It’s been almost two weeks since we delivered another Maker Expo for Waterloo Region. Even when the show was over, there was still a lot to be done like thanking sponsors, returning gear, capturing lessons-learned, submitting expenses, surveying everyone and more.
We had a solid turnout at Kitchener City Hall, our maker-grant program for funding installations went well (in part resulting in this wicked balloon sculpture above by Drew Ripley and his crew of Lisa McIntire and Derek Wong). We had a great raft of sponsors who really understand our mission of inspiring people to make things with their hands. The makers came through for the community, delivering a wide variety of hands-on stuff to do. There are many dozens of volunteers who give their time to the Expo and the City of Kitchener provided a home for us for a second year in a row. It was a success by any measure. Thanks to all.
Sometimes I think my community investment on big projects is fueled by a certain amount of selective self-delusion. “It should be *easier* this year, because…” is usually how it goes. Those who create/run events know exactly what I’m talking about. There were a thousand details to run down and a few hair-raising snags to surmount, but we got it done and that’s all credit to the team. Now that I’ve had some regular sleep and reintroduced myself to my family, I myself am thoroughly jacked to dive back into my own making. That’s why we do this.
What follows is a wholly unreasonable number of photos I shot through setup/event/teardown. I missed a bunch of stuff because there were a number of things that needed my attention through the day, but I caught a cross section.
I know I say this all the time: this is one of my favourite buildings in WR.
Unfurling the banners. Friday night setup.
Ben, the sign-master.
Volunteers start early and stay late.
Tents. So many tents.
We get our shirts done at Traces. I used them to do the first round of kwartzlab shirts back in the day and never went anywhere else. Reliable, quality and you can talk with actual people when you walk in. Nice people.
Speaking of nice people, this design by Jon Johnson is well-loved.
Family photo time, but here is the rest of the family asks Cam and Tyler.
Great team. This crew comes equipped with an internally-driven commitment to our get-people-making mission because they themselves are makers. And they all put their individual pursuits/businesses/lives on hold to deliver Maker Expo. (L-R back) Darin White, Ben Brown, Ravi Baboolal, Neil Eaton, Tyler Jacques, Anges Niewiadomski. (L-R front) Cam Turner, Jen van Overbeeke, Darcy Casselman, Tanya Morose.
A lesson reaffirmed for me this year: it takes multiple perspectives for best outcomes. Cam suggested getting the WR water truck to the Expo with the proviso that we could *not* distribute any disposable bottled water as we did in 2015. I argued against it, wanting to limit scope creep in the event that late in the planning and mindful of the cost of giving away reusable water bottles to our exhibiting makers. Ravi said he would find a sponsor for the bottles (which he did in MIN) and the water truck set up camp in the middle of Carl Zehr Square and filled reusable water bottles the whole day long. When I saw it in action, I was delighted with the outcome and glad the team made a better decision than I would have individually. I try to limit the soapbox rants here, so I’ll just say we gotta stop buying free water for $4/L and creating a plastic eco-tastrophe in the process.
Here’s volunteer Adrian modeling a bottle for me.
And this is what the water truck looks like. You just fill ‘er up yourself.
We were clanking around City Hall on the Friday night and this person came over to tell us that a sort of pop-up play performance would be happening imminently in the Rotunda Gallery. How cool is that? And how do I find out more about this roving theatre?
Maker table signage.
Game day! Saturday! Maker Expo day. Anestis, photog, teacher, cool guy.
Jason (left) setting up the Jumpshot.
Dinah setting up binary beads.
Waterloo Tape Music Club setting up. Matt, Colin and Jordan.
Dave preparing for a figure-painting onslaught.
Brickworks Dave, rolling in.
When you’re Grobo, this says it all.
Rallying the volunteers.
I wish these signs were everywhere in the world.
kwartzlab Dave (right)
Hackernester Gavin (left) standing sentry duty.
Chris & Co.
Artemis setting up for Star Trek simulation games.
Alistair and Allison setting up.
Heather at the stamp-carve-athon.
Ben, fixing everything in the world from this laptop.
Pablo and friends in the University of Waterloo area. Thanks to UW for sponsoring Maker Expo. There are going to be a bunch of sponsor photos here because that’s a big part of what I work on for 9 months of the year. The event is free but stuff costs money.
Interesting: a gas-powered generator to supply current to an octo-copter eliminating the need for a heavy battery.
Hey, this looks like mobile phone microscopy, which is right up my alley.
The last time I saw this many people sewing together was never. Nice work, Michael. Hacking stuffed animals FTW.
My Mom Pat (left) teaching people to…
Nik (right) had this custom game cabinet serving up newly authored games by local’ish designers.
My very good friend Fatima volunteered to help my Mom at her crocheting table. Thank you so much.
Laurier, another one of our great sponsors,
Ron Daniels with Laurier Science. Long-time readers will remember the time I asked Ron in to give a talk at kwartzlab on making+biz.
Ron and his son Joey are making custom guitar pickups.
Gordon (centre) representing the Laurier Library.
Gary (left) and the crew from NetSuite Waterloo. NetSuite was our first-ever tech company to sponsor the Expo. Thanks for jumping in with us.
Conestoga College sponsoring the Expo again this year. Glad to have ‘em on board.
That octo-copter is wild. I recall being told 4kg lift capacity.
Also sponsoring in 2016: Communitech! Kayleigh always smiling.
Nik and Colin from the Waterloo Tape Music Club.
Mom said she needed to tune her bracelet-making workshop for different ages and abilities. That’s what makers do: figure it out on the fly.
Mr. Jim Fare, volunteer, kwartzlabber and Cameron Heights science teacher extraordinaire (rhyme!)
The City of Kitchener was our top sponsor this year. Our makerly work and ethos maybe helped inform their new economic development strategy.
Thom (left) from the City.
You filled out a survey, right? We actually read these and think about the feedback.
Ron had a cool vacuum-forming demo underway.
Dave’s very popular create-your-own-figures station.
Coding challenge with NetSuite.
This guy. Who lives at my house. Volunteering.
Jason’s collaborative painting station.
Kayloth the balloon dragon in the fountain. Possibly the most-photographed element of Maker Expo 2016.
Mr. David Bebee, Record ninja photog gets wet to get the shot.
Bebee knows well my penchant for meta-photography.
Button making. It’s so simple, but it’s like magic.
Drew (left), balloon boss.
In Rod we trust. Director of Economic Development for City of Kitchener.
Happy to have support from the BIA membership. We hold the show downtown because we love downtown. We very intentionally don’t have food trucks/vendors at the Expo so people will go find food at local restaurants.
There are a lot of pics of my Mom here because she’s the best.
Super heroes are makers too.
The big man in blue.
Ravi made the rain stop through force of will.
(thinking of robots)
Jim and the Woot Suit Riot podcast.
The carpet really ties the room together.
Someone else who lives at my house! Dropping by for her volunteer shift after a student leadership meetup at Huron Heights. A dad can be proud, non?
We wanted to call out these installations that were partially funded through our new Maker Expo grant program. I thought it was important for sponsors to have a really solid understanding of where their dollars were going.
The ever-popular wet felting with Kasia (right).
This is my favourite photo that I took at the Expo.
Panda’s Jumpshot installation.
My very good friend Cathy. Thank you for volunteering.
This volunteer has done more community organizing in her first 16 years than I did in my first 40.
My buddy Matt. He’s the maker’s maker.
Swing those pendulums, make some sound. Jordan in the green cap capturing b-roll.
Trying to get another group shot on game day.
Ravi thought bubble: I’ve got stuff I need to be doin’.
Tanya (right) and the Rocketeer.
What’s next, you ask? Well, we read all your survey feedback, summarize our #lessonslearned slack channel, and meet up on Monday at the Lancaster Smokehouse for a MEEP party of meat, beer and laughs.
See you next time.