This post was submitted by Frederikka Payne, owner of Aurora Yarns and
our TNNA Maker Faire Chair . . .
Detroit Maker Faire rocked!
What a fun, exciting and
uplifting weekend! Who wouldn’t be excited and uplifted by seeing 800-1000
people (at least 50% of
them children) learn to knit, crochet, needlepoint and
cross-stitch in two days? The TNNA Needle
arts Zone was indoors this year in the
fabulous Henry Ford Museum – out of the heat! We were in a very large open space
and were allowed to spread out. As a result, we only had to turn a few people
away and ask them to return (and they did).
Once again, we got a lot of parents to join in with their children, and they
enjoyed the experience. One family really sticks out in my mind. One of the
daughters wanted to learn to needlepoint and had picked out a kit, but the rest
of the family was hungry. She asked if I could hold it for her until after
lunch. An hour or so later, three generations of her family were learning to
needlepoint, cross-stitch, knit and crochet. It became a blur, as nearly every
family member went on to learn all four disciplines!
In fact, that family was not alone – quite a few people made the entire
circuit of our booth, either in one day or two. They were at Maker Faire to
experience, learn and make and they did all of that for sure in our booth.
TNNA’s Needlearts Zone won two Editor’s Choice blue ribbons! I was able to
speak with both of the awarders and both said we had the best booth in the Faire
(so did many of the attendees – many told us that throughout the whole weekend).
I spoke at length with the second awarder. He was very impressed with the
diversity in our booth – all ages, both sexes, different races. We bring people
together from all walks of life, but in our booth they are all just interested
in the same thing – teaching and learning needlearts.
He pointed to various groupings – a grandfatherly man teaching two young
girls to needlepoint, a teenaged boy teaching a mother and her teen son and
daughter to knit, a motherly woman teaching young boys to cross-stitch, a
left-handed woman teaching a left-handed man to crochet (we love our lefty
teachers!) – and said "where else could you possibly reach all these different
people?” Pointing at various people, he asked, "without this experience, would
that person have ever been likely to go to one of your member’s stores?” In each
instance, I had to respond "no” because he had pointed out the people who looked
most unlikely to even to know a yarn, needlepoint or cross-stitch store
Because of TNNA’s booth at Maker Faire, they have been exposed to and
welcomed into our needlearts world and their lives have been changed – we hope
Our volunteer teachers in Detroit are phenomenal. Many of them were returnees
– and after giving up anywhere from 4 hours to more than 3 full days of their
time and talent, they thanked us for the opportunity. Every one of them wants to
come back next year to teach. In addition, we collected nearly 50 names of
people who are interested in teaching in the Needlearts Zone at next year’s
Maker Faire, simply because they were so impressed by what we are doing.
One woman (Suzanne) worked with us from the first moment of set-up to the
last moment of tear-down. In addition, she agreed to represent us on Wednesday
in a segment of a program Maker Faire has set up with a local teacher’s group.
The segment is a miniature version of what we and other "Makers” did at Maker
Faire, to show teachers what they can do to stimulate their students’
imaginations and inspire them. I can’t wait to hear her report!
|Suzanne stitching the new needlepoint canvas|
Next up, New York — September 17-18. If you are in the New York area and
would like to join us and teach, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is more
fun with needlearts than you can possibly