Meet the Makers: Two Fairies and a Dwarf

2 fairies and dwarfWe’ve got some great hand crafters at Gulf Coast MakerCon this year, among them, Two Fairies and a Dwarf, specializing in handmade leather and yarn goods.  They tell us a little bit more about their work here.

GCMC: Who are you and what do you Make?celtic barette

TF&D: We are Two Fairies and A Dwarf: Candy Neuburger and Jackie Roberts and Henry Neuburger.  We make costuming leather pieces such as bracers, quivers, bags of all sizes, journals, holders for you mugs and drinking horns.  We make crocheted hats and sew tote bags.

 crochet viking helmetGCMC:  Why do you make it?

TF&D: We got tired of paying someone else to make our costumes and looked into how to do it ourselves.  We also got tired of the extravagant, over priced items that passed as quality work.  We try to keep our prices reasonable.

 GCMC: Will folks be able to do anything at your leather notebook coversbooth?

TF&D: Folks can come by and smell the rich scent of leather.  Let’s face it, we all LOVE the smell of leather.

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This is true.  Stop at smell the leather at the Two Fairies and a Dwarf booth at Gulf Coast MakerCon and check out all our great exhibitors on April 18th!

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Posted in Art, Costuming, Gulf Coast MakerCon, Gulf Coast Makers Festival, MakerCon, Makers, Makers Festival | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Meet the Maker: Elizabeth Baker, of The New Music Conflagration

Elizabeth BakerElizabeth Baker, a concert pianist and composer,  was at our very first Maker festival in 2012, performing as Suitcases of Sound.

The New Music Conflagration, Inc. is a non-profit corporation she founded to help further public awareness and perception of contemporary concert music through a variety of activities including: Music Education Workshops, a Chamber Music Series, Outreach Concerts, Online Publications as well as Physical and Digital Compilation Albums. Through the organization’s promotion of new music, they also work to help New Music Conflagrationdevelop their immediate community culturally through Instrumental Petting Zoos, Scholarships, and other interactive activities like their upcoming visit to Gulf Coast MakerCon.

In her guest piece below, Ms. Baker provides a thought provoking look at music in the culture of making, and the more enduring qualities of being a “maker” of anything. The maker movement is great for encouraging and inspiring people to try different things, to experiment with ideas, and to test and develop new skills. But in our haste to experiment and explore, she suggests, we sometimes overlook the focus and dedication it takes to become a master maker, and the joy and value that comes of developing that next level of expertise. Continue reading

Posted in Art, Education, Gulf Coast MakerCon, Gulf Coast Makers Festival, MakerCon, Makers, Makers Festival, Music | Tagged , , , , ,

Meet the Young Makers: Stewart Middle School Makerspace

maker portraitHeading up our Young Makers area is Diana Rendina, of Stewart Middle Magnet School, where she’s spent the last year developing the school’s library Makerspace and becoming the go-to expert in Tampa Bay and beyond, on all things school makerspace related.  We’re  very happy Diana is part of this year’s Gulf Coast MakerCon event.  She tells us more about her work and progress at Stewart Middle School here.

GCMC: Who are and what do you make?

DR: I’m Diana Rendina, and I’m the media specialist at Stewart Middle Magnet School in Makerspace in actionTampa, FL.  Over the last year, I have created a Makerspace in our library to give students an informal learning environment to explore STEM topics in a fun, relaxed way.  Students in our Makerspace can build, tinker and explore with a variety of materials.  They’ve built arcade games out of cardboard, trebuchets out of LEGOs and designed remote controlled cars with littleBits

GCMC: Why did you make it?

DR: I created this Makerspace because I wanted our library to play a part in the STEM theme of our school and because I saw the value in creating interactive, hands-on learning spaces for students.

GCMC: Why do you think it’s important and worth doing?

LEGO wall girlsDR: There’s so much focus on rigor and testing in our schools now, that little room is left for creativity.  I’m hoping to build a culture of creativity and discovery in our schools, one LEGO brick at a time.

GCMC: What are you bringing to Gulf Coast MakerCon?

DR: I’ll be bringing some of my students, who will share some of the projects they’ve made in our Makerspace.  We’ll have a lot of our Makerspace tools available for people to tinker with at our booth.  You might get to drive Sphero around the room, or make Playdoh into an electric circuit

GCMC: Will else will folks be able to do at your booth?

DR: In addition to tinkering with some of our tools, we plan to have a couple of make-and-take activities where you can make something to take home with you.  You can make your own personalized GulfCoastMakerCon button and hack a bookmark with paper circuits.

GCMC: Why should folks come out to a maker festival?

DR: Gulf Coast MakerCon is a great opportunity to meet amazing people who love to create things.  It’s a chance to see fantastic projects and try your hands at all sorts of cool activities.

GCMC: What’s so great about making stuff?

DR: Making stuff is awesome because it gives you the chance to personalize something and make it your own.  It gives you a sense of pride and confidence to know that you can create something that has value to you.

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Come check out the great work the students at Stewart Middle Magnet School are doing in their makerspace, and get inspired!

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Posted in Education, Gulf Coast MakerCon, Gulf Coast Makers Festival, MakerCon, Makers, Makers Festival, Makerspace, Young Makers | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Meet the Maker: John Hobbs, of Athletes Performance Gear

Athletes Performance GearAt Gulf Coast MakerCon, we have a strong focus on entrepreneurship, invention, craft and trades, and our Inventors Showcase will feature a number of locally developed products and ideas, among them Palm Harbor based Athletes Performance Gear’s new hydration system for athletes.

At GCMC, John Hobbs, founder of the company, will be letting be look at his product and provide feedback, and he will also be giving a workshop on raising capital for inventors and small business.  Here’s what John has to say about what he makes and why he makes it.

GCMC: Who are and what do you make?

JH: I’m the Founder of Athletes Performance Gear and we make a patented hydration system, active wear apparel & electrolytes. When we launch our Business Models assure many of our customers purchase all three.

GCMC: Tell us about your new product?

JH: Athletes Performance Gear’s balance water bottle system is designed to envelope bottle without straphands, resting on top of the hand, requiring virtually no effort to hold. We also have an alterative strap for though that prefer it so the bottle require no effort of hold.

It has a trigger & valve system. To drink you simply use the trigger that opens a value then drink. It’s that simple and easy. They are used one in each at the same time, encouraging proper posture and form, helping you build a better body.

They only weigh 19oz when full and 4ozs empty, they never become a burden to use. They hold 15ozs each helping you maintain proper hydration for hours. They are designed to add weight attachment to build stronger arms and shoulder while increasing the calories you burn. They are designed to add flashlight with strobe for safety at night.

GCMC: What else do you make?

375JH: APG has an active wear appeal line so our customers “Have the Look™” when using APG™ bottles. APG has one of the best electrolytes on the market giving your body what it needs to help maintain peak performance from start to finish.

GCMC: Why do you make it? What problem are you addressing?

JH: Most runners and walkers start to become dehydrated in 15 minutes but do not start feeling the negative effects till 45 minutes. All the products on the market that offer a solution negatively effect a runners rhythm and stride while may cause injuries.

GCMC: Why do you think what you make is important?

JH: APG’s products combined has a cumulative beneficial effect on our customers. With our electrolytes and bottles, runners and walkers stay properly hydrated so they feel better before and during their workout, Build a Better Body(TM) because our balanced hydration system encourages proper form and posture, recover quicker due to less lactic acid build up loss weight quick due to proper fluid consumption during their workout and workout more often because the feel better so they reach their fitness goals fast. The customers that wear our active wear apparel will receive added benefit of visual appeal because they Have the Look(TM) the is stylish and sought after.

GCMC: What are you bringing to Gulf Coast MakerCon?

JH: Prototypes of the bottles and questionnaires

GCMC: Will folks be able to do anything at your booth?

JH: They will be able to try a bottle on and give feedback.

GCMC: Why should folks come out to a maker festival?

JH: To see a lot of cool and exciting product coming to market soon! If they are raising capital they should come for my presentation.

GCMC: What’s so great about making stuff?

JH: Creating something that contributes to the wellbeing of a group of people is an awesome thing to do and it feels great!!

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Come check out Athletes Performance Gear’s hydration system and get some tips on raising capital for your next project, at Gulf Coast MakerCon on April 18th!

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Posted in Entrepreneurship, Gulf Coast MakerCon, Gulf Coast Makers Festival, inventors, MakerCon, Makers, Makers Festival | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Meet the Maker: Mike Benjamin, of Ingocraft

Ingocraft tools for maker kids

We’re excited about the wide range of exhibitors we have this year, including the diversity of inventors and product developers.  Among our commercial makers this year is Ingocraft, which calls its product line “Modern Tools for Maker Kids.”  We like that they consider their product a tool as much as a toy. We also like that it’s a locally produced product, made in Sarasota. We also like that “Maker Kids” is now a demographic!

Mike Benjamin tells us more about his company and what they’ll be sharing at Gulf Coast MakerCon 2015.

GCMC: Who are and what do you make?

MB: We are Ingocraft, a team of educators and makers who have developed a 3D printable printingboltsconstruction set and 3D design app for kids.

GCMC: Why do you make it?

MB: The next generation will bring in 3D printing and the maker movement, so we want to make these modern “adult” maker technologies accessible to kids too.

6GCMC: Why do you think what you do is important and worth doing?

MB: 3D printing gets a bad rep because there still aren’t that many things that you can 3D print that won’t just sit on your desk forever. Our construction set is always changing, growing, expanding, and can be remixed by the community. While it is still a toy, its an active toy that engages kids with modern maker thinking and technology.

GCMC: What are you bringing to Gulf Coast MakerCon?

MB: 2 3D printers, the ingocraft design app (as a kiosk), and lots of ingocraft kits 9(construction set)

GCMC: Will folks be able to do anything at your booth?

MB: Watch 3D printers, play with the construction set, try out the app.

GCMC: Why should folks come out to a maker festival?

MB: To see how accessible modern making and new technology can be to all of us.

GCMC: What’s so great about making stuff?

MB: It’s empowering (especially for kids) to bring something to reality with their own hands and intentions.

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Come be empowered by Ingocraft and all our great exhibitors on April 18th at the Florida Fairgounds!

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Posted in 3d printing, Education, Gulf Coast MakerCon, Gulf Coast Makers Festival, inventors, MakerCon, Young Makers | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Meet the Young Makers of Oak Grove Middle School!

Oak Grove Middle School

Educator Kyle Wright brings his great students from Oak Grove Middle School in Pinellas County,  to Gulf Coast MakerCon this year.  Long successful with their FIRST LEGO League program, Oak Grove is expanding their project based learning to include more maker-style programming.  With a little help from his students, Kyle told us more about what Oak Grove students are doing and what they’re bringing to Gulf Coast MakerCon 2015.

GCMC: Who are and what do you make? 

OGMS: We are some kids from Oak Grove Middle School that happen to take one of the classes that meets in the tech lab.  We aren’t really sure what you call the class but it’s fun.  The teacher is a bit crazy but he somehow gets really cool toys for us to play with.  We have more Legos then imaginable, a couple of new 3D printers, and rumors of a wood shop coming next year.  Every kid gets his own computer and we just started working with 3D design.

GCMC: Why do you make it? 

OGMS: It’s fun.  The things we make in class are better than any test we have ever passed and it’s usually too cool to leave hanging on the refrigerator.

GCMC: Why do you think it’s important or worth doing?

OGMS:  Kids have an amazing sense of imagination.  They also have a variety of skills that aren’t appreciated in traditional classrooms.  Putting these together with a little bit of freedom let’s them create/do what they want.  As the excitement grows and the effort progresses, core subject concepts start coming into play more.  Then, they start to see the big picture.  Not all of them do, but I have seen more lights come on teaching an elective than I ever did teaching US History.

GCMC: What are you bringing to Gulf Coast MakerCon?

OGMS: We should have some robots ready for an upcoming competition.  Hopefully they will be working.

We should have some robots ready for an upcoming competition.  Hopefully they will be working.  We also made a table of some sort that our teacher found along the side of the road.  We did some drawings, took some measurements, scaled the views on some CAD software and then got some 2×4’s and made replicas.  Watching some of these kids using a hammer for the first time was really fun.

GCMC: Will folks be able to do anything at your booth? 

OGMS: We might try to bring some laptops and let some people mess around with some of the software we use if they are interested.  If we have some Sumo Bots ready for fighting by then we will bring them.  If we can keep the students from leaving to look at all the other cool stuff, you can talk to them.  Whatever you do, don’t sit on the tables we made.  Trust me, this is more for your safety than anything.

GCMC: Why should folks come out to a maker festival?

OGMS: You will see at least one thing you never imagined or thought of and be inspired to believe in possibilities and people.

GCMC: What’s so great about making stuff? 

OGMS: When a project is finished and things finally came together as planed, an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction exists.  There really isn’t any other way to get this besides creating.  Knowing that this “thing” was made by you really adds that personal touch of appreciation.  This is why we love to share it with others.

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We’re glad you and the students of Oak Grove Middle School are sharing what they make with us at Gulf Coast MakerCon! Come out and see them and all our other great Young Makers on April 18th in our Young Makers Corner and see our future in action!

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Posted in 3d printing, Education, Gulf Coast MakerCon, Gulf Coast Makers Festival, MakerCon, Makers, Young Makers | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Meet the Maker: Victoria Deering, of Frenzy Beading

fb logoVictoria Deering brings her love of mixed media and jewelry design to Gulf Coast MakerCon 2015 with her company, Frenzy Beading.  She took some time to tell us a bit about her work, how she got started,  and what she’s bringing to Gulf Coast MakerCon.

GCMC: Who are and what do you make?

VD: I am a certified jewelry Instructor who makes and designs handcrafted jewelry and also DIY projects with Mixed Media. I started making jewelry roughly 13 years ago by simply helping a friend and her daughter make friendship bracelets. It was “entertaining” but I never thought where that would lead to. One day soon after that, I went to an craft dog collarstore and noticed a “make your own” bracelet kit on sale so I bought it. It was fairly easy to make so a week later, I bought a necklace kit. I then invested in some tools and today, I am a mad woman in her studio working away making the most basic pair of earrings to hammering metal and trying to come up with different ways of creating something fun to wear.

GCMC: Why do you make it?

VD: It is a form of release for me to relax and bring out my creative side. It keeps everything balanced for me and find it to be very relaxing. Some people enjoy reading a book, I enjoy learning new techniques and teaching others how to get their creative juices flowing.

GCMC: Why do you think it’s important or worth doing?

kiwi-jasper-double-wrap-leather-bracelet-22VD: Teaching is great when teaching to those who couldn’t think they could do it. Seeing their expressions on a piece they made on their own is a great reward to me. When I teach someone to make something and they see the end result of what “they” did, I see that sense of accomplishment on their face, proudness and they are eager to take it home to show it to their family and friends. To see that, is satisfaction to me. I love helping others learn, create as well myself learning from others as well.

GCMC: What are you bringing to Gulf Coast MakerCon?

VD: I am bringing some of my handmade jewelry pieces as well as some of my DIY projects/canvas of mixed media, fairies, Tree of Life sun catchers and some of my DIY grape copper earringshandmade jewelry displays.

I will also be providing on the spot jewelry repair, adjustments etc.. So, if you or anyone you know have any pieces of jewelry that needs repairs or maybe you want to salvage a piece but perhaps want to change the style of it, just bring it over and let me take a look at it.

Also with the school year coming to an end, I do custom orders for homecoming/prom so if you have a dress and need matching jewelry pieces to go with it, let’s talk. Bring a pic of the dress or a picture of a type of design you would like and we can see what I can get worked out for you. I am looking forward to see all the creative people out there and making new friends/colleagues and networking.

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Discounted Early Bird Tickets are on sale through March 31,  to see Victoria’s great work and all our other makers.  Get yours today, and bring that jewelry that needs repair when you come!

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Posted in Art, DIY, Entrepreneurship, Gulf Coast MakerCon, Gulf Coast Makers Festival, jewelry, MakerCon, Makers, Makers Festival | Tagged , , , , ,