Posted by: Nancy | June 25, 2011

Making magic

I’m guessing that most of the audience at Maker Faire Kansas City Saturday had never before been to a Maker Faire.

The questions were everywhere: “What are you doing?” “What is this thing?” “How did you make this?” “What do you do with it?” And, of course, “Why?”

Part county fair, part science fair, it was a celebration of creation and exploration.

It was social, participatory and happily geeky all at the same time. It was hands-on, with nearly every booth offering something to touch, smell, taste or stare at. It was a full sensory experience, and there were a LOT of delighted faces everywhere you turned.

The makers were generous with their explanations, and the audience was frequently awestruck and surprised. Explanations might start with, “Well, how much do you know about the physics of sound waves?” then quickly ratchet up or down to meet the needs of the questioner.

If the most prominent question “How did you…?,” the most common reaction was an appreciative: “Cool.”

My favorite part was the sweetness of the event: everywhere I turned, I saw people amused or intrigued, nearly always opening up with a question. There was a gentleness in the responses from the makers; I think it was a sense of pleasure at sharing the fun of the creation, the wonder of the “how.”

How many mobile-phone videos were uploaded today? I saw people everywhere capturing bits of magic, probably thousands just of the Tesla coils with their dramatic lightening arcs flailing above the stage.

I wonder how many imaginations were sparked…

Congratulations, Maker Faire.

PS: I also wrote a little entry for their website.

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