Category Archives: 2016 Exhibitor Profiles

Maker: Amber Road Pottery

I did a Q&A with Amber Road Pottery’s Alex Ora – I had no idea Tuwanek was home to a pottery instruction studio!
Amber Road Pottery Glaze Hut
Alex, how did you get into pottery? 
So many years ago through Emily Carr’s Outreach Program when I was living in Dawson Creek, B.C. up north.  It led me to become a student of pottery, then a potter, then a high school teacher of pottery and art.
How long does it take the average child/adult to learn the basics so they can start experimenting? 
Clay is so friendly that it can become personal and a medium for experimenting with very little training, a few hours.  But the range of ability levels are many.Do you fire pottery for people? 
I can custom fire pottery work for people at a cone 04 to 06 level.Do you sell your work anywhere? 
I sell my work from a modest pottery studio in Tuwanek.  Mostly I teach people how to make in clay.

What has been your favourite project to work on?
I love to make traditional complex forms like teapots and casserole dishes in Japanese glazes because they are so gorgeous.
How long have you lived in Tuwanek/on the Coast?
I have been building and developing a teaching studio in Tuwanek for five years.
What is your perfect day?
My perfect day would start by greeting a group of bouncing (enthusiastic) children at the top of my driveway, lead them into my shaded yard, then my studio to play with clay and discover MAKING.  The whole day through, they delight me with their abandon to the rules of the material of clay.  With their sense of untethered adventure and my watchful eye their energy just seems to flows into objects of blissful art.  I know it sounds too good, really, but I have had days just like this……..perfect!
What’s an ‘ocarina’ and where does it come from? 
Ocarinas are clay whistles and they have occurred independently in different parts of the world, not known by this name necessarily.  Most well known to us here in North America they are very popular in Mexico and South America and have been known recently to be busked along the beaches in tourist towns.  They are more than a functional whistle and take on the form of animals or objects.  I like my students to make their ocarinas into a sculpture of a favourite cartoon character.
Well….. that was more fun than I thought it would be!
Cheers, Alex Ora

Maker: GetMakered 3D Scanning and Printing Mobile Lab

Get Makered 3D Mobile Lab

The trailer with personality+, Get Makered 3D Design & Print Studio, returns to the Sunshine Coast Mini Maker Faire for 2016, with an upgraded scanner setup… and this year it is being run by GetMakered’s youth manager Owyn Cramer and two friends.

This year has been a busy one for GetMakered, with appearances at the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire, Seattle Maker Mini Faire, and presentations to the principals and administrators of School District 46 and to the technology champion teachers from our school district in April. Bryan Cramer has been developing learning modules around a variety of digital technologies including 3D Printing, Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and other STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects for integrated and multi-disciplinary learning. Get Makered also visited a private birthday party with 10 girls, 2 of whom were trained to do the scanning before the other guests arrived.

Owyn has also integrated the digital files of scanned subjects into the Unreal Gaming Engine with PolyCount’s support – a key sponsor for GetMakered in 2016 – so that players can import their bust into the gaming environment to create objects or avatars using their own likenesses.

GetMakered is also heading to Austin Texas this Friday for OSCON 2016, the largest open source software conference in North America after a wildly successful booth at 2015’s event held in Portland Oregon. The trailer – a project involving many members of the Coast Makers – is staying home, but the rest of the equipment has been broken down to fit in suitcases to recreate in booth form next week. Running the booth with Founder Diane Mueller will be Owyn and Bryan Cramer, after community members and sponsors contributed to a gofundme campaign to fund Owyn’s participation. At 14 (he will turn 15 in Austin) if he manages it while Diane and Bryan are otherwise engaged, he will be one of the – if not the – youngest person running a booth at OSCON and he will be attending a number of the educational tracks as well.

For more information:

Maker: SPIDER Kids Go Karts

spider kids go cart
Spider Elementary, is part of the larger K – 12 SPIDER (Students Participating in Distributed Education Resources) school which falls under the administrative umbrella of the Sunshine Coast Alternative.  SPIDER Elementary is a public distributed learning school and part of School District No. 46 (Sunshine Coast) serving students from kindergarten to  grade 9.  Note: students in grade 7 have the option of participating in the Middle Years grade 7,8,9 cohort program offering learning in a blended learning environment using a project based learning model.
The Spider program recently completed a workshop on Go Kart building, creating four karts from the plans linked here and have been enjoying them ever since.
Download the plans here:
Come by and check them out – or get together with some pals to build your own!

Maker: Emily Smith

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 10.05.02 AM

What excites me most, is building from scratch. Whether it’s an event, a program or a toque, I  practice active engagement with all steps of a process. I started knitting after I graduated from design school because I felt starved for some sort of tangible, creative outlet. Spending countless hours and late nights on the computer, I realized that although I’m excited about communication design and graphics, it is necessary for me to physically engage with the world in a way that’s meaningful and tactile. I don’t always make things from scratch (It’s really not all that realistic always), but the experience and time taken to understand the process, is one that I find extremely valuable- and my favourite approach to learning about the world.

Shortly after I picked up my knitting needles again, I became curious about the fibres my yarn was made from and started spinning, felting, and playing with natural dyes. My mind is continually blown by how flexible and malleable these raw materials are. Through engaging with fibre and spending time at  Vancouver Hack Space, I have felt a stronger connection to the people around me and have even discovered a new found appreciation of chemistry, physics, electronics and mathematics and how they work together.

Through my work and play with the maker community, I’ve discovered that this project and experience-based approach to learning really isn’t all that unique. There’s an entire movement of people advocating for STEM-based curriculum – an arts-based approach to learning about engineering, technology and science, told through the language of mathematics. I believe in this teaching model because I believe that it prepares students for the real world, in a meaningful and engaged way. Also. Learning can be (and is) fun and cool.

After 3 years of serving as Director for Vancouver Mini Maker Faire, I am now a board member for Vancouver Maker Foundation (The non-profit behind Vancouver Mini Maker Faire that I co-founded). Read more about my experience spearheading a Maker Faire on MAKE Magazine.

I am also currently working as Educational Coordinator at VIVO Media Arts Centre.

Needle Felting by Emily Smith

You can see some of the projects I’ve been involved with here… yarnbombing, needle felting, glow bike tutorial, arduino patch, Vancouver Experimental Theremin Orchestra and more.

Maker: Pat Walker and Chuck the Electric Truck

“Chuck” is a 1991 Toyota Extended Cab Pickup that has been converted to electric through the ingenuity and efforts of owner Pat Walker in Roberts Creek, BC.


To look at Chuck you would never guess that inside lurks an Advanced DC9 Series wound DC dual shaft, with rev-limiter magnet and pickup mounted on the front shaft. And that’s just for starters! (pun intended).

The drivetrain is a 5 speed manual transmission with clutch. 1st gear cuts out at 42kmh, 2nd at 72kmh.

It uses a controller mounted on an aluminum heat sink behind the grill with thermostatic cooling fan, and runs on 48 Sinopoly 200, 3.20 volt lithium iron phosphate batteries. The packs average about 21,000 kms and provides a system voltage of 154 volts.


The DC/DC converter is an Iota GPC 45, 45amp 144 volt converter. Ist one failed after 4 years in 2009, the 2nd is still working well in 2016.

Chuck has a top speed of 70mph (122kmh) with standard acceleration for merging into traffic and can seat 2 average size adults and 2-3 passengers (depends on age/size). The extended cab is used almost every day and the vehicle has a curb weight of 3600 lbs (1,636 kg).

You can see this information and other technical specs at, and you’ll meet Chuck at the Maker Faire on the 29th!



Welearn is designed to allow neighbours to teach neighbours in a community. Each person in every community has a knowledge, skill or ability that is valuable to others. The Welearn web site provides a platform where community members can come together around learning.

The WeLearn portal makes teaching and learning in a community easy and social. This service looks after the business, marketing and administration aspects of delivering a class, and allows you to focus on what you love most – learning, teaching, or both!

Maker: Blacksmith Kelly Backs

I am a blacksmith. My work is the Art of metal. I use age old blacksmithing techniques to create beautiful and functional objects.

A lot of the joy is in the doing, the actions involved in fashioning something lifeless into something that speaks to me about myself and the world. The sweat and force involved in shaping metal teaches me my limits, but at the same time, urges me to go beyond them and reach for new heights. The might and subtleties of the hammer demand my total attentiveness for us to work as one, and rewards me for my efforts. The magic of the fire draws me to it. Taming it as a tool is the challenge.

Photos courtesy of Jonathan H. Lee | Subtledream Photography

Maker: Toy Hacks with Thomas Smith

Nerf hacking is a new but growing hobby that has a very active international community. With 3D printing, modders are able to share ideas and have them built and tested by eager enthusiasts from around the world within days. At my maker faire booth, I’ll be showing off some highly modified Nerf blasters in various stages of completion, as well as provide tons of info about how you can easily get into this awesome hobby.

Maker: BotFeeder 3D Printing

We will be exhibit the most advanced delta 3D printer & the most safe 3D printer filament. Along with many 3d printed items for visitors to pick up and see. We will also be giving away little cute BoFee Bear to kids just like when we are exhibiting in Maker Faire Ottawa last year November. Kids are extremely happy to bring little BoFee Bear home.

Continue reading

Maker: Cigar Box Guitars with David Piasta

How did you ever get into making ‘cigar box guitars’, David?
I have been making CBGs for about 12 years…while recuperating from a hear attack I was cruising the internet and came across a site where this guy was talking about cigar box guitars. I had been building dulcimers for about 7 or 8 years already so it was an easy thing to try a CBG…I always wanted to build a 6 string guitar so I thought this would be a good starting point.

Continue reading