The Maker Faire is a two-day event that celebrates arts, crafts, engineering, science projects and the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mindset. Participants who bring their projects to the event are called Makers. Chandra Cerrito Contemporary presents a sampling of Makers from the Maker Faire who exhibit their unique processes of art making. Whether by hacking existing objects (Kris DeGraeve); recycling materials (Scott Gasparian); technological innovation (Flaming Lotus Girls) or subversive crafting (Jenny Hart, Xylocopia) these makers and inventors create objects of art in unconventional ways.
Scott Gasparian is a science teacher, inventor and an artist. His kinetic art incorporates repurposed materials from discarded machinery, paired with 21st century components. For example, the Orbitron sculpture consists of 100 year old sewing machine parts coupled with state-of-the art microcontrollers. Building from scrap wood and glass, Gasparian hand solders all the Surface Mount components and designs all of the circuitry in his work. “If technology can not be useful in making our lives more beautiful, then surely it must be beautiful in its use.”
Kris DeGraeve’s painting robot is another take on repurposing materials, creating art through the medium of technology. DeGraeve is a painter, designer and crafter. Hacking the iRobot Kris takes a robot vacuum and reprograms it to paint. “I really consider what I'm doing with the robot a collaboration… I provided it with the things it needed to be aware of, and it's response to these things created the paintings.” Kris details instructions for making the painting robot on her website, enabling others to create their own.
In terms of creating art through technology and collaboration, The Flaming Lotus Girls do so on a massive proportion. The Flaming Lotus Girls (FLG) is a female- driven collaborative group of artists who create large- scale art pieces incorporating metal, fire and LED technology. FLG’s pieces are monumental in scale, with flames moving upwards to 150+ feet, requiring months of preparation. The realization of their work not only comes from the collective’s members and volunteers, but also from viewer participation. Soma’s design, whose maquette is featured in the Maker Show, is based on the cellular structure of a neuron. With FLG supervision, participant controlled buttons make the flames jump through the structure, creating a performative “neurotransmission”. In person, Soma rises 25’ high and 50’ long; consisting of stainless steel, copper, aluminum, bronze, resin, custom built LED packages and computer-controlled flames requiring hundreds of gallons of fuel.
Andrew and Michele Waser are the minds behind Xylocopa Design, the name inspired by the scientific genus Xylocopa, the carpenter bee. From Andrew’s background in architecture, software design and linguistics and Michele’s background in art, science and design comes the Young Mad Scientist’s First Alphabet Blocks. A tongue-in-cheek solution for their genuine concern for the lack of early science education in the school systems is the “first step…to madscience proficiency” Alphabet Blocks. Each block began as a pen and ink drawing then translated into laser etched solid maple blocks, illustrating key scientific concepts such as “N is for Nanotechnology”.
Jenny Hart took on embroidery as an extension of her work as a fine artist. She uses the medium for her illustrations, most recently, works of portraiture. In the piece Oh Unicorn Hart embroiders her own hair onto leather. In addition to her fine art embroidery, Jenny has championed the new movement of contemporary embroidery by creating the company Sublime Stitching. Through this format, her illustrations are translated into unconventional patterns and kits that can be purchased by others to embellish objects to their own liking. Through her artwork, company, research and writing, Hart has developed an expertise on contemporary needle arts, while also curating and participating in national and international contemporary needlework exhibitions.
Described by it's organizers as a science fair meets the county fair the Maker Faire is a family- friendly event where scientists, inventors, crafters and food makers from all walks of life bring their ‘backyard projects’ to share with the public. Last year in the Bay Area alone, over 80 thousand Makers and guests attended the two-day event. Attendees delighted in instructional lectures and demonstrations, varieties of musical and performative entertainment and walked specially curated outdoor areas and exhibition halls. Participants and attendees come away from the Faire touched by the beauty of the boundless mind and ignited by a limitless sense of possibility. The Maker Faire has sparked a Maker Movement, extending it’s DIY principles throughout the country and the world. Bay Area Maker Faire 2010 is slated for May 22-23. Visit www.makerfaire.com for details.