Thursday, 17 December 2015

Adelaide Mini Maker Faire 2015

The coloured badge given to all attendees featuring the Adelaide Mini Maker Faire Logo
On the first of November I went to the Adelaide Mini Maker Faire.  It is all about 'makers' and 'making'. The first 'Maker Faires' were held in 2006 in the USA to promote the 'Maker Movement'. It sounds to me like fancy words to give a modern label to the old DIY (do-it-yourself) and home-made trends (some call them 'granny skills) which are experiencing a resurgence.

It's the second Mini Maker Faire to be held in Adelaide (the first was in 2013) but the first one for me and I have some photos to share.

Under the roof of the building is parked a commuter bus decked out as a clothing shop.
The former Main Assembly Building (a.k.a. MAB)
housed the Mini Maker Faire. Dulcie's bus gives
a sense of the building's scale. 
In a former life, this bus provided public transport
to the people of Adelaide. These days it services
Adelaideans in a different way, as a popular
travelling vintage-clothing shop with
proceeds going to charity.
This year's Mini Maker Faire was held at Tonsley on the site of the former Mitsubishi automotive manufacturing plant (formerly Chrysler Australia) which is huge! 

There is plenty of room to share all sorts of 'making' from the latest in technology to traditional handcrafts and home-made produce.  

The variety of demonstrations, lectures and things to do, see and buy provided something for everyone, children and adults alike.
The robot has wheels at the base with red robot arms that moved. The screen is at the top and has graphic images of cartoon eyes to emulate a face.  The arms move to give directions and the robot 'talks'.
A robot to welcome us!

Naturally, I focussed on the craftier side of things, but there were so many interesting things–too many to get a photo of everything, so if you want to know more, just head along to the Mini Maker Faire's web page or, better still, go and have a look for yourself next time.

The weather put on a perfect spring day which brought everyone out so it was a social occasion as well as an exposition. Over 5000 people attended. I spent a lot longer at the fair than originally planned!

A row of electric vehicles on display including a solar taxi.
Technological developments are part of 'making'. 
Lots of new technology was on display including electric vehicles.
Under a sklight roof, a garden of trees is bordered by bench seating and a bar with bar stools.
The MAB has been totally redesigned with
environmental sustainability in mind for
this particular site. 
The plantings and gardens are integral
parts of the climate control system.

The site was divided into different sections:

Vehicle View
Innovation Boulevarde
Technology Way
Maker Lane
Creative Court; and 
Artisan Avenue.

The adjacent campuses of Flinders University and Tonsley TAFE also provided displays, activities and lectures.

A Maker Faire crew member in red talks to a person dressed in traditional Japanese armour.
A Samurai whose armour won an award
for 'best use of materials'
It is made of recycled and repurposed materials
by Terry Izatt.
You never know who you will meet at these events …

A dalek with blue details is interacting with members of the public, including children, teenagers and parents.
A local Dalek interacting with the public.
The stand for the Australian Dalek Builders' Union. Two daleks can be seen, a blue and a yellow together with visitors around the stand.
There were at least three Daleks at the fair thanks to the Dalek Builders' Union.

Three girls one with a peaked cap and two wearing hand-made fluffy cat ears.
Headwear is all the rage with the younger set.
Hand-made fluffy ears were THE must-have accessory at the Mini Maker Faire.
One had to be quick—they were sold out before lunch!

One of the ways in which the Mini Maker Faire distinguishes itself from the usual craft market is its focus on sharing knowledge.  Many artisans and craftspeople were not only selling goods and displaying their products but also demonstrating how to make them or talking about their design processes.

Candida Virgo of Candide Soaps was demonstrating and explaining her soap-making process.  I am very interested in such things because my autoimmune problems leave me very sensitive to many ingredients found in modern toiletries.

Candida and her helper. In front are her products and ingredients on display.
Soapmaker Candida from 'Candide Bath and Body'
with her young helper
at the end of a very long and busy day.
Based in the north-eastern suburbs of Adelaide, Candida  travelled a fair distance across town to be at this event at Tonsley (in the southern suburbs) and brought a lot of materials with her to be able to make her soaps on site so we can learn.  

By the time I got to her display (the Tonsley site is enormous) it was nearing the end of the day.  I can't imagine what a very long day (and weekend) it must be for the exhibitors.

Despite obvious tiredness, Candida remained friendly and upbeat about her craft. She had sold most of the soaps she had brought along and was apologetic for not bringing more with her to present a larger choice to me!  Candida told me she wasn't expecting to sell so many as the focus was mainly on demonstrating and teaching.

It didn't matter. She had the kinds of soaps that I, and every second person who came along, was seeking—a gentle soap that would not cause a reaction or exacerbate an existing skin problem.

My autoimmune issues cause problems for my skin.  I have battled various forms of eczema or dermatitis throughout my life.  It takes daily maintenance to control.

Two soaps displayed on a scalloped dish on my bathroom benchtop. A tap can be seen in the top left corner.
Candide Bath and Body soaps make
a pretty display in my bathroom.
Front: Pure Olive Oil aged 6 months
Back: Pure Goat's Milk Soap

Candida offered her olive oil soap and goat's milk soap.  Olive oil and goat's milk soaps have been successful for me in the past so I am eager to try Candida's product. She endeavours to use local and organic products where possible and natural ingredients. Her most requested products are those with no fragrance and no colour.

The soapmaking process is fascinating.  Did you know that it is a bit like cheese in that it needs to be aged? The character of the soap changes according to the duration of the ageing process.

I haven't got around to using Candida's soaps yet as I my current one is not finished but if they work for me, I will let you know!  In the meantime, I am enjoying the pretty display in my bathroom.

…  and now for some yarny goodness!

HandmadeByBlueButton stall with Kelly sitting behind a table smiling at the camera.  Items are displayed on the table and on racks either side.
Kelly Hickman of Handmade By Blue Button

Kelly Hickman of Handmade By Blue Button is a new exhibitor, based south of Adelaide. She knits baby gifts and other items to order. Kelly's attractive, colourful display was a highlight—so many beautiful items to 'ooh and aah' over (so cute!): mobiles, cocoons, photo props, baby hats with matching pilchers and some prize-winning ribbons to match her fine work.  

An above view of a pair of knitted green baby shoes made by Kelly Hickman. The label is still attached. Each shoe has a wooden button in the shape of a teddy bear. The shoes are stuffed with white cotton wool to keep their shape.
One of myriad pairs of baby shoes
lovingly knitted by Kelly Hickman
(Handmade By Blue Button)
How surprised was I to learn that this was Kelly's first time as a stallholder anywhere (even though she has been selling her goods for some time already).   Local talent deserves local support and a new baby in my neighbourhood needed a little welcome gift. 

I was proud to be Kelly's very first customer at the Mini Maker Faire with a purchase from her large assortment of baby shoes. It is such a pleasure to do business with her because she was so friendly and cheerful with a professional attitude even though she works from home to combine crafting and child-rearing.

Nearby, I met Jan and Suzy, a pair of lifelong friends and passionate spinners, happily showing people how to spin fleece into yarn.

In the foreground is a basket of raw fleece and a spinning wheel behind it.  On the left, Jan is wearing a red t-shirt as she sits spinning while she chats to a gentleman on the right who is sitting on a wheelie walker.
Jan chatting as she spins.

All sorts of knitted, woven and crocheted items were on display along with samples of raw fleece and spun yarn.

One of the items included a tricot blanket made by Suzy's mother (sadly now deceased) which fascinated everyone including Jan and Suzy who, unable to ask the creator directly, were finding it difficult to surely identify it as either knitting or crochet.

A white woollen throw rug made using tricot techniques. It is created in vertical strips and joined by lace work.  The tricot stripes have either a raised shell pattern or a diamond relief pattern amongst bobbles.  The blanket is edged with a double fringed tassels.
A vintage tricot throw rug
(Tunisian crochet)
They were intrigued with the double-sided nature of the rug which had prominent textured features on the front and yet the wrong side remained plain with a relatively flat, solid pattern of purl-like bumps. 

Jan and Suzy were happy when I confirmed that Suzy's mother used a specialist crochet technique called 'tricot' (also known as 'Tunisian crochet' in the USA and other parts of the world) which, for the uninitiated, looks a bit like regular crochet and a bit like knitting as it has similarities to the two better known crafts.

I like to describe tricot as the place where knitting and crochet meet.  I have seen a lot of plain tricot in my time but this rug was amazing.  It was a highlight of my day to be able to have a close look at this beautifully crafted vintage rug.

Suzy is standing up in front of her stall's display, holding her drop spindle by the yarn while the spindle spins near her ankles in front of her.
Suzy shows how to use a drop spindle.
Suzy and Jan may not have known about tricot but they knew a lot about spinning.

I was very privileged to have an informal lesson with Suzy about how to use a drop spindle.  

I do own a drop spindle but have never used it because I couldn't remember how to get started!

Suzy explained the process very well and even let me have a go!

Suzy and Jan were so friendly and generous with their time and knowledge. It was an absolute pleasure to meet them. 

Two bamboo tricot hooks. Top: a double ended crochet hook.  Bottom: a specialist tricot hook.
A couple of tricot hooks


It was great to see a superb example of tricot but I was disappointed that crochet did not have any representation (apart from one crocheted shawl on Jan and Suzy's display) even though crochet is now experiencing a wave of popularity.   

During the planning stages of the Mini Maker Faire I toyed with the idea of organising a crochet display but when the call came, I was not in a position to take up the opportunity. Now that it is plain to see that there is a gap to be filled,  maybe I could do it?  I can certainly demonstrate how to do tricot and lots of crochet techniques, but would the body be able to cope with the demands of such an event?  Sadly, this is more unpredictable than the weather.  I would need extra physical support but, maybe, calling in friends, we might be able to put something together. What do you reckon?

Even the craft of felting got a 'look-in'. The 'Felting Frenzy' stand generated a lot of interest.  I could not even get close to see what was going on there because of the crowd that had gathered–aptly named!


From new friends to familiar faces

Down Artisan Avenue, one could find tin smithing, artwork, millinery, jewellery-making, rope mats and various computing and radio interest groups (and more).  

Kylie is sitting at the right of her table which displays various items that she has made. At the back is a half mannequin wearing a bustier top, a display head wearing a crocheted hat, drink covers, bags and various materials are laid out on the table.  The signs at the front say "18" and "Cost The Earth"  (the number and name of the stall).
Kylie of A Bag and a Hat
not only dyes her own yarn
but uses materials that others
throw away to reduce waste
and help the environment.
Hackerspace Adelaide had a large display involving electronics and computing and also hosted a soldering workshop. If you like tinkering, you can have a lot of fun at Hackerspace.

You might recognise one of their members, Kylie Willison of A Bag and a Hat, who had her own display of the non-orthodox materials that can be utilised for crochet. 

Kylie recycles waste materials and gives them new life with her crochet hooks.  She has made bags, bottle holders, decorative pieces and hats and garments. Materials include bread tags, ring-pull tabs, audiocassette and videotape, wire, electrical cables and 'e-waste'.  She also saves money and the environment by doing the traditional ripping back of old jumpers to source yarn for her projects.

'Hot air balloons' crafted from Christmas baubles and paper and string, and dirigibles made of folded paper and other craft embellishments.
Unique Christmas bauble balloons
and folded paper airships.
I remember having the instructions
to make an airship like that
when I was a child.
It's somehow comforting to know
that these old skills may not be lost
to the digital age after all.
Is that called 'nostalgia'?
How about some Cosplay?

We saw daleks, samurais and furry ears which were a small part of the support for those interested in costumery and dramatic arts.

Superb and stylish millinery from Blakesby Hats complemented the steampunk accessories created by (a former work colleague of mine) Jodie Shoobridge of Priscilla's Emporium

Marshall Tearle shared his interest in movies and special effects with animatronics, models and prop-making and the art and technology behind it.  He too won an award for 'best blend of technology and creativity'. Nearby, the Adelaide College of the Arts showcased the set design skills of its students.

Arts, crafts and activities for everyone ...

The Mini Maker Faire was not one of those expos solely aimed at adults. Everyone could get involved. Participation was encouraged. There were as many things to do as there were to see.

A large table similar to a table tennis table is covered with lego bricks and surrounded by children and adults who are playing with them.
Lego building table hosted by Southern Bricks Lego User Group (LUG)

A giant portrait of Audrey Hepburn made of lego bricks.  It is taller than a person.
This magnificent work of art is created entirely of Lego
by Tim of the Southern Bricks LUG.
It took approximately 3 months to make from concept to creation.
Would you like this stylish image on your wall?
Lego versions start at AU$10,000.

People of all ages are using hoops, ribbons and other play equipment that fosters movement.
Lolly Jar Circus Inc. provided healthy, active play opportunities for young visitors and their parents too!
Handily (or stragetically) positioned next to a coffee shop.

Four university students have their robots lined up on a table in front of them.
Robotics Challenge contestants share their designs.
The competition was hosted by Flinders University.

A vortex machine is poised upon a tripod.  It looks like a giant camera lens with a hole in the centre but it is created with a plastic bucket!  The operator is aiming the barrel to shoot a burst of air.
This vortex will blow your fluffy ears off!
(Hackerspace Adelaide)
There was so much going on at the Adelaide Mini Maker Faire that I would have liked a couple of days to sample all of its offerings. So much more science, computing, robotics, building and technology with hands-on activities and lots of learning and discoveries.
A parent helps a child hold the mallet to hit the diaphragm of the smoke cannon.
The smoke cannon was a big hit!
Hit the diaphragm to create
giant smoke rings in the air.

At the Adelaide Mini Maker Faire I found 'making' (both high- and low-tech), art, creativity, play, science, computing, ideas and innovation, products and participation, community groups and collaboration with a clear emphasis on sustainable living. 

It was an awesome experience to see the fabulous talent that exists in 'my own backyard'

It was a huge day, leaving me quite exhausted (which is why it has taken so long to post about it) but totally worth the experience.  I will certainly do it again next time!

Two outdoor chairs with lawn covered cushions. The legs are painted white with black spots like cowhide.
What a big day!  Have a rest on these 'lawn chairs'!

References & Links

Adelaide College of the Arts:

Adelaide Mini Maker Faire logo as a line drawing on the front cover of the event programme

Adelaide Mini Maker Faire:

Blakesby Hats:

Two hand-made soaps: olive oil (top) and goat's milk (bottom)

Candide Soaps, "wedding favours, personalised gifts, natural ingredients":  

Dalek Builders' Union:

Deloitte Australian Centre for the Edge,  Product Innovation in a Hyper Connected World: The Australian Maker Movement, report, Deloitte Digital, <>, PDF document:

Dulcie's Bus, mobile op-shop, "a shop of real opportunity":

Felting Frenzy:

Flinders University:

Hackerspace Adelaide:

    A pair of  green knitted baby shoes, each with a wooden teddy-bear-shaped button.

    Handmade by Blue Button, "unique and hand crafted bespoke gifts for babies":

    Jackson, Rob, "Five Lessons from Volunteering", blog post, Third Sector, 24 November 2015:
    Rob Jackson blogs about his positive volunteering experience at the 2015 Adelaide Mini Maker Faire which was organised by a committee of volunteers. Rob Jackson identifies five things that can be applied to all volunteer organisations and asks how the learning can be transferred to one's 'day job' and/or other areas in life.

    Lolly Jar Circus Inc.:

    Marshall Tearle's Animatronics, Models and Props:

    Priscilla's Emporium:
    Southern Bricks Lego Users Group:

    Terry Izatt, 'The Beauty in Recycling':

    Tonsley development:

    Rainbow stripes of simple tricot stitches except for blue which are purl tricot stitches.
    Example of
    tricot stitches:
    simple stitch
    and purl.

    Tricot / Tunisian crochet has also been called 'shepherd's knitting', 'Scottish knitting', 'tricot ecossaise', 'idiot stitch', 'afghan stitch', 'afghan crochet' and 'railway knitting'!
    Here are some resources:

    Willison, Kylie:

    Related Posts on Lupey Loops

    "Lupey Loops at Maker Faire Adelaide 2016", 1 December 2016:


    1. Wow Jodie, just so much to look at even in your post, it must have been exhausting being there all day. Having a crochet stall sounds great if you can get the support, the trouble with us 'loopy' lot is the unpredictability of it! I shall be looking out for some spinning posts now ;-) Oh yes, and a few about soap making too. take care and have a great Christmas if I don't speak to again before. xx

      1. You got it in one, Sharon,(about the exhaustion and the stall) but it was so worth it! I enjoyed chatting with people very much and had a lot of fun at the Faire.
        Friends and family have been encouraging me to sell my crochet... I have had a few occasional sales here and there without even trying. (Customers approaching me - not me chasing them!) After crocheting all sorts of items for over 10 years and having skills in a wide range of crochet techniques (including tricot) I recognised that some of my skills are not common knowledge in my town and there is a niche willing to be filled. That's what got me thinking... ;-)
        I'm glad this post has sparked your creative imagination some more (not that it needed sparking really - you are so 'multi-craftual') and may your Christmas be happy and bright. xxx

    2. Looks as though it was really interesting! Happy Christmas! xx

      1. It truly was Amy! I hope there is a similar event near you someday soon. Perhaps you could contribute. I can tell by your beautiful mantel displays that you love the Christmas season. May it be a wondrous and peaceful time for you. Thank you for being so supportive of Lupey Loops all year. See you in 2016 if not before. xxx

    3. Thanks for the shout out Jodie it was an awesome day wasn't it!

      1. Awesome is the word, Kylie! How did you survive the massive day? I hope you were not too exhausted the next day. Did you manage to get out and about to see some of the other exhibits? It was great to hear people giving your exhibit praise and excellent feedback. You can be proud of a job well done. A good way to end the year. Thanks for your support of my blogging endeavours and for allowing me to share your amazing projects on Lupey Loops. Wishing you a merry Christmas and everything good in 2016. xxx

    4. Oo-ah Jodie I'll have to make a note of this market in my diary. I'd love to see your wares and learn some techniques from you if you manage to have a stall next year

      1. It's not exactly a market but more of a giant "Show and Tell" but you can buy products from various exhibitors if they have products to sell. My problem is having enough of things to sell. What sort of crocheted items would you be interested in buying? Is there something you've been looking for and haven't found locally? Thank you for your vote of confidence, Ilka. I would really like to have a go because I so enjoyed meeting and chatting with people.