We're back! We got in late last night and we were exhausted but happy. It was a great weekend! I met a lot of wonderful people and put some faces to names and I had a great time in general. To be honest the hardest part was the fact that I didn't get to see all of the Maker Faire. I was happy showing my project to everyone that came by but at the same time I wanted to experience the Faire myself. I wanted to go play!
We got to Austin Friday night so that we could get an early start the next day. My set up was fairly simple so that part was easy. I think I got more traffic on Saturday than I did on Sunday but it was constant on both days. I didn't have any expectations as far as how people were going to react to my junk mail project but I didn't expect to get so many laughs and "how clever!" comments. The comments that I heard over and over where: "Finally! Something to do with all that junk!", "You probably never run out of materials." and "So junk mail can be useful!". Even when people just walked by without stopping by my booth, I loved watching their faces when they read my Maker Faire sign that described my project - invariably they all smiled and even the most serious of men would at least crack a grin. It was great. I was very flattered by all the lovely things people said and I'm amazed at how nice everyone was. It was just a fun, very friendly atmosphere.
I can't even begin to calculate how many people I talked to. I met preschool teachers and middle school teachers both equally excited to share my projects with their students. I met moms and their kids, roommates (one specifically bringing his roommate on Sunday the day after meeting me himself), husbands and wives wanting to make my junk mail art to decorate their bare walls at home (one couple even insisted on taking pictures of me in my booth totally ignoring my protests - I prefer taking pictures than being in them!). The funny thing is that as many times as I explained how to make my project I never really got tired of doing it. I'm definitely a talker so that wasn't the problem. The biggest problem were my feet... ouch! I haven't had to stand for that many hours in a long time.
Many people assumed I was an art teacher and some wanted to know if I was selling any of my junk mail art. They were all surprised to hear that the answer to both questions was 'no'. I've never taught art (although I've considered it) and I've never sold any of my junk mail art pieces. It's fun to share the project and have others come up with their own versions. If any of you out there make your own, email me your photos - I would love to see them!
It goes without saying that it was also wonderful to meet all the "makers" at the Faire. I was also very excited to meet Jennifer Perkins and Tonia Davenport. I've been in touch with them via email and it was so nice to meet them in person. I also ran into Houston based Lisa of Fetosoap who I hadn't seen in a long time. It was very inspiring to be surrounded by so many creative people. Every single booth had something completely unique and different to offer. Whenever I got a chance to take a quick walk around I got to see some incredible work.
On Saturday I met the very sweet Natalie Zee Drieu from Craft (photo above). She completely made me feel at ease once I met her and I got ready for my demo presentation at the Craft booth. I think the fact that I had already explained my project so many times that morning helped me a lot. With the exception of the Madonna style microphone, a small stage and a larger audience in front of me - it was the same information I'd been sharing all along. I think I did ok for my first time. On Sunday, Natalie gave me an Editor's Choice blue ribbon award!
I'm so glad that my husband and the kids went with me. It wouldn't have been the same without them there. The kids had a wonderful time seeing so many things going on around them. They painted pumpkins, rode on some funky swing things, played with Tinker Toys, made "robots" out of junk from my neighbor's booth, decorated vinyl records, etc.
The only problem is that with so many people around, keeping the kids within sight and making them understand that they just couldn't just wander off was difficult at times. Our fun weekend experience came to a screeching halt on Sunday afternoon when my little C did wander away and we couldn't find her anywhere. We only had to look for her for about five to ten minutes (with the involvement of the police and the Maker Faire crew) but let me tell you it was the worst few minutes of our entire lives. When I was trying to describe my daughter to the police they could barely understand what I was saying because I had started to cry. One of the gals from the MakerFaire found her even though I was so out of it that I'd given them the wrong color of shirt and shorts she had on. To say that we were so very relieved when they found her is the understatement of the century. I wouldn't wish that horrible sensation of helplessness and anguish on anyone - ever. Thank God everything worked out just fine.
Whew! Longest post ever - If you've read this far thank you for taking the time! I just want to add that if any of you that are reading this visited my booth over the weekend I enjoyed every minute of talking with all of you and thank you for all your kind comments. It was really a blast. Maybe we'll see each other again next year!
EDIT - If you're interested in any other of my recycling projects just click on the "recycling" tag under some of my projects and you'll find the rest.