Guest post by wearable art and costume artist Sophy Wong.

Seattle Mini Maker Faire 2016 Was Awesome!

I love Maker Faire because it celebrates all kinds of making—from 3D printing to blacksmithing—in an explosive, frenetic, inspiring weekend. Last year’s Seattle Mini Maker Faire was no exception. I’d been to Maker Faire before, but last year was special for me: it was my first time participating in the Faire as a maker.

As a designer and maker who works with costumes and wearable technology, I spoke on a panel at the faire about wearable art. I wanted to wear something new for the panel, so I made an LED vest that flashed in colorful animated sequences. I worked on it for two straight weeks, and finished it the night before my panel. The vest uses LED strips controlled by an Arduino-powered microcontroller. With a giant battery strapped to my back, I headed to the faire.

Before the faire opened for the day, MoPOP was quiet—exhibitors concentrated on setting up their booths for the thousands of attendees that would pass through. A buzz of excitement was in the air. Soon, people were everywhere—attendees mingled with exhibitors, asking questions, watching demos, and building things to take home. On the Wearable Art panel, we talked about our work and what inspires us to adorn the human body with flowers, fashion, costumes, and technology. I really enjoyed chatting with my fellow panelists and the audience afterward. And then I was off to explore!

The size of the faire has really grown in the last few years. There were so many different projects and makers, and every booth had something new and interesting to learn about. I roamed for hours, talking to the makers and finding out what drove them to bring their ideas to life. One minute I was watching a giant mechanical beast breathe fire into the air, and the next minute I was talking to the people who built it. From 3D printed robots to cardboard bucky balls, every booth had something unexpected and exciting. The young makers were so inspiring—they talked about their projects with enthusiasm and were eager to share their challenges and triumphs.

For a fun peek at the faire, check out the video I made about my experience last year. There were so many amazing things to see and I know that there will be even more this year. What new tools, projects, and makers will be there? If you’ve got a creative, resourceful, innovative project, whether it’s woodworking or modern dance, I encourage you to apply to share it at Seattle Mini Maker Faire. I can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

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