Students, locals participate in Kent State’s second annual Mini Maker Faire

Jagger Smith, age 12, builds a house as tall as he is using the Cocoro playhouse system, showcased at the Maker Faire in the University Library on Friday, May 10, 2015. The Cocoro playhouse, which uses lightweight but durable cardboard that can be stacked and combined for limitless possibilities, was created by NorioKids, who’s founder got the idea from playing with legos and lincoln logs as a kid and always wanting to be able to fit inside.

Kelsey Drumm

Kent crafters, tech enthusiasts and other innovators participated in the second annual Mini Maker Faire to show attendees their skills from noon to 4 p.m. on April 10 on the first floor of the University Library.

A “maker” can be anyone from a knitter to a tinkerer or a robotics enthusiast, said Hilary Kennedy, manager of the Student Multimedia Studio and Maker Faire coordinator. The coordinators selected the term “maker” because it’s a broad word and includes every type of inventor in its definition.

“We like to encourage the maker movement on campus, which is something that is happening all over the country and world,” she said.

The University Library hosted its first Mini Maker Faire last April, but it’s grown quite a bit since then, Kennedy said about the multitude of participants and attendees. People of all ages came to the Maker Faire to look at the products.

Senior fashion design major Greg Hanwell participated in the Maker Faire last April and said he came back this year for an extra credit opportunity.

“It’s nice to show people what I’m talking about,” Hanwell said about the knittings he created with single bed and double bed sewing machines.

The School of Theatre’s Props and Crafts class used EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) foam to create armor costumes, which students displayed at the Mini Maker Faire. The students also used items such as duct tape, hot glue and silicone molds to craft their projects, said Kerry Jo Bauer, a part-time semester faculty member of the School of Theatre’s Props and Arts class.

“I wanted my students to participate in the fair because they deserve it,” Bauer said. “I asked very little of them, showed them the basics, and they were so creative and went beyond what I asked of them.”

The Maker Faire could inspire collaboration between the different organizations on campus, too. It gives the TechStyleLAB, BlackStone LaunchPad, the College of Architecture and Environmental Design, and other innovators in the Kent area the opportunity to gather in one place, Kennedy said.

For example, fashion and technology collaborate each spring for the Fashion/Tech Hackathon, but this event gives makers another chance to bounce ideas off of one another, Kennedy said.

The participants of the Maker Faire did not have an opportunity to sell their products at the event, but the networking and exposure can help bring them business.

The opportunity to see what’s out there and the processes behind making items could catch the attendees’ interests, Kennedy said. Besides learning about new trades, attendees can ask for business information, so they can purchase the maker’s items online or visit their shop.

Kevin Wolfgang, manager of the TechStyleLAB and outreach program manager for fashion design and merchandising, also put a lot of help into making the Mini Maker Faire happen, Kennedy said.

Contact Kelsey Drumm at [email protected].


Hilary Kennedy, Manager of Student Multimedia Studio

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Greg Hanwell, Fashion Design Senior

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Kerry Jo Bauer, Guest Professor of Props and Crafts Class through the School of Theatre Guest Professor

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