This past weekend we were thrilled to participate in Maker Festival, an annual celebration of Toronto’s tech, DIY and maker communities at the Toronto Reference Library in downtown Toronto. For one weekend in July each summer, makers from across the Greater Toronto Area and beyond fill three floors of the library’s incredible curved atrium with everything from electronics to robotics and 3-D printing to installation art, virtual reality, textiles and more.
Our exhibit – “Puppets from the Unraku Workshop” – was a display of puppets built in the original Unraku workshop. Although this was (officially) our first year at Maker Festival, this is actually the second year in a row that puppets from the Unraku Workshop have been seen at the festival (several others were part of an award winning “RoroKitti” exhibit by original Unraku Co-Founders Robin and Kristi last year).
Unraku artists were on hand to talk about our work and there was a lot of “shop talk” with visitors about puppet building tips, tricks materials and more. We were especially thrilled that an Unraku alum, the ridiculously talented puppeteer Alexander Winfield – who was performing elsewhere during the festival – stopped by our table to do an impromptu meet and greet with visitors:
Puppetry has traditionally played a big role in Maker Festival and this year was no exception. In fact, Robin – one of the original Unraku Co-Founders – is quickly becoming a crowd favourite for her RoRo puppets, which were back this year roaming the festival, posing for selfies with visitors and causing trouble at Maker’s tables throughout the library:
Local giant puppet maker Andrew Mutton – another Maker Festival regular and crowd favourite – was also back again this year with an awesome giant cardboard beaver that spent most of Saturday greeting (and sometimes chasing) guests inside and outside the building:
— Christopher Fowler (@christofow) July 7, 2018
We even found our old friend Puppet What What hiding in a display near the stairs!
Probably the best thing about Maker Festival is just how many other creative and wonderfully talented Makers you get to meet. Our neighbour, Kaden, was quite possibly the youngest maker exhibiting at the festival. Kaden is just six years old, but he’s already building AI-powered robots using IBM’s Watson technology platform:
— Shahir Daya (@ShahirDaya) July 7, 2018
One of our other neighbours, Tinkertorium, won a well deserved Maker Award for their very cool interactive “Makers Mosaic” installation, a multi-layered data map that visitors created during the festival by mapping their individuality on a large display.
— Diana Maliszewski (@MzMollyTL) July 8, 2018
Maker Festival was a thrilling, inspiring and seriously fun weekend and we’re looking forward to returning next year. If you missed us at Maker Festival you won’t have to wait that long though, just check our events page for more upcoming events that we’ll be part of this year.
We hope to see you soon!