Show and Tell
Bellingham Maker Faire
What: Bellingham Maker Faire
When: 10:00 am Sat., Oct. 9
Where: Southwest corner of Bellis Fair Mall
Cost: Entry to the all-ages event is free
Wednesday, October 6, 2021
If you make your way to Dick’s Sporting Goods this weekend during a visit to the Bellis Fair Mall to, say, search for a new pair of running shoes, there’s a chance you’ll be distracted by the collective of approximately 20 artists, crafters, engineers, students and scientists who’ll be gathered adjacent to the mega-retailer in the southeast corner of the mall. They’ll be sharing their creations as part of the inaugural Bellingham Maker Faire, and it will be in your best interest to forget about procuring footwear and see what they’re up to.
The popup taking place from 10am-5pm Sat., Oct. 9 is being hosted by Bellingham Makerspace, the longtime tool- and skill-sharing nonprofit with a mission to “provide access to tools and space and support learning to use tools and technology to bring creativity to life.” From their hideaway next to Dick’s, they offer introductory classes on everything from lasers to vector graphics, wood shop, 3D printing for kids and adults, wood lathes, CNC sign making, how to use vinyl cutters and more—including how to put together your own space saber.
Bellingham Makerspace Board of Directors President Dan Marshall notes that last offering will be on display during the Maker Faire in the form of lightsaber-wielding Jedis who he jokingly says will be helping keep the mall safe from Stormtroopers and Imperial troublemakers.
“We’re very excited for all the makers who will be joining us, but the main thing that we hope to achieve by hosting this Maker Faire is to connect various local organizations and artists, creatives and maker communities that exist in this area,” Marshall says. “We’ll have some representation from other Makerspaces in Washington, such as SnoCo and ALTSpace, as well as groups with more local focus such as Technology Alliance Group NW and Mount Baker Amateur Radio Club.”
Whether being introduced to a robotic arm with a wicked reach, a robot that can actually draw, a canny cosplayer resembling a certain Star Wars character, woodworkers, 3D printing artists, or someone exploring the science behind conductive ink, the free, all-ages event is a way for makers to both show and tell what they’ve been tinkering with during the course of the pandemic.
Marshall says that even outside of the maker community, almost everyone he knows has picked up some kind of DIY hobby or returned to an old one during the last year and a half, and adds that he believes there’s never been a better time to learn a new skill or bring a creative vision to life.
He also points out that although Bellingham Makerspace’s move to the mall came at an inopportune time—they had made the move just before lockdown, and had to close their newly opened doors to the public—they made the most of it by pivoting and become personal protective equipment coordinators during the beginning of the pandemic by making PPE, providing instruction to others, and helping to sanitize and distribute PPE made by other local groups and individuals.
Because tours will be part of the Maker Faire, attendees can find out more about the ingenuity it took to for Bellingham Makerspace to switch their focus during a global crisis, as well as peruse their expansive tool collections and workshops—which are open for both classes and members to use. While you’re there, it wouldn’t hurt to pick up a membership application and find out more about the community asset you might not have realized existed.
“It’s such an incredible resource,” Marshall says, “not just in the tools and space it offers but in the sprawling breadth and depth of kindness and knowledge in its member base, and the lack of awareness of it in the broader community is something we are working very hard to correct. Moving to the mall was a great first step in that direction. Hosting this event is the next part of that process. My hope is that the takeaway will be that the Bellingham Makerspace exists, and whether you’re an artist or engineer, a musician or crafter, or even just a tinkerer, we have the space, tools, and community to help you make things better.”
Please note that all possible efforts for social distancing should be maintained and that, as this is an indoor event, masks will be required.