Take part in a month of making, from July 6th to August 6th, at Maker Festival! This incredible festival brings together Toronto’s most creative people and projects to celebrate creativity and inspire people to help shape our world. It features over 100 events across Toronto run by creative organizations, maker spaces and studios! We spoke with Ceda Verbakel, Creative Director of Maker Festival to find out more.
Ceda, we’re really excited for this festival. Please tell us why Maker Festival was established.
Maker Festival, was established due to the growing interest around DIY, especially in the tech world. 3D printers generated a lot of that buzz because they are now less expensive for people to buy and use, and also some electronics have become more affordable and acceptable for people as well. There’s a trend in that direction in the tech world, as well as a greater uptake of people diverting back to sort of ‘old school’ ways of making too — for example, people who are interested in woodworking and artisan crafts. Things like knitting and crochet, origami – all those kinds of things that we don’t do a lot of these days despite being activities that bring people real joy.
Who do you expect to attend the festival? Is Maker Festival only for adults?
Actually, we usually get a lot of kids. Kids are at the age where lots of making and creativity happens. We do our best to attract adults as well and there is a lot of stuff for adults, the festival is tech focused after all. There are a lot of things there that are interesting to look at and interact with as an adult. Even the drop in workshops or the other kind of things that look like they’re for kids – adults are more than welcome to participate and we encourage them to do so!
Sounds like a family friendly experience then! What’s the best thing about Maker Festival?
Our whole event is based around this idea of it being interactive and participatory. We ask that all our exhibitors and makers have some kind of interactive or participatory element to their booth. So it’s not just a market where people are selling, and it’s also not just somewhere where people passively look on at what other people are making or doing. We like people to feel like they too have agency and the ability to be creative — even if it’s in a tech sense. Because even though technology sort of feels a little bit — what’s the word? — intimidating, sometimes, everyone is really capable of taking part and shaking it up.
So you’re all about making connections. That’s great! Are there any must-see projects at Maker Festival this year?
There are a bunch of robot makers who make robots as a hobby. They’re going to be coming and building robots and battling them all weekend! So they’ll have tables where they’re making them but then they will also have a round robin battle in a kind of, robot arena. And then we’ve also got some really beautiful and awesome installations and pop-ups. We have a local Toronto artist who’s bringing her giant cardboard whale. It’s kinetic and moves like a whale! There will also be lots of great drop-in workshops that anyone can participate in. You can knit a neuron, you can solder a little raccoon pendant so it lights up with LEDs, or you can take part in a lockpicking workshop!
Thank you for speaking with us Ceda. We can’t wait to attend Maker Festival this month!