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Making It Sustainable

by Teri Sperry

One of the most exciting new features of this year’s Austin Mini Maker Faire, and one I’m especially proud to be involved in, is the Sustainable Village.  Sponsored by the visionary and award-winning Texas Disposal Systems, this group of Eco-Makers takes the DIY mindset to another level, showing us clever, fun, and responsible ways to build and grow, recycle and upcycle, generate and regenerate.

eastside garden cart

You’ll find the Sustainable Village under the huge west canopy of the Palmer Events Center.  Beyond the ingeniously engineered electric cars, you’ll encounter wearable solar generators, a solar tracker made from a boy’s BMX bike, “practical and impractical” bikes made from scrap frames and recycled parts, innovative compost solutions, and a neighborhood’s own mobile gardening toolshed.   You’re invited to roll up your sleeves and learn to build and plaster an adobe-like wall of Compressed Earth Blocks.  And be sure to catch the presentation on Austin’s first food forest (inside on the speaker’s stage at 11:20).

microbial earth

Kids of all ages will have a chance to  model geodesic domes, build miniature windmills, and more.  You’ll also find out about local after-school and summer camp programs that teach kids about green technology, permaculture, and sustainable farming.

Just what do we mean by “sustainable”?  While there’s no universally agreed-upon definition, a common theme is interconnectedness. My favorite summary goes like this: “Sustainable communities foster commitment to place, promote vitality, build resilience to stress, act as stewards, and forge connections beyond the community.”

That’s exactly what we aim to do at the Austin Mini Maker Faire on May 5— and far into the future.  As event producer Kami Wilt explains,  “We envision the Faire as an opportunity for great minds and Makers to cross-pollinate, injecting sustainable thinking and methods into other kinds of projects and also, of course, exciting and educating the public about the possibilities of sustainable living in fun and hands-on ways.”

Join us at the Faire, stop by the Village, maybe get your hands a little dirty, and help Make It Sustainable!

solar generator

Meet the Makers: part Five!

The Fifth and Final installment in the Meet the Makers series created for Austin Mini Maker Faire 2013 for the most excellent filmmakers, Troy Lanier and Danny Cameron.

Introducing… Lisa Chouinard of Feto Soap!   You WILL see her at the Faire, your kids (or you!) WILL want to make a piece of customized soap (choose the color, scent, and toy to go inside!)… such a fantastic activity that everyone loves!

Meet the Makers: part Four!

Part Four of our Meet the Makers series by filmmakers Troy Lanier and Danny Cameron… an awesome motor boat Made by Young Maker Bodhi! Come meet Bodhi and other young Makers at the Faire on May 5.

Meet the Makers part three!

Another installation in the 5 part series by filmmakers Troy Lanier and Danny Cameron.

Melissa Knight will be in the Mega Clothing Swap and Chop section collaborating with Faire-goers on a fabric collage using fabric from the swap. Then she’ll be giving it away via lottery at the end of the day… so cool!

Meet the Makers: Pony Trap!

Pony Trap: Viola, Cello, and Robotic Percussion from Austin Mini Maker Faire on Vimeo.

Thanks to filmmakers Troy Lanier and Danny Cameron for this amazing video!  Check out Pony Trap and much much more at the Faire on May 5!

Austin Bike Zoo will be premiering their newest creation at Austin Mini Maker Faire 2013!

Meet the Makers: short film series

Check out the first of five Meet the Maker shorts that were created for us by filmmakers Troy Lanier and Danny Cameron!

Is it a time machine? A MIDI controller? An art sculpture? Yes! We just call it awesome. The Type 40 Mark III console is an interactive sound sculpture. The console surface is covered interactive controls that trigger samples, loops, and other sounds. You can also modify tempo, tone, pitch, and apply different sound filters. We invite you to explore and play – create your own dynamic soundscape!


YES!  We will have lots and lots of legos.  Whew!  You were worried about that, weren’t you.

Texas Brick Railroad will have lots of amazing creations on display which  combine their love for legos and model railroads, and a play area, too.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Learn how to make custom LEGO based minifigures with Jared Burks of .  A huge amount of his customized LEGO minifigs will also be on display.  



And come play with legos, programming, and robotics with LegoWeDo and Scratch: Playful Robotics.  


lego WeDo




Woo Hoo! New sponsor New Bohemia!

We’re so thrilled to announce that New Bohemia, the famous and funky SoCo vintage clothing store, is supporting our Faire at the Special Event sponsorship level!    new bohemia 2

This is homegrown Austin business that supports it’s community and really gives back… we love you New Bohemia!

And they’re giving us much more than just financial backing… they’ll also be donating tons of clothes and fabric to our amazing Mega Swap and Chop that will be taking place in one hefty corner of our Faire.  In the second of our Meet the Makers series we are doing on Sundays at the Austin Children’s Museum, Bernadette Noll, our Swap coordinator, offered up a taste of the huge amount of crafts and projects that are going to be available.  These are cool denim crowns (denim donated by New Bohemia) that kids had a blast making and customizing.


Mega Clothes Swap (and Clothes-hacking) at the Faire!

By Bernadette Noll (of Future Craft Collective and Slow Family Living), AMMF core crafter lead.iphone december 2012 624

With just over a month until the 2nd annual Austin Mini Maker Faire, we are gearing up big time to get everything in order.  This year I am in charge of the Mega Clothes Swap and I am super excited about it!  Since my initial Maker Faire exposure over 5 years ago I have been running a version of the clothes swap at my kids’ school at Zilker elementary along with many able and willing volunteers.  If you’ve been you know how amazing it is.  And for the Maker Faire swap, we’re taking the clothes swap to a whole ‘nuther level.

While we will still be taking clothes of all varieties, and we will still be encouraging people to find garments they like, the Maker Faire swap will also be focusing on textile crafts that will utilize the giant piles of garments that accumulate.

We will need LOTS of VOLUNTEERS to help the swap run smoothly and remember, when you volunteer as swap runner, you get first dibs on the garments!  Lucky.

If you have a PROJECT you’d like to do, we are definitely looking for more ideas to make things with the mountains of garments that will surely come our way.

We will have all sorts of projects, some of which are still to be decided and others which are already in the preparation stages.  Some of the amazing crafts going on will be t-shirt bags, fabric collage, yarn from t-shirts, a community weaving project, screen-printing, appliques, crowns, and so much more!

If you’re coming to the Faire, be sure to bring your CLEAN clothes to add to the piles.  We are especially seeking T-SHIRTS and especially in lots of great colors.  Of course for the bags, we’ll use them all, but for the yarn, we’d love colors.

We are also seeking 100% WOOL garments in all stages of disrepair.  If you can get those to me ahead of time, email me at bernadettenoll at gmail dot com and we’ll discuss a mass pick-up.

If you want to bring the wool on the day of, we would love for you to felt them up in a hot, high agitation wash cycle.

But don’t let this list limit your selections.  This is a swap and we welcome all your cast-off clothing items.  As always, our motto is…




P.S. We are also seeking sponsors for our amazing Swap so if you know of a company that would be a good match, please send them my way…. bernadettenoll at gmail dot com.