Maker Faire: Plastic Pixels, Light-Emitting Sculptures & More

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Pixels can take many forms, from the microscopic LCDs in Apple’s Retina display to the incandescent bulbs used in old stadium scoreboards. At SparkleMasters, sequins are the medium of choice. The Glendale, Calif., company creates what it describes as “photographic sequin imagery,” artwork that’s hand-assembled from small plastic discs in various colors.

Maker Faire logo

The technique was on display at the recent Maker Faire in San Mateo, Calif., where attendees were challenged to guess the number of sequins in the Maker Faire logo.


Inside the main exhibit hall, SparkleMasters invited people to touch the sequins in a massive photograph.

SparkleMasters photo

In Fiesta Hall, a.k.a. the “Dark Room,” San Francisco artist Christopher Schardt showed projects that use LEDs as pixels. The iPad, controlled by Schardt’s iOS app, captures video in real time and sends it to an array mounted on a wall. His technique can also display images on cylinders and other geometric forms.

Christopher Schardt's LEDs

Check out more fun stuff from Maker Faire in this slide show. Hover over the image to see a caption:

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Follow these links to learn more about the projects featured in the slide show:

  • Yael Braha’s “Tree of Changes” is an interactive sculpture fabricated from metal, LEDs and diffusive material.
  • James Peterson’s “Sessilanoid” is inspired by barnacles.
  • Sacramento, Calif., sculptor Kristen Hoard showed works fabricated from metal and LEDs.
  • Danny Scheible’s Tapigami uses masking tape as the primary medium.
  • Bay Area artist Natalie McKean creates “scratch art,” in which she scratches illustrations into a coated surface.
  • Michael Christian’s “Key Note” is a 12-foot tall sculpture constructed almost entirely from locks.
  • Robot Resurrection” is a 28-foot-tall sculpture made from airplane parts.
  • Celestial Mechanica is a 16-foot tall kinetic sculpture of the solar system.
  • Giant Cardboard Robots: “The Revolution Will Be Corrugated.”
  • The Trout Car is driven by maker Alvin Petty, best known for illustrating the cover of Metallica’s 1984 single, “Creeping Death.” He also transforms cigar boxes into electric guitars.
  • The 3Doodler is billed as the world’s first 3D printing pen.
  • Jewelry designer Jill MacKay is seeking Kickstarter funding for Liteseeds LED Stickers.
  • Siblings Marty and Robin Lawson create electronic jewelry from circuit boards.
  • Creative work from the International Guild of Knot Tyers’ Pacific Americas Branch.
  • The folks at Glovetopus offer kits for making stuffed octopi from gloves.
  • This is just a small fraction of what Maker Faire had to offer. I’ll be posting more photos and descriptions on my website over the next few weeks.


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