Meet a Maker! Maker Faire Wayne County

Hello everyone,

Maker Faire Wayne County is a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness and a celebration of the Maker Movement.  It’s a place where people show what they are making and share what they are learning.  Makers range from tech enthusiasts to crafters to homesteaders to scientists to garage tinkerers.  They are of all ages and backgrounds.  The aim of Maker Faire is to entertain, inform, connect and grow this community.

The Daily Record said it best: “Dubbed the ‘Greatest Show and Tell on Earth’; over 1,200 people flocked to the third annual faire at the University of Akron Wayne College the summer before last.  It was a fresh experience with favorite makers from previous years along with new makers and new things to see and do.

First Maker Faire for 2021 in Lynchburg Virginia!

Elise Spontarelli has been producing Maker Faire Lynchburg since 2017, the year after she and her husband, Adam, opened Vector Space, a 12,000 ft community makerspace in Lynchburg, VA.  Not only is (virtual) Maker Faire Lynchburg the first event on the Maker Faire calendar on March 28th, Vector Space is celebrating its 5th anniversary.  Last week, Elise shared an amazing community project that they developed which connects teens in Lynchburg with their peers in South Africa to make soccer balls (no small feat) and jerseys.  Learn more about their work (and how complicated it is to make a soccer ball!) here.

We are proud to showcase Ohio makers who participated in Maker Faire Wayne County.  One of these peoples is Jim Spires.  He has been doing pottery for over 50 years.  At Maker Faire Wayne County, he brought wheel-thrown sculptural pieces and formed new pieces during the faire.  Jim demonstrated wheel pottery, how to make something out of nothing, and market it.  Lots of faire goers were fascinated by his demonstration and explanation of the process.

Jim Spires grew up in Dalton, Ohio and worked after school in the historic Dalton Pottery.  He went to college in Arkansas where he worked with famed studio potter, David Greer who taught him the elements of sculptural ceramics.  Jim returned to Ohio to teach art for three years in Doylestown and honed his wheel skills in the evenings.  Jim was recruited by Eastman Kodak and became Head Graphic Designer for Consumer & Photofinishing Products worldwide.

In 1990, he returned to native Wayne County and started making pottery in his basement.  Several trips to North Carolina introduced Jim to the Southern style of making both utilitarian and art pottery, and the traditional face jugs of the South.  On a family trip to Europe in 1999, Jim visited the potteries in the town of Vallauris, in the South of France, where Pablo Picasso spent much of his later life making ceramic sculpture at the Madura studio.  This experience heavily influenced the Spires approach to pottery and gave a new look to many of his creations.

Another person who participated in Maker Faire Wayne County is Andre.  He has enjoyed LEGOs ever since he was three.  His inspiration began with building candy machines, though it took a lot of hard work to build the first one.  Working with LEGO led him to model aircraft from building from materials around the house, to flying and fixing them.

At Maker Faire Wayne County, Andre displayed various working candy machines as well as a pinball machine that he invented from LEGO pieces.  He answered questions about his hobby in RC aircraft, too!

Rounding out our participating makers is David Pickett.  He is an active member of the Schantz Makerspace, co-inventor of multiple medical device patents, and has experience with Arduino microcontrollers, 3D printing, CNC routing, and CAD design.

At Maker Faire Wayne County, David demonstrated a prototype of a device to separate raffle tickets.  Current methods of separating raffle tickets requires individuals to manually tear each ticket from the ticket strip.  His prototype is designed to have a strip of tickets fed into the device.  The device then separates each ticket and transfers them into a collection container. The separated tickets are then put into the drawing bin.  The prototype is designed to be portable to aid in its use during events where power may not be available (i.e. football games).

If you would like to know more about Jim’s pottery, Andre’s LEGO inventions, or David’s raffle ticket machine, please reply to this email!

Until next week,

Tom