My Trip to Maker Faire

Getting ready for the earth oven workshop this weekend meant that I never got around to reporting on my trip to Maker Faire up in San Mateo on the 19th. I spoke in the low-tech “Homegrown” shed far away from the high powered tesla coil displays happening elsewhere. To add to the low tech/high tech irony, I was not able to use my PowerPoint and had to speak extemporaneously. This worked out for the better, as I was able to pull up a member of the audience to demonstrate her solar cooker–much more fun than showing pictures of solar cookers. And, after all, maybe it’s time we retire PowerPoint.

Some of the things I spotted at Maker Faire:

Long lines for the tiny house. I’ll review Lloyd Kahn’s awesome tiny house book later this week (he gave a talk just before me). Not sure what’s up with the white robe outfit in the foreground.

Also spotted: bamboo bikes!

Cornelia Hoskin, who curated the Homegrown Village part of Maker Faire, her husband and new bambino. Cornelia also runs

Yes, there were paintings done by snails.

Solar popped popcorn.
A rep from Sweet Maria’s Coffee gave a great demo on all the ways you can roast your own coffee.

Expensive AK-47 toting garden gnomes.

And solar powered bikes. Not sure how this would work out on an LA street.

Someone in the Homegrown area was processing greywater in bulk containers planted with bamboo.

Overall I had a great time. It was a wee bit heavy on the robots and 3d printer gadgets but that’s to be expected. At least there were a few chickens present to balance out the proceedings. However, next year I’m coming with an overhead projector:

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  1. We have an alternative energy fair every year in late summer around here and it seems to attract similar vendors and displays, but we’ve never, ever had artistic snails or gun-toting garden gnomes. What a hoot!

  2. There has to be a neater way to make solar pop corn! But the kid in the photo looks facinated so maybe he will end up having a career in the solar field!

  3. Just found your website, sorry this is so late! As to the bamboo bikes, my grandfather, Edward Merkner was a National Champion bike racer, and his racing bike was a bamboo one. It got stolen when my father rode it to the local store to buy candy, sometime back in the 30’s, and I can only imagine how mad Grandpa was! It was never returned or seen again.

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