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Why the makers were popular in Florence

artigiana Firenze

The woman in this photo works with textiles. There is nothing odd about what she is doing, but she is surrounded by 3D printers, laser cutters and Arduino boards. This implies that there is, after all, a form of continuity between past, present and future knowledge.  Over the course of nine days, Popup Fablab brought the creative talents of makers and “fabbers” to the International Craft Fair in Florence, and the result was a minor success.

The photos put up on Facebook by Fab Lab Firenze (well worth looking at) show adults, youngsters, children and older people all setting to work around a table in order to create something. This could be anything: a card decorated with LED lights, an iPhone cover cut with a laser, or a wooden spoon. It didn’t matter. The important thing was that you saw it being made right there in front of you.

Apart from the workshops, there were various opportunities to get to know people involved in local ventures, setting up ambitious projects and in daily contact with others online. An initial appraisal of the ecosystem-makers is provided in  First Draft (and don’t forget Alice and Davide’s  videoblog), which includes names such as Buru-Buru, Blomming, Slowd and MakeTank.

Popup FabLab and Digital Makers afforded two excellent opportunities to describe a particular world: that of makers, fabbers and creative talents. As with all stories, you need someone to be the narrator and someone else to make the story his own. What happened in Florence was not just an exhibition, but a chance to share experiences and ideas about certain skills and the practical use we make of them.

The best way to understand what we are talking about is to listen to the words of Fab Lab Firenze. In a post on April 28th they explained why it is so important nowadays to focus on technological tools, collaborative processes, courageous attitudes and entrepreneurial flair.    

Such attitudes need to be taken into the schools and spread amongst children and young people, or into the universities where there seems to be a loss of confidence in real production. In this way, perhaps we will create fewer objects, but can hope to create future designers. Fewer products, and more producers.

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