When Colorado Maker Hub teams up with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science this weekend for the Denver Mini Maker Faire, the result will be a geekophile’s paradise, a thriving village of more than 100 tinkerers, artisans, tech nerds, robot-builders, Daleks and droids. We’d be hard-pressed to name them all, let alone catalogue each of their wild enthusiasms, but here are five makers to start with.
Ira Sherman, Toys That Play With People
Denver metalsmith and sculptor Ira Sherman is something of a legend and most definitely one of a kind. Lauded by art critics and Popular Mechanics alike, he creates strange, wearable “prostheses” and interactive kinetic sculptures loaded with human sensors that offer a bio-engineered experience to participants. Sherman will give talks and demonstrations throughout the run of the Faire. The Zander Lander and the Giant Electric Muffin (GEM)
Burning Man-style technology comes into play for these attractions: The Zander Lander is a custom-built bicycle contraption and the GEM is, well, an interactive muffin vehicle that has to be seen — and driven — to be believed. The GEM is one of several muffin cars from across the nation that periodically meet up at Black Rock City.
Mountain States Droid Builders
Yes, there are hobbyists all over the world who build droids in their basements. The Colorado/Wyoming contingent will present an army of R2D2 robots and other Star Wars droids and chat with prospective enthusiasts at the Faire. Are you geeky enough to join up? Learn more online. The Gizmo Dojo
The Broomfield-based Gizmo Dojo is a not-for-profit, member-driven laboratory for mad scientists, providing a space to play with tools and take classes in everything from robotics to knitting. What happens there? Rube Goldberg machines are built. Beer is brewed. Members create a 3D printer from scratch. Mingle with the makers and have fun with a messy paint catapult at the Faire; learn more about joining up online. Paint an Art Car with Art Car Mark
An art-car festival might be the last thing you would expect to see in Trinidad, but it's a Colorado tradition. The annual ArtoCade (happening this year September 11-13 in southern Colorado) brings together an army of decorated beaters and kinetic sculptures on wheels. Art Car Mark invites participants to help build a community art car at the Faire — just bring your imagination. Learn more about ArtoCade online.
Visit the Denver Mini Maker Faire from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, June 13 and 14, at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Tickets for the Faire are $5 per day; you must also pay general admission to the museum unless you're already a member. Visit the website for more information.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE...
Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.