Atlanta Makers Meetup Jan. 10, 2013

Last week, the Atlanta Makers Meetup was held at MASS Collective, a new Makerspace in downtown Atlanta in the Castleberry Hill area. Once it opens its doors to the public, they will plan on having the same type of membership business model as other Makerspaces, like My Inventor Club or Freeside, where individuals pay monthly dues to keep the place going.

Duncan Shirah, whose day job takes him to the Inferno Art Foundry while after hours he works on his own projects, had many of his creations on display including a cocktail drink dispenser, a disguise-making machine, and more.

Credit: Jay Caudle

Sadly, I did not learn everyone’s name at the Meetup. What I did grasp is that there are eight Makerspaces in metro Atlanta and each one has a different flavor, so instead of being in competition, they have formed an informal collaborative “meta-group” called “Atlanta Makers.”

Kimberly Varney, of  The Foundery, a local nonprofit organized to create and grow collaborative maker spaces, is developing a Maker Scout group in Texas, with plans to bring it to Atlanta in the spring. I am very interested in leading a Maker Scout group here in my own Atlanta neighborhood of Underwood Hills, so I look forward to hearing more about this topic. Kimberly is also heading up Citizen Scholar, a community-driven pop up school. She hosted a ginger ale fermentation class at the Atlanta Makers Meetup which was delightful.

Credit: Jay Caudle

Chris Carter explained all the cool science behind making ginger ale. Although it went completely over my head, I was spellbound because his energy, enthusiasm, and passion were evident in everything he said. The entire time I was thinking to myself, “how wonderful would it have been if my K-12 science classes had someone this interesting to listen to!”

Credit: Jay Caudle

My personal belief is that not all of the best science teachers are teaching in schools. If you want to find the best teachers of something, you have to go search them out. You find them at places like this Meetup, at Makerspaces, and at with organizations like Citizen Scholar. That’s where DIY education really pays off. Amazing people, mentors, teachers, and learning-teaching-partners live right around the corner. Thank you, Chris and Kimberly, for the presentation.

Lew Lefton is heading up a project to establish a family-friendly Makerspace in Decatur, GA. He wants to make a space where young people can go to do Maker stuff. Also, such a space would be ideal for Maker Scouts. I want to do the same thing here in my neighborhood.

Russell Kaye, also from Decatur, echoed my own personal beliefs that children can be homeschooled and spend hours a day at a family-friendly Makerspace instead of going to school.

David Sluder, who produced the two Atlanta Mini Maker Faires led a discussion about the 2013 Mini Maker Faire. Lots of good ideas were voiced from the audience.

Credit: Jay Caudle

The Rome Confluence is coming up Feb. 21-22, 2013 in Rome, GA. Chris Anderson, former editor of Wired, founder of DIY Drones, will be the keynote speaker and he will be available to sign copies of his new book, Makers: The New Industrial Revolution.

Thank you to all who attended and all who presented and all who helped make it happen. The energy at the Meetup was exciting and invigorating. I left with a full tank.

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