It is official!!! We are headed to the World Maker Faire in the Bay Area in May. Word just came through a few days ago, and we have been spending the weekend getting things sorted and planned.
This month is a little bit crazy with my (Nic) normal work schedule.... My regular day job is at an industrial facility, and we are having routine maintenance done. This means the plant is shutdown, and all of us are working crazy overtime hours. Myself... well, not only overtime hours, but also night shift. It has forced us to put a few things on hold in our 'kite life' while real life creeps in. It also means we are going to be hitting the work room really hard with very little time to get ready for the Maker Faire.
The extra work, the endless nights getting ready for two days of craziness that goes by in a flash, the thousands of kites made, the hundreds of emails, the countless photos and videos, the thank yous, the outreach, the dinners interrupted by running to jot down some notes.... it is all worth it. The Maker Faire really is all worth it. But why?
Why is this so incredibly important to me to do? Well, I guess all of my reasons can fall into two categories. What it does for others, and what it does for me.
We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
~George Bernard Shaw
For myself, it inspires me. It is a straight shot of pure adrenaline and creative energy into my blood stream. Being around hundreds of other creative types wanting to openly share their ideas and collaborate on projects and specialties forces me (in a good way) to look at my own projects through different eyes.
For others, I see it as touching on one of the things that I think makes kites incredibly unique. It is a task with rather low risk and low barrier to entry. The learning potential is great if you look at all of the potential paths you could follow with kite flying. Whether it is into something like performance arts, or capturing scientific data, harnessing renewable energy, design (both artistic and aerospace), or a multitude of other paths.
In his book Lifelong Kindergarten, Mitchel Resnick says it well. "When discussing technologies to support learning and education, Seymour Papert often emphasized the importance of 'low floors' and 'high ceilings.' For a technology to be effective, he said, it should provide easy ways for novices to get started (low floors) but also ways for them to work on increasingly sophisticated projects over time (high ceilings). It's not enough to provide a single path from a low floor to a high ceiling; it's important to provide multiple pathways."
Kites, do that. Low floor, high ceiling, and wide walls. Going to the Maker Faire reminds me of that.... and I consider it an honor to build kites with the folks coming through.