Maker Faire Atlanta is coming up in just a few weeks (Saturday/Sunday October 3-4) in downtown Decatur. As a definite Geek in Good Standing, I’ve participated in it every year except one. It’s always one of my favorite events of the year just because it’s so different from the usual art festival. The focus is on not just having work available for sale, but on showing how I do what I do. I enjoy demonstrating, so this is perfect! I get my husband to handle the sales while I play around with whatever tools and materials I am willing to haul over there. At an event like that, I don’t feel the pressure to create perfect items — I can experiment and be spontaneous in public, and the attendees enjoy both the product AND the process.
Last year one young woman came by with a pair of RAM sticks wondering if there was any way to make them into, maybe, earrings? Well, why not?? I had a saw, I had findings, I was good to go. Within about 10 minutes I had cut down the circuit boards, added ear hooks, and she had a beautifully geeky pair of earrings to go with her technophile necklace.
On Saturday at the Piedmont Park Arts Festival, a mother and her young children stopped in to my booth on their way to the pool. They looked at some of my pendants, and then asked if I had any stars. I showed them my chainmaille Celtic Star pendants, but they were just too big. The mother explained that she was looking for a star pendant for her four-year-old daughter, whose beloved necklace had broken.
Well, of course my adult-sized pendants were going to be too big for a four year old! But I had an idea — I showed her the stainless steel Northern Star earrings I had, and asked if a pendant the size of one of those stars (about an inch in diameter) would work. She thought it would, and her daughter liked the look of them, so I offered to make a special one for her while they were at the pool if I wasn’t swamped with customers.
It was busy, but I got it made, putting in the last rings just as they came back from the pool. We put it on one of the leather cords I get from Valerie Stickles, a short gray one, and placed it on her daughter.
I think she’s pleased. In fact, when the family came back to the pool on Sunday, she insisted on coming by my booth to thank me again, with a big smile on her face. Plus, as an artist I have to enjoy the fact that her mother was willing to buy her a custom, handcrafted piece of art rather than a imported mass-market trinket!