Running my first Maker Faire was a grand experiment. I went in with a ton of clothing and fabric and a thread bare plan. Fortunately, Jamie was there on Friday’s load-in to help plan something a little better than “Oh, just make stuff, I guess”.
On her suggestion we went to the Last-stop-before-Africa-store, aka Goodwill Outlet where you buy stuff by the pound. We got 33 pounds of t-shirts which I took home and washed and dried. The plan was to make easy stuff like bags, vests and other easy items. Easy and fast being the key words here. I had four machines and my old Singer didn’t make it to the opening on the first day. Saturday was really fun. Sunday I was on my own. I kept my head down for much of the morning, just hand sewing things and happy with just a few people coming to the tables. Paula came by and relieved me for a bit so that I could walk around and get to see all the fun things going on. Things picked up and that’s when things really started to get interesting for me.
Unfortunately, I did not get any photos, and I’m quite sad about that, especially on Sunday. There were these girls that stopped by the booth that were really fantastic and surprise, surprise I learned something! These girls came in with all their exciting, bubbly youth and experimentation with them. They wanted to make stuff and were not beholden to the rules, or patterns or years of experience. They didn’t care if you had to make a button hole in order to have a button, they just made a slit and boom a button hole. No pattern? We’ll just cut it based on what is in our heads. What if I did this? What will happen? Let’s try it and see! I was watching and listening to these girls, giving my suggestions which seemed really rule driven and rigid. I said the word “CAN’T” more times than I want to recall. At some point I just let them go be maker’s and shut the hell up.
Towards the end of the day on Sunday one little 8 year old girl came up and wanted me to make a dress for her teddy bear. I asked did she have the bear; no. Did she know her measurements (seriously??). No. “Well, I really can’t make a dress for something I can’t see or know how big it is”. So, she made a pattern for it, and cut it out and I sewed it together. She proceeded to make a rosette out of a wad of elastic and hot glued it to the dress. She had all these amazing ideas. We spent about 45 minutes doing this. And, in the end she was very happy with her creation for her bear (although she did say it would be the “uncomfortable dress”) and couldn’t wait to give it to Tessy.
After this whirlwind of crazy energy I thought of the quote by Shunryu Suzuki
In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.
It really is inspiring to see young minds work with the idea that anything is possible. It also gives me hope in my future experiences as a seamstress and as an individual to let go and create, create without any rules and see where it all takes me. My first Maker’s Faire was indeed a grand experiment but a successful one at that.
Thanks to Karen for thinking of the Denver Sewing Collective for this year’s Maker’s Faire and to Jeff for the use of the sewing machine.
And, to those amazing girls who taught an old dog a new trick! Best thing EVER!