Anachrocon Makes Good for Makers Created by ProfHoppingood on 2/25/2013 9:46:33 PM
Panel review and highlights of the Fabrication Track at Anachrcon 2013.
If you want to kindle inspiration in makers, you put them in a room with other makers. Soon, the air is abuzz with “have you considered this?” and “how did you do that?” as one creative mind sharpens the next. When you put dozens of makers in a single environment, what you get is an inspirational maelstrom.
Last weekend, Anachrocon in Atlanta played host to some of the most recognizable names among Steampunk crafters, brought together by the Fabrication Track Director Paige Smith, a familiar face herself and well-known for her own crafty talents. Chris Lee of the Apparition Abolishers, Thomas Willeford of Brute Force Studios, Capt BillBill Harrison of Venusian Airship Traders, and Daniel Valdez of Steampunk X-Men fame shared their expertise with attendees in a full slate of sessions. However, Paige Smith also invited new faces on the maker scene to demonstrate their particular knowledge and skillsets, giving voices to new talents and fresh ideas.
The Friday evening kick-off for the track was “Meet the Apparition Abolishers”. But with the vast array of amazing contraptions they brought to fill the track room, it could just as easily have been titled “Meet the Machines”, a veritable show-and-tell of their creations.
Panels on Saturday included “Working with Metal: Brass, Copper and Solder”, with Dan Dougherty, Chris Lee and Daniel Valdez, followed by “Arming Yourself: The Proper Weapon for the Proper Era”, presented by Thomas Willeford, Bill Harrison, and Allan Gilbreath. A lively and informative “Re-purposing Objects into Amazing Props and Builds” followed, featuring Chris Lee, Dan Dougherty and Patricia Nolde, with opening remarks and input from none other than the track director, Paige Smith. The methods of leatherworking were explored by Thomas Willeford, Matt Brown, Chris Mueller and John Newbury in “Leather for Costume & Props” and paint techniques and faux finishes were de-mystified in “Finishing Touch: Paint, Stains, Textures and Finishes” with Dan Dougherty, Brian Mead, John Newbury and Capt BillBill Harrison. To end the panels that day, Chris Lee and Daniel Valdez presented to a standing room only crowd in “Special Effects for Costumes and Props”, where they revealed a few of the secrets that bring their creations to life through sound, lights and movement.
The following day, the track room was transformed into a boisterous and delightful gypsy camp, as traders and browsers participated in “The Coolest Swap Meet Ever”. People brought in bronzy bits and brassy bobs, costume pieces, leather scraps, and electronic parts (along with a healthy serving of Nerf weaponry) to trade between each other. Although no cash dealings were allowed, many people left with something new to add to their next amazing contraption, and other people left with the satisfaction of knowing their workshops might be a little cleaner, and the items went to new homes to be cherished and used.
In all, it was a wonderfully balanced Maker track. The wealth of talent and the variety of skills was broad enough to both inspire and inform novices as well as challenge more experienced crafters. And while it was thrilling to rub shoulders with the “famous” makers, it was equally encouraging to observe that our maker community is welcoming new talent and recognizing the creativity and skill that resides in so many of our number.