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What is a Maker Faire?
Called the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth, Maker Faires are part science fair and part county fair. Showcasing invention, creativity and resourcefulness, makers — tech enthusiasts, crafters, artists, educators, tinkerers, students and others — exhibit their work and share their knowledge and skills. Visitors to Maker Faire Milwaukee (MFMKE, for short) will find something different around every corner — makers, performers, presentations, workshops and much more.

Information contained in the tabs above will tell you about exhibiting, visiting and volunteering. Of course, there is information about sponsoring MFMKE, too. Thanks to sponsors, Maker Faire Milwaukee is a FREE admission event.

Read more about Maker Faire Milwaukee…

Maker Faire Milwaukee was the largest Featured Faire in the country in 2014 (our inaugural year!), behind only the Flagship Faire in San Mateo, California and World Maker Faire New York in terms of attendance. To stay on top we need you!

Check out the videos from Maker Faire Milwaukee 2014, and help us make 2015 bigger and better.

The Call for Makers opens May 25, 2015!

Call for Makers

Not sure your project is a fit? Apply anyway! We will be in touch to discuss your interest and exhibit needs.


It’s Back. It’s Bigger. It’s not brain surgery.
Saturday, September 26, noon to 4 p.m.

On the day of the event, teams will receive instructions, a work space and tools, access to a hack rack of raw materials and time to create. Then, it’s off to the Challenge course to determine the winning team.

The GE Design & Build Challenge Registration opens May 25, 2015!

As the event approaches, we will be introducing makers and sharing information about what you will see at Maker Faire Milwaukee right here. Join the mailing list or check back often for news about MFMKE. We hope to see you there!


    Meet the Maker... Spaces!

    Spaces

    Makerspaces (sometimes called "Hackerspaces") are collaborative workshops where individuals can come together to share knowledge, skills, ideas, and equipment. Typically these spaces are in larger cities, and consist of volunteers who run things on a day-to-day basis. Members may have interests as diverse as wood working, electronics, crafting, forging, art, digital fabrication, and on and on. Often you'll find traditional tools like tables saws and sewing machines along side 3D printers and CNC routers.

    Here's a quick look at a few of the makerspaces that you'll meet Maker Faire Milwaukee

    Milwaukee Makerspace

    Milwaukee Makerspace started with about a dozen makers who would meet once a week at the local Culvers and talk about robotics and electric vehicles. They moved into their first space in Bay View with just a dozen members back in 2010. Since then they've grown to nearly 200 members and a 16,000 square foot facility with multiple 3D printers, laser cutters, and members working at all times of the day and night on various group and personal projects. (Milwaukee Makerspace is also the co-host of Maker Faire Milwaukee!)

    Appleton Makerspace

    Up in the Fox Valley is Appleton Makerspace, which started with a group known as DHMN ("Distributed Hacker/Maker Network") and eventually secured a space and is now known as Appleton Makerspace. The space has a small but active group of members working on projects such as a "Ham Shack" for Ham radio activities, a paintball sentry gun, CandyBot, a "wookie box", and there's even one member building an airplane!

    The Bodgery

    Originally known as "MadCity Makers", the members of The Bodgery (often called "Bodgers") recently moved into a new space in Madison, Wisconsin. The new building is bigger and better than before, and continues to gain new equipment, and attract new members. (One of their bigger projects is the Madison Drone Racing League!) Like most spaces, they have "open nights" where the public can come in and find out more about what the space is, and what the members do. Stop in any Friday at 7pm to find out more.

    Pumping Station: One

    As we've mentioned before, Pumping Station: One will be on-hand to help you make a "PS: One Noisemaker", which is an optical theremin that requires no soldering. We're also please to welcome PS:1 as our "out of state" makerspace. Pumping Station: One is located in Chicago, Illinois and has hundreds of members with hundreds of projects, including things like the "Dumb Robot Competition". (PS:1 is also where The Power Racing Series originated.)

    If you're wondering if there is a makerspace in your town, check out wiki.hackerspaces.org which features a user-maintained list of all active hackerspaces throughout the world.

    Read more...

    Meet the Maker - Margie Criner

    Margie Criner

    Tell us about yourself.
    I am a Chicago artist making sculpture within sculpture. I use a variety of textiles in my work such as wood, wool, vintage toys, and found objects. Exteriors of my work are abstract but are informed by real objects. I like to mix science with design and play.

    What are you presenting at Maker Faire Milwaukee?
    Sculpture within sculpture. I build abstract exteriors that house miniature narrative interiors. The secondary sculptures are lit with LEDs and can be seen through a viewing portal.

    All Is not Lost

    Why is making important to you?
    I am a serial expressionist. I have always made art, whether 2D, 3D, or music. I am a serial expressionist. I make things because I have to.

    What was the first thing you remember making?
    I remember making a walkie talkie out of a block of pine and a nail when I was about five or six years old. That was the first object I made in my dad’s wood shop.

    All Is not Lost

    What have you made that you are most proud of?
    I guess I am most proud of whatever I just completed. I just finished what, from the outside, looks like a box camera made out of a variety of woods (zebra, walnut, oak, poplar, and cherry). The exterior has a magnifying lens. The interior has a scene about climate change. You can only see the interior if you lean in close to the lens portal.

    Given an unlimited budget, what would you make?
    I would make a series of combination kinetic zoetrope+mutoscope, where the viewer turns a crank, looks through the viewing portal that has a reducing lens, to viewing a ‘movie.’

    Read more...

    Call for Makers... one more week!

    Call for Makers!

    We extended the Call for Makers until August 31st, 2015, but that deadline is rapidly approaching, and now you've got just one week left to sign up as a maker at Maker Faire Milwaukee!

    We're still accepting makers, commercial makers, speakers, people who want to lead a workshop, and those interested in competitive drone racing. If you've got something to share, we want you at Maker Faire Milwaukee.

    Submissions will be accepted up to August 31st, 2015 so APPLY NOW!

    Read more...

    Meet the Makers - Jenie Gao

    Jenie Gao

    Tell us about yourself.
    I'm an artist specializing in woodcuts, ink drawings, and allegorical storytelling. The purpose of my work is to challenge existing perspectives, to understand how the things we may not immediately see impact and shape the things we do see.

    I also have a work background in commercial printing, education, and lean manufacturing (eliminating waste in business). My experiences across industries and in both "traditionally" creative vs logical roles has made me a firm believer in different disciplines working together to inform and help one another.

    I spent the beginning of 2015 traveling to do two art residencies in Argentina and Chile. I'm now back in Madison with new work and new stories that challenge the way we see ourselves and the world around us.

    What are you presenting at Maker Faire Milwaukee?
    I will be making prints with the print clubs of UWM and MIAD in the Printmaking area! I will likely have a large woodblock with me.

    Why is making important to you?
    To me, the process of making is a way of giving back. Any time we create something new, we also take something away from somewhere else, so the making of something meaningful is always an act of reciprocity. As an artist, I believe that art is nothing without dialogue. Stories do not exist without context. Making is a way of processing and understanding the world around us. It is because we can observe and learn from the world around us that we can conceptualize and realize something new.

    The Golden Cage

    What was the first thing you remember making?
    A drawing of a cat with chunky legs. I was three years old. I decided that stick figures sucked, because real animals and people aren't stick figures.

    Clearly, XKCD has since proven me wrong, at least about the sucking part.

    What have you made that you are most proud of?
    That's always changing, but most recently I am proudest of the illustrated woodcut book I made in Buenos Aires earlier this year. My work has always been based in stories. This one specifically is about a homing pigeon who leaves what he knows (the all-too-familiar pigeonhole) in the pursuit of some greater purpose and what he ends up learning along the way.

    I love this project for several reasons, but perhaps the most important isn't so much the work itself but the dialogues I was able to have around it. I carried a draft copy with me during my travels through Patagonia in Argentina and Chile. I didn't speak Spanish before my trip and was slogging through the highs and very low lows of learning a new language as I explored this region. Luckily, I'm stubborn as hell and forced myself to think in Spanish, only read Spanish books, and talk to lots of people who were thankfully patient with my toddler-speak. I was in a city called Bariloche almost 2 months into my trip and told a new friend whom I'd been hiking with that I'd show her my book at the hostel. It so happened that when I did bring out the book that night, we were sitting at a packed table, where some people only spoke English and others only spoke Spanish and only a few understood both. I didn't want to exclude anybody, so I had to tell the story in both languages as I turned page by page. I think I about gave myself a migraine, but it was a moment when I deeply felt the power of language either to exclude or include and the joy of finally being able to accommodate for others when so many other people had made that effort to include me when I didn't understand.

    You can read more about the book project on my blog.

    Wood Block Print

    Given an unlimited budget, what would you make?
    I would put together the best dream team I could to build a school of creativity and hands-on workshops that teaches business principles; creative problem solving; the beauty of process (through art and other creative means); and the importance of questioning the purpose and value of what we do, in work or otherwise. I'm an idealistic person at heart, but I hate seeing how often well meaning initiatives and organizations fail because they lack the pragmatism to support their intended vision. I don't believe that creativity only happens in chaos, or that logic is only for the linear thinker. And while it sounds cheesy, I do believe it's possible for organizations of any sort to be beautiful inside and out. I also believe that business sense is something anyone would benefit from, whether they choose to work for themselves or for someone else. It starts with the kinds of dialogues and mindsets we encourage. It starts with how we teach and invest in the people in our communities. It starts with making information not only physically available but also mentally accessible, which means not perpetuating the archetypes of starving artists, useless degrees, getting a job just to have one, or that keeping busy--whether for the right reasons or not--is a virtue.

    And since it's an unlimited budget, I would further distribute it to people who equally love lifelong learning, have better ideas and stronger skillsets than I have, and the perseverance needed to champion their ideas and build dream teams both to grow and sustain these kinds of beautiful businesses.

    Once all that was off the ground, in the hands of smarter people than myself who continuously teach others to be able to sustain and to grow as well, I would spend the rest of my life writing and illustrating lots of books. And baking pies and inviting friends over to eat these pies. And probably adopting lots of stray animals and playing matchmaker for them and my friends. So in the end, I would use an unlimited budget to make a sanctuary/matchmaking service for animals and people who like pies and books.

    Read more...

    Meet the Makers - Jim Plaxco

    Jim Plaxco

    Tell us about yourself.
    I am a digital artist and the creator of a variety of digital art programs, including algorithmic and generative art programs. I am also an advocate for new media art and give public presentations on a variety of digital art topics - with one of my favorite venues for such programs being science fiction conventions.

    What are you presenting at Maker Faire Milwaukee?
    I will be running a workshop on the Processing programming language, a programming language created specifically for artists, musicians, and other creatives who do not have a background in computer programming. Specifically I will be teaching about how to use Processing to create digital spirographs and harmonographs and will be providing students with several model programs that I have written. There is some additional information in this presentation.

    Why is making important to you?
    It's all about the process and the challenge of creating something new. As an artist, it's about creating new visual experiences but for me it neither starts nor ends there. As a software engineer it's about being able to create new digital tools that I can then use to create art that is uniquely my own. I derive far more satisfaction creating art using tools that I have created than in creating art using tools that someone else created.

    Jim Plaxco

    What was the first thing you remember making?
    As a child I think I specialized in making messes. But speaking with respect to digital art, it was an animation I created as a part of a graduate level class on computer graphics offered by my university's art department. It was my first taste of using the computer to create art and it is truly amazing how quickly the field has advanced in the intervening years.

    What have you made that you are most proud of?
    Again speaking with respect to my digital art activities, one example would be the creation of software that I call gestural algorithmics which made it possible for me to dynamically interact with what would have otherwise been a straight forward algorithmic process. An example of a work of art created using this procedure is a work titled "Finding My Center of Gravity" which you can see online.

    Given an unlimited budget, what would you make?
    A wall-sized electronic artwork that was interactive with and responsive to its environment - with the additional capability of being tunable to the particular type of atmosphere the collaborator(s) wanted to create.

    Read more...

There are days until Maker Faire Milwaukee!