supports and promotes courses and extracurricular programming that want to change the world by using creativity to solve problems and create value by starting companies and organizations to get those solutions out to the world." While the Mini Maker Faire is not associated with Lehigh University, the Maker movement certainly echoes the mission of the department. "I have only been aware of the Maker movement since Marc came to Lehigh and he brought the culture with him," Getzler-Linn says. "What I have learned about it since then is how much of the Maker culture already existed, but we weren't tapped into it. Since Marc's arrival we have been able to embrace it and celebrate it." De Vinck and Getzler-Linn got to talking about the wealth of creativity in the Lehigh Valley and decided that the Lehigh Valley would be a great location for a Mini Maker Faire. The closest Maker Faire is in New York City — the World Maker Faire, the biggest in the world. "Because Marc had been an instrumental participant in Maker Faires nationally, we realized we had this asset in our backyard," Getzler-Linn says. "It would be a very exciting thing to bring to the Lehigh Valley." With promotional help from PBS 39, the Lehigh Valley Mini Maker Faire was launched. It's called a "Mini Maker Faire" instead of typical "Featured Maker Faire" because "minis" are community organized, whereas the featured faires are put together by MAKE. For de Vinck, Maker Faires are maybe less about actually "making" things, and more about forming relationships. "I think one of the biggest things, and it may not be the most obvious, is building the community and creating relationships between people who want to create and share what they do," he says. "It's one of those overlooked aspects of a Maker Faire." He hopes the event will help connect fellow Makers, who can inspire each other. He sees a Maker Faire as a breeding ground for innovation, and one of the only opportunities where the Makers from the area can link up and share ideas. By Dan Beck, Of The Morning Call 11:38 p.m. EDT, April 24, 2014 "I didn't know about all these different artists and makers and engineers in the area and all of a sudden they kind of came out of the woodwork," de Vinck says. "It's for the community, but I saw that there's so much going on here and nobody really knows anybody." Both de Vinck and Getzler-Linn agree that this weekend's faire is for everybody, not just techies or professional engineers. They say it is not a craft fair or an electronics show, but, instead, offers a little something for all types of people. "There's something for my 3-year-old niece and there's also something for my 90-year-old grandparent," de Vinck says. "My hope is that people not only learn something new, but I hope people make connections within the community and they form relationships with people who like to do similar things, or form relationships with people who do something that is completely out of their area, but something they'd like to learn more about," he says. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Ultimately, the Mini Maker Faire is an opportunity to find the inner-Maker inside all of us. "We want people to recognize their own creativity," Getzler-Linn says. "When people see lots of different examples of creative making, they realize that they, too, are makers and that they use creativity to make the world a better place." LEHIGH VALLEY MINI MAKER FAIRE •What: First annual celebration of innovation and creativity featuring 75 performers, tech enthusiasts, crafters, engineers and others, and many hands-on activities. •When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday •Where: SteelStacks, 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem •How much: Free •Info: Read more:,0,2983101.story?page=2#ixzz306D9wgq4 Follow us: @mcall on Twitter | on Facebook Copyright © 2014, The Morning Call Read more:,0,2983101.story#ixzz306Cqb5aD Follow us: @mcall on Twitter | on Facebook

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