The Rapidian

Make Magazine editor convenes brief town hall meeting among makers

Placed symbolically on each table in the GRid70 cafewas a board game around which 25 people gathered to hear Dale Dougherty share the history of Make Magazine and the eminent Maker Faire.
Dougherty speaks to a room of amateur to seasoned makers.

Dougherty speaks to a room of amateur to seasoned makers. /All photos by Denise Cheng

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Despite no connection to Michigan, Dougherty was won over by Detroit's sizable maker culture.

Despite no connection to Michigan, Dougherty was won over by Detroit's sizable maker culture.

Placed symbolically on each table in the GRid70 cafe (70 Ionia SW) was a board game—Jenga, Mancala, Cribbage, Scrabble—around which 25 people gathered to hear Dale Dougherty share the history of Make Magazine and the eminent Maker Faire. Dubbed as a "town hall," Dougherty started off the stormy Tuesday evening asking people to introduce themselves by what they make.

"We're all off in the community but we don't often identify ourselves by our interests," Dougherty said. "However we identify ourselves, we can throw all of that in the bucket. We all are makers."

Make Magazine, a part of the O'Reilly empire, began in 2005 as a quarterly showcase and guide of how to make and modify different physical objects. Dougherty, editor of Make, observed that on the publishing scene, food, gardening and other magazines gave readers step-by-steps to mimic creations but not so with technology. Dougherty had already been writing a series about hacking that segued well into Make. The first Maker Faire soon followed in 2006 in the San Francisco Bay Area, attracting 20,000 participants in two days. It has since grown to 75,000 attendees annually in the Bay Area.

"People were hacking the world around them … If you can't open it, you don't own it," Dougherty joked, describing how a few makers had hacked the Tivo television playback device, knowing that it was based on an open source operating system, to modify it to their preferences.

The Henry Ford Museum's Shauna Wilson was also in attendance to plug Detroit's Maker Faire from July 30-31. The first drew 18,000 participants, and this is the second year that Wilson will have helped to organize the event.

"We do think with our hands," said Dougherty, who strongly believes that making needs to be integrated into the education system. "That will get them into science and technology a lot more than giving them text books and a heavy regimen of tests."

Dougherty himself enjoys anything to do with fermentation, from making cheese, beer, ciders to pickling.

"It doesn't really matter what your material is," Dougherty said to the audience of designers, engineers, tinkerers, chefs, felt crafters and inventors. "You actually talk the same language."

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