Nathan Bindseil – 12th Grade, Central Catholic High School
Going into the Pittsburgh Maker Faire, a two day showcase of technology, innovation, creativity, arts and crafts, and all things DIY that occurred in conjunction with the Children’s Museum on October 10th and 11th, I had no idea what to expect. Maybe the event would be analogous to the Three Rivers Arts Fest with its artsy vibe or close to a more entertainment-drive community fair. But, it turned out to be parts of those things and much, much more.
The idea behind the Maker Movement, as its called, that has 120 community driven fairs worldwide is to show the new and exciting things people are doing, whether it be using new technology to create or just reviving a lost art. In doing this, you not only are able to spread your message and vision to more people, but those people can also become inspired and start their own creative journey to MAKERship. And the ideas people were pursuing were diverse. One booth was instructing people on how to create your own chainmail, another allowing passersby to play the coolest instrument, in my opinion, the steel drum. While I was talking to the kid who was working the chainmail booth, who had traveled all the way from Detroit, about why he got into Medieval armor, he simply said he had watched a youtube video and had become interested. This also brings up another great feature of the Maker Faire, as he was only in the 9th grade but was still allowed to participate, showing the Faire’s dedication to letting all showcase their passions.
Besides the sheer variety of the exhibits, another purpose of the faire, whether intended or not, is instilling in people the confidence that anyone can be creative. From the many DIY aspects of products to the interactive lessons on various activities, the welcoming atmosphere was able to show attendees just how easy it can be to make. In talking with a woman from another booth who was advertising a queer-oriented magazine, we hit a very important and misunderstood point; that, many times, people don’t try to do things that are risky or out of their comfort zone because they simply don’t think of themselves as creative, a term normally associated with painters or musicians. But as the Faire is able to show, there can be no limit to what you can make or do if you are passionate and embrace a project.
Overall, I would say that I had a great time exploring the Maker Faire and left with a heightened interest in being more open to creative things. The place seemed to have its own atmosphere, one of friendliness and invitation. Instead of booths just selling products, people were selling ideas, activities, and lifestyles, a more interactive experience that separates this event from any other I have been to.
Nathan Bindseil is a senior at Central Catholic High School and hopes to study journalism in college. He enjoys photography, ultimate frisbee, volleyball, and hanging out with friends his spare time. At school, he is an assistant editor of The Viking, a member of the National Honors Society, and the Outdoors Club.