Creators Showing Off Work at Mini Maker Faire

Erika Soderstrom, Staff Writer

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The first annual Rogue Valley Mini Maker Faire drew the attention of the community as Science Works encouraged attendees of all ages to learn, grow and have fun at the first annual Maker Faire on Saturday, Nov. 19.

The event contained a wide range of activities and learning opportunities from a car take-apart to a talk from Annika Schindler, who helped to create the popular animation The Boxtrolls. In addition there were various Makerspaces such as DIY Cave, Talent Maker City and Circuit Youth, located in Ashland.

“The purpose of a Makerspace is to empower the community to make and repair anything they want,”said Aaron Leis from DIY Cave, a Makerspace located in Bend, Oregon. “As a nation of makers, as a nation of creators, people have begun to fall away from that heritage of making,” he said.

“A Makerspace is something that can serve the entire community from elementary age kids, to high school, up through adults working in local industry,” said Ryan Wilcoxson Founder of Talent Maker City.

Fifty commercial and noncommercial Makers were in attendance at the Rogue Valley Mini Maker Faire from various locations in California and Oregon including Sacramento, Pasadena, Bend, Talent, and Portland.

“It’s really all about teaching people how to think for themselves,” said Gregory Dills, festival director and employee at Science Works. Dills focused on the event as a creative space to “show off what you make.”

“When people have hands-on experiences they learn best through that,” said Dills. Of the various activities offered at the Rogue Valley Mini Maker Faire attendees of all ages were encouraged to create and learn through a hands on approach.mini_maker

Through the Makerspaces at the event individuals were able to both learn more about science while creating original works. “The reason that we’re here today is to just let people know that there are spaces that are there for people to use,” said Leis. DIY Cave taught attendees about Lichtenberg Pyrography, which is the burning of wood through the use of electricity, which can leave a creative design as a result.

Leis attributes the lack of creativity in the world today due to the lack of Makerspaces and the tools required to create. However, he explained, “by giving that back to the community we empower the community to be creative again.”

Planning for the event started last November through the process of receiving proper licensing, hosting community meetings and finding makers to share their ideas and creations. All while keeping the main goal of the event in mind: to learn about science. “They may have been having fun all day, they didn’t know they were learning something and they may be walking away with some skill that will last a lifetime,” said Dills.

Rogue Valley Mini Maker Faire plans on making an appearance next year. “We definitely have a lot of room to grow this event and we hope that people will come out and apply to be apart of it next year,” said Dills.

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