Guest Blogger, Zee Kesler: Tiny Houses & Sustainable Living

Zee Tiny houseMy name is Zee Kesler and I love tiny houses and efficient spaces!


As such, I am interested in working with the City of Vancouver to explore the feasibility of tiny houses in an urban environment. To start the conversation, I am collaborating with the Emerging Green Builders to host a Tiny House Design Jam @the Hive Thursday May 29, 7pm. If you are a designer, architect, urban planner, or tiny house enthusiast, please join us! We’d love to have your input.


At the jam, we will break up into groups to address issues that face the tiny house community such as bylaws and zoning, building codes, as well as liability/insurance issues. We will also explore potential pilot projects and brainstorm systems to match tiny house owners with yard/rental space. Admission to the jam is by donation – click here to book your seat.


Are you interested in building tiny houses and learning basic construction skills?


Join us this summer at the Vancouver Community Laboratory for the Tiny House Building Workshop Series, run in association with Camera Buildings.  At the workshop you will learn the skills required to build a tiny house. The series of eight workshops will focus on Q and A, tips to salvaging materials, tricks of the trade, safety, and hands-on construction skills. Upon completion, the tiny house created in the workshop will be used as an experimental off grid Tiny Community Center which will host workshops and artist residencies.


If this project inspires or interests you, please sign up for our mailing list found on the side bar of the project blog! Info on the workshops will be released shortly and workshop spaces are limited.


Come find us at the Camera Buildings booth at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire June 7 & 8th! You can also catch my presentation, “Building A Tiny Community Centre”, on June 8th as part of the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire Speaker Series.

Meet Your Maker: Heike Kapp, Glass Artist


MYM-Heike-KappHeike Kapp is a local glass artist, and a perennial favourite of Vancouver Mini Maker Faire attendees. She creates glass jewelry, marbles, and small-scale objects, and is returning to the show this year with her collection of striking flamework marbles. Heike was a quilter for many years and enjoyed the tactile and three-dimensional aspects of textile art very much. After completing courses at Joanne Andrighetti‘s glasswork studio, she started incorporating her own soft-glass beads in her work, but was more and more drawn to the sculptural and magnifying properties of clear borosilicate glass. Heike now sells her glass pieces at craft fairs and online, and her goal is to create objects that enrich the owner’s life.


What are you exhibiting at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire this year?

Glass marbles.


What else do you make?

Art quilts and photography.


What is your favourite part about being a Maker? Your least favourite part?

My favourite part is letting my creativity run wild; my least favourite part is being forced to triage my creative ideas to fit into the limited amount of time I have for making.


How else does the passion for making manifest in your life?

I show people who think they are not creative how to be a maker, with the abilities they already have. Sometimes it just takes a small spark!


How did your passion for making originate?

My parents always encouraged and helped me to be a maker, my mom was very crafty and my dad was a practical tinkerer.


What’s your earliest memory of making?

I’ve always been a maker; my earliest memory is of making a rattle from a cardboard cheese box, glue, and rice.


Who’s your favourite Maker?

I have to pick just one? Impossible! Lynne Taylor Fahnestalk, John Kobuki, Gerda Conzetti, Sandra Meech, my dad.


Who or what inspires you to keep on making, even when your project falls to pieces?

There is always a new project on the horizon.


What is it about Maker Faire It that attracts you as an exhibitor?

Maker Faire is so wonderfully different from any of the events that I attend. The exhibitors and visitors are so inquisitive and have such a positive attitude, the atmosphere lifts me up and carries me on a high that lasts for most of the year.

I love what I do, and what gives me the greatest joy is seeing the surprise and wonderment in the eyes of the person holding one of my pieces for the first time.


Check out Heike’s pieces in our Maker Faire Marketplace; her marbles are like whole universes unto themselves, and they make great gifts for the hard-to-shop for – or for yourself! To keep up-to-date on her work, follow her on facebook.




Guest Blogger, Jessica Oman: Turning Your Awesome Idea Into an Income

You made it. Now how are you going to sell it? Turning an awesome product into a profitable business can be exciting, but it can also be overwhelming to learn to think like a business owner as well as a Maker of awesome things. Not all great inventions or products make good businesses, but there are a few litmus tests you can apply to see whether there might be profit in your product.


Dzingeek mad scientist

Image courtesy of dzingeek.

1. Can you scale it?

You might be able to bake ten dozen cookies a day in your kitchen, but a hundred dozen, or a thousand dozen, involves a whole different process. You will have the extra expense of a commissary kitchen, but you might also be able to get better prices on ingredients because you’ll be buying in bulk. To test your product for scalability, first figure out how much it costs you to make one of your items now. Next do some research on how those costs change per item when you 100x or 1000x (or more) your production. If higher volumes result in lower production costs per item, you might be on to something.


2. Can you price it well?

We all know that when a new technology first comes on the market, it’s usually very expensive to buy. Only a select few early adopters will be willing to shell out the cash to buy, and those few customers won’t sustain a business for very long. To create broader appeal, the price has to make sense for your ideal customers. If it’s too high, they may not see the value in making a purchase – but if it’s too low, they might think it’s cheap or low quality. Even worse, pricing that’s too low can suck all the profit out of what could be a great business.


3. Is the market ready for it?

Microsoft created one of the first tablets years before the iPad came out – but most people don’t remember it. That’s because the market wasn’t ready for tablets yet; consumers didn’t see a need for them. Whatever you make, your customers have to understand how it benefits them or solves a problem they have – whether it’s a bikini that fits any body type, or an application that helps people be more productive. To test whether consumers are ready for your product idea, you can run taste tests, conduct surveys, or do statistical research. You can’t be 100% certain that people will buy your product, but you can get a lot of valuable insight into what your customers really want – and you’ll find it’s not always what you think they want.


Even if you fail at turning your product into a business the first time, you can make it a success later. Experiment with different ways of marketing. Adapt your product for different kinds of customers. Figure out a way to make it cheaper, or to sell it for more. You’ll find the right combination eventually, especially if you have the right resources and people to support you. Your business, like the things that you make, is always evolving, and you can forever make it better.


About the author:

Write Ahead - Web-1.



Guest blogger Jessica Oman is the founder of Write Ahead Inc., a team of consultants, writers, and trainers who help entrepreneurs launch and grow businesses that support their lives and passions. Grab their free report5 Critical Steps for Taking Your Business from Idea to Open, and learn to build your business the “write” way. Don’t miss her talk, Can Your Invention Make You Money, at the 2014 Vancouver Mini Maker Faire’s Speaker Series.







New for 2014: Maker Faire Marketplace!

The Vancouver Maker Foundation and Vancouver Mini Maker Faire are proud of our ability to provide an incubation ground for new Makers, and support for established Makers who are looking for new ways to grow. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that this year we’ve got a whole new area of the Faire dedicated to just that! The Maker Faire Marketplace is your spot for finding unique and interesting handmade goodies, many of which you won’t find anywhere else in town.



Many of our Marketplace participants are brand new to the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire, and we’re really excited to welcome them to our little club! Elgin Vine is bringing his handmade bags and leatherwork items, and Kukubee will be there with their zipper pouches, paper goods, and accessories. Stop by the eBoy booth to check out their  modular Blockbob toys and their city posters, built of modular pixel elements. Strathcona 1890 will be at the Faire with their carefully-curated seed collections, perfectly suited to growing in any Vancouver garden.



Is your wardrobe looking for a little pick-me-up? Stop by the Blu Pixie, Devil May Wear, and DRIFT booths for gorgeous and unique finds. If you need something a little more casual, Locomotive is back this year with their awesome collection of t-shirts, just in time for summer.



As always, we’ve got an awesome group of food trucks lined up to keep you fed at the Faire -but don’t forget to stop by our Marketplace and grab some treats for later! We’re delighted that Living Lotus is back this year, and excited to welcome Chickadee Family Bakery. In true Maker Faire spirit (and for those of you more patient than hungry), Make Cheese is back with their cheese-making kits.



Need a little treat for yourself? Alie & Droid is back with their quirky, handmade items for everyone’s inner geek, and PHRESHA is bringing their 2014 line of jewelry and accessories, ON THE PROWL. Also back this year: Parrotphernalia, with their feather-based jewelry and accessories – as far as we know, the only place in town to get humane feather jewelry. Jewelry makers Umbrella Bird and Dalliance and Design are both joining us for the first time this year, and on Sunday, June 8th only we’ll be joined by Sublime Sisters, a Young Maker team of two sisters.



Two of our Marketplace vendors give as good as they get. The African Fair Trade Society produces organic shea butter-based soap, shampoo, and skin lotion in an environmentally sensitive manner and without animal testing, and  then uses the profits of their shea butter sales to channel micro-aid to small, impoverished communities in Western Africa. Enterprising Women Making Art (EWMA) works with emerging women artisans in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside to develop an alternative form of business or employment that is grounded in the needs and realities of their participants. Look for their jewelry, paintings, art cards, headbands, dream catchers, and pottery in the VMMF Marketplace.



Maybe you think June is too early to get started on your holiday shopping? Think again! Glass artist Heike Kapp, steampunk artist Professor Whovianart, and local collective Queen Bee can all help you with those hard-to-shop-for people that you’ll be fretting about in December.



Stop by the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire Marketplace and feel good about indulging in a little treat for yourself or someone you love!

Maker Picnic Sunday June 1st!

makerpicnic logo















The days leading up to Vancouver Mini Maker Faire can be stressful for makers. Many makers spend days locked away, missing the light of day as their projects slowly (and sometimes painstakingly!) come to fruition. So this Sunday (June 1st, 2014) we invite makers to take a day off from their projects, relax, meet awesome people, troubleshoot and celebrate maker culture!


Not a maker? That’s ok too! Come check out what people are up to and participate in some fun games and activities designed to get your gears turning.


The Love Bus will be parked nearby for your ball pit pleasure (yes, adults are allowed!), the “Fun silly-tator” will be hosting a blueprint area to brainstorm “Machines of the Future“, you can make some creepy monsters in the Creature Creation Zone. Remember to bring something to roast on the BBQ!


Bring your quadro-copters, tall bikes, homemade instruments, knitting projects, sketchbook, toys, and food! Or just bring yourself! Anything goes! Hope to see you there!


Sunday June 1st @ Dude Chilling Park (2390 Brunswick Street) from 1:00-6:00 p.m.

Rain or Shine!


Maker Town Hall

Thinking about participating for the first time at this year’s Vancouver Mini Maker Faire? Not sure if what you do makes you a Maker, or if anybody else would be interested in your project? Maybe you’ve participated at a past VMMF but have some questions that need answering before you do it again.


Then the Maker Town Hall is for you!


Join us for an evening of presentations, Q&As, socializing & meeting of fellow makers. Get your curiosity piqued, questions answered, and enthusiasm pumped.


Date: Saturday March 1, 2014
Time: Doors at 7:30pm, event from 8:00-10:30pm
Location: One Thousand Rivers, 54 E. 4th Ave., Vancouver
Cost: The Maker Town Hall is free but due to limited space pre-registration is strongly suggested.


*Please note: The Maker Town Hall is intended for people new to participating in a Mini Maker Faire, or past participants who are uncertain about their involvement this year. We will be having another event in a couple of months for veteran VMMF Makers who are already planning on participating.


photo by blue mollusc

photo by blue mollusc


Maker Green:

Green Jam and Kegs


Are you a maker interested in making Vancouver’s Mini Maker Faire the greenest anywhere?robot tiltThis is a call to all tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, artists, science clubs, students, authors, exhibitors and attendees. Help answer such questions as how we might target zero waste? Can we reduce the carbon emissions of everyone travelling to the faire? What can exhibitors do to reduce their environmental footprint? Let’s get together at the HiVE and jam over a beer!


Join the community, get Involved and help shape the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire!

Where: The HiVE @ 210 – 128 W. Hastings St.
When: Friday February 28, 2014, Gather at 6pm, start at 6:30pm
What: Maker Faire “Green Jam and Kegs”
Drinks by donation, potluck offerings welcome.  RSVP here.


Tiny House community project

Zee's tiny house project!
My name is Zee and I am facilitating a tiny house workshop project build. Using salvaged materials, you can learn basic construction skills and the final product will be used as a tiny mobile community centre for Makers to host workshops and share skills with the community.


I love tiny spaces!  Last year, along with a group of teachers and community leaders, I co-founded the MakerMobile:Workshop on Wheels, a traveling classroom, hackspace and art studio in a renovated Ford Econoline van.  While working on this project, I started researching alternative mobile spaces for living and working and came across tiny houses in the process.


Do you want to learn to build a house or help this project happen?  

Check out the rest of the article here. Email me to find out more!


Zee Kesler is an Community Based Artist and mentor for kids 3-18. She is the co founder of the MakerMobile:Workshop on Wheels and facilitates the Maker Education Initiative  Meetup alongside Vancouver Mini Maker Faire Director Emily Smith. 



Maker Show + Tell at the Rio Tuesday, September 24th

The Vancouver Maker Foundation is pleased to present Maker Show + Tell, an intimate and interactive evening featuring select speakers, their stories, live music, an interactive Q&A and more! Whether you’re already a part of Vancouver’s Maker community or are looking to learn more about it, join us for a fun and memorable evening that’s sure to leave you inspired.
Tuesday, September 24
Doors at 7:00
Music/Speakers start at 7:30
Tickets $10 advance or $12 at the door
19+ w/ bar service

Legion of Flying Monkeys Horn Orchestra
Brian Archer
Bilingual Intelligence Test
Brian Archer2
Brian Archer is an artist, philosopher and an ESL tutor who is is creating a wordless diagram/cartoon of human language. Turning research on a correlation between bilingualism and intelligence on its head, he has made a ‘bilingual intelligence test’. Brian is intending to bring this work to Maker Faire 2014.
John Beiler
3d Printing
John is a well-known Vancouver-based photographer, blogger, gadget geek, mobile phone nerd, teacher, traveler, 3D printer builder/operator, maker & all around curious person. He co-founded, an club of 3D printing enthusiasts who meet monthly and help share their knowledge of 3D printing at many events. When he’s not speaking at conferences including SXSW Interactive, Northern Voice and BarCamp, Biehler is a regular contributor to, the DottoTech radio show, the Province newspaper, London Drugs’ blog as well as the weekly Tech Tuesday segment on News 1130 radio. He’s currently writing his first book (about 3D printing) that will be published in 2014 by Pearson.
Reilly Yeo
Reilly Yeo is the Managing Director of Reilly is an organizer, facilitator and writer with ten years of experience in the not-for-profit sector. She joined in 2009 with a diverse professional and academic background including work with Amnesty International, The Walrus magazine and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. She led the organizing team for the first Vancouver ChangeCamp (an unconference on open government and participatory politics) and spent two years facilitating national in-person and online dialogues to rethink foreign policy through the SFU Centre for Dialogue. Reilly has MAs in Comparative Politics (McGill) and English Literature (UBC). She is a specialist in communications on complex issues.
Bunny Glue (aka Anna Bernhardt)
100 Blue Faces Painting Project
Anna Bernhardt
Bunny Glue (aka Anna Bernhardt) is a Vancouver-based artist, maker, and consultant. She has launched a Kickstarter Canada project, 100 Blue Faces, using the popular crowd funding platform to find homes for 100 Blue Faces, painted in acrylic on 12 inch square canvases. Find out why she is giving away half of the paintings free at
Victoria Gibson
Integrated Installation
Victoria Gibson
Victoria Gibson is an Integrated Media Artist blending sound + light + motion to create amazing art experiences. Creating magic using advanced techniques to spark curiosity and involve audiences with interactive gesture controls. She makes complex and experimental works that emerge from the nexus of art and technology, but remain accessible and fun. Based in Vancouver, Victoria has shown work internationally. Previous exhibits of Bandwidth, EMPAC Arts Center, Troy, NY; Guelph Jazz Festival Nuit Blanche, Lumen Festival, Staten Island, NY and the Mini Maker Faire, Vancouver.

Adam Barlev
Helix Installation (Burning Man)
Adam Barlev
Adam Barlev is a scientist, mathematician, hacker and burner. Born in the rich culture of the San Francisco Bay Area and influenced by the desert arts, Adam is one of the founding members of the Symmetry Group molecular origami design collective. In his day job as a PHD student at the SFU Chemistry Department, he shoots lasers at radioactive DNA.

Call for Speakers: Maker Show + Tell at the Rio is happening September 24


Do you make something that groundbreaking that you want to share with the world? Or, maybe you tried to make something and failed miserably. No matter what the outcome, we want to hear your stories. This coming September 24th, Maker Foundation is partnering with the Rio to put on a Maker show and tell so that Makers can share the stories behind the things that we make. If you are interested in getting involved, apply now (the 24th is in just a couple of weeks!)




We’re also looking for food vendors, musicians, jugglers, or anyone else that wants to share their skills!