Forum Wrapup - Emily Smith

by Todd

Last night we opened the doors to old and new friends once again for another Forum.

Emily Smith took the speaker’s chair and talked about how she got to know other crafters and makers of interesting things in Vancouver, starting from the popular Vancouver Hack Space. With lots of photos and anecdotes, she showed us how the spirit of making things often comes out of an unmet need, an unsolved problem or just a desire to understand how things work by putting them together and getting your hands dirty.

Emily has not only been making her own creations, including some knitted works coloured with dyes made from invasive flowers removed from Stanley Park this year (which we saw, and they look amazing), but has been spurring makers and crafters around Vancouver to come together more. There are already numerous small groups but many of them struggle for some kind of viable funding or exposure, and pulling them together has been making that community much stronger.

The discussion that came out of Emily’s talk ranged from bringing maker philosophy into the classroom to dispute resolution in collective groups. We shared stories about companies benefitting by adopting innovations that makers hack into their products to the philosophy behind it all, which looks at the world as inherently changeable.

We also talked a lot about how community forms, and Emily had some real-world wisdom to share about testing ideas when they are small and following those that get the best response. The work she’s done has really paid off. The Vancouver Mini Maker Faire that she helped bring into being saw 3,000 people in its first run. This year it’s coming back with a much bigger space at the PNE on June 23-24.

Thanks Emily and thanks to everyone for coming out and joining in the conversation. The next Forum date and speaker haven’t been set yet, but we’ll make an announcement soon, and will be setting up a newsletter that makes it easier to know when these things are going down.

About Forum

Forum is our speaker series where small groups get together to hear an interesting speaker and to converse rather than just listen. Events are capped at 10 people and happen in our comfortable studio space with good food and drink. The format emphasizes interaction with speakers and a focus on topics from outside our normal tech-filled lives. To learn more or to inquire about becoming a sponsor, contact hello@denimandsteel.com.