MakerFaire in Pittsburgh: sharing the high touch of textiles

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Pittsburgh MakerFaire 2015!

This past weekend I spent at the inaugural Pittsburgh MakerFaire, which was over by the Children’s Museum.  I had a fabulous time demonstrating Wet Felted Hats.  <- I know not an exciting title, but nonetheless an exciting time!

There were all sorts of high-tech, futuristic goings ons having to do with 3D printing, robotics and drones. My kids loved it.

Some visitors dressed up.

Costumed Stars Wars Visitors at MakerFaire

 

There were dinosaurs that moved.

Life sized dinosaur made of cardboard at makerfaire

 

There was my talented and friendly booth neighbor, Adam King who caused lines of curious and scared visitors to snake past while he explained his craft and encouraged photography.
makerfaire - image of Adam King with his handcrafted masks.

 

And while I didn’t have massive crowds, I did have strong interest in my decidedly low tech, high touch activity.  There were those visitors who wondered if I worked with needles (needle felting). While other visitors wondered if I knitted and tossed it into the washing machine. Alas, I don’t know how to knit or crochet. Instead, I explained and showed the details of my kind of felting, wet felting. It was a bit like a cooking show when the chef shows the audience a cake’s ingredients, the sifting, the mixing and voila – a finished cake.  Only in felt.

For those curious, here were the steps which I demonstrated:

  1. Layout
  2. Prefelt
  3. Felting
  4. Fulling
  5. Almost Done, Rinse & Shape

Here’s a picture of my display. Interestingly, very few people read the steps which were posted on the right side of my display. Much more interaction with the actual samples which were laying on the table.

makerfaire booth display explaining wet felted hats

 

I even had folks try on hats. This witch hat proved the most popular.

makerfaire visitor trying on felted witch hat

 

Lastly, I was surprised but pleased to receive a blue ribbon award as someone who epitomized the Maker Spirit! Only remembered to have a photo after I had packed away most of the booth.

Blue ribbon awarded to FeltHappiness at MakerFaire

 

So many connections were made. My information cup has been replenished.  I had all sorts of conversations and questions, such as the possibility of felt being used to cover robots?  Or would I teach workshops?  Or speak at a bookstore?

I certainly want to participate in next year’s MakerFaire. There was something very special about sharing my felting love with such an appreciative audience.

 

Have you had the opportunity to demonstrate something you love?  Please, let me know. Comments are welcome!