Category Archives: Maker Mondays

Maker Mondays: Queen City Clay

For a certain generation of people, clay has become a conduit to romance thanks to a certain scene in “Ghost.” Patrick Swayze aside, clay is, and always has been, art. This blob of goo transforms into incredible figures, structures or practical pieces in the muddy hands of a skilled artist. And in unskilled hands it becomes a charming Father’s Day gift and pencil holder. queen-city-clay

Queen City Clay, located in Oakley, is one of the largest public ceramics studios and clay retail shops in the country. And they believes you’re more than just a pencil holder in a world of ornate vases, bowls and pitchers. Because really, it’s not the product that’s important to them. It’s the process. They foster the human impulse to create and believe that the shared experience of creating ideas and objects improves a person’s overall well being. That’s why they offer lessons, pottery painting and open wheel nights and private events. They can help teach you how to throw on a wheel and turn a chunk of clay into a perfectly-proportioned bowl or they can let you just go for it. queen-city-clay-3

Their influence extends beyond the studio, though. They play an important role in arts education in the community. They supply schools throughout the region with materials and training and they offer internships and an artist-in-residence program. And for even younger artists they offer classes and summer camps through the Art Workshop.

You can catch up with Queen City Clay at Cincinnati Mini Maker Faire October 8 & 9 at the Hamilton County Fairgrounds. Purchase one of their masterpieces or try your own hand at ceramics. Hey, maybe your skills far surpass pencil holder. You never know until you get your hands dirty.

For more information on Queen City Clay visit


Maker Mondays: OKILUG

SNOT (Studs Not On Top). Just one club reference to the little dots on the top of LEGO bricks, and the mortar that holds together the incredible creations of the Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana LEGO Users Group (OKILUG), new Makers at this year’s Cincinnati Mini Maker Faire. Using nothing more than what comes in any regular LEGO kit – no glue, no color alterations, no special or cut pieces – OKILUG has built masterpieces using a toy that most of us grew up playing with and have grown old stepping on.

But OKILUG skips the instructions sheets that come with their LEGO bricks. A pile of bricks to them isn’t an overwhelming mess or a sadistic parent torture device (watch your bare feet!). It’s a life-size bust of the Green Lantern. Or a city scene populated with your favorite cartoon and comic book characters. Or, well, anything. OKILUG members see a pile of possibilities, envisioning a world made of bricks as they start to piece together an architectural landmark.

This year at Cincinnati Mini Maker Faire, they’ll be building a LEGO wonderland, brick-by-brick, complete with running trains and dotted with local landmarks like the Tyler Davidson fountain, free built to 1/50th scale with 21 minifigs and sand green bricks, plus a massive 1/50th scale Music Hall. You can also travel to a galaxy far, far away with their special Star Wars display and kick up the dust with desperadoes and outlaws in a Wild West display.

For OKILUG, their imagination is a powerful tool, using bricks and plates to create whimsical masterpieces that’ll make you go home, climb into the attic and dig out your bin of LEGO bricks. Stop by and play along at Cincinnati Mini Maker Faire October 8 & 9. Then head home and see what you can build. Just be sure to wear shoes. LEGO bricks can be a harsh mistress.

For more information about OKILUG and to see more of their creations, visit or check out their Facebook page.

Maker Mondays: GBBN Architects

With Cincinnati Mini Maker Faire just weeks away, Maker Mondays is our way of introducing you to some of the makers you can expect to see at this year’s event.

For 58 years, GBBN Architects has been able to see things no one else can. They can see beyond existing walls and structures to visualize something different, something better, like they did when they transformed the Aronoff Center for the Arts. They can see an empty lot and visualize a baseball stadium with 42,000 cheering fans, like they did when they designed Great American Ballpark. They can see a hospital and visualize a center that can change the lives of families from across the country, like they did at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

“At GBBN, our purpose is to craft thoughtful design solutions that elevate our clients and communities today and tomorrow. For each project we undertake, our goal is to find poetry in problem solving and make spaces and places that inspire joy.”

GBBN most recently looked at Union Terminal and saw beyond the limestone and brick façade of a national historic landmark to see the steel structure underneath. Working with Truescan3D, they collected over 2 terabytes of data and used 4.3 billion data points to create a 3D model of Union Terminal, both inside and outside, as well as the dizzying steel skeleton in between. GBBN and Turner Construction Company will use those scans to guide them through the 2 ½ year restoration of Union Terminal. Take a quick 3D tour of Union Terminal here.

As Cincinnati Mini Maker Faire first timers, GBBN is excited to share their work with the community in a new way and with a new perspective. Several of their designers and architects will be on hand to share the technology and tools they use to transform communities. They’ll show interactive videos of their 3D scans and will even have a 3D printer on hand to print some examples of their work.

You can learn more about GBBN Architects at their website or meet them yourself at Cincinnati Mini Maker Faire October 8 & 9 at the Hamilton County Fairgrounds. Visit for more details.

#MakerMondays – Hive13

Hive13 wide shot

When Jon Neal was a middle schooler, learning carpentry from his father, and building steam engine boats for science fairs, he didn’t imagine that one day he would be the COO of one of Cincinnati’s top maker spaces — he just wanted to make things. A couple of decades and a few coding courses later, his work at Hive13 champions a new mission: to prove that we are all better makers when we make together.

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#MakerMondays – Lakota Robotics FRC Team 1038

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Team 1038 cheers on their “Reli-cycle” robot at the 2015 FIRST Robotics Competition

With over a decade’s worth of competitions and nearly three dozen awards under their belts, the Lakota Robotics Team 1038 is jaw-dropping proof that you’re never too young to call yourself a maker.

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#MakerMondays – Maker Faire Around the World

Shenzen poster

bay area poster Cape Town Poster

From Paris to Pittsburgh, from San Diego to Seoul, the spirit of making transcends national borders, vast oceans and even language barriers. By the end of 2015, over 150 Maker Faires will have taken place. Since seeing them all would take some killer frequent flyer miles, we’ve brought the highlights from Maker Faires across the globe right to you!

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#MakerMondays – Cincinnati Museum Center Exhibits Department

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Kinetic sandbox featured in Warren County’s Thomas C. Spellmire Water Conservation Education Exhibit

When was the last time you had a truly passionate conversation about taxidermy? Or participated in a brainstorming session to determine the best way to build a 25-foot replica of the human mouth?

For Cincinnati Museum Center’s exhibits department, this is just business as usual. And with a host of new projects in the works, you’ll want to be sure to pay the exhibits department a visit during Cincinnati Mini Maker Faire.

“We find ways to help people make a more personal connection, to feel those goose bump moments,” says Sarah Lima, exhibits business development manager.

With specialties ranging from carpentry to fiber optics to graphic design, this team of designers and fabricators champions the task of bringing history and science to life.

The Cave, for example, found in the Museum of Natural History & Science, was modeled in part after two Kentucky limestone caves – Teamers Cave in Rockcastle County and Dyches Bridge Cave in Pulaski County – and is the largest artificial cave in the U.S. Complete with subterranean waterfall and bat chamber, you may forget you’re not actually 300 feet underground!

Cincinnati in Motion, another visitor favorite, is the largest S-scale, full-motion urban layout in the nation. This 1/64 scale recreation invites guests to “ride” through early 20th century versions of Over-the-Rhine, Mount Adams and even Coney Island as working trains and streetcars zip by.

Of course, in the venturesome spirit of making, the exhibits department does not confine its work to the four walls of Museum Center. For example, when the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District needed a new, cutting-edge way to educate the community about the importance protecting our water resources, they knew exactly who to partner with.

“They said, ‘we want something more digital, more interactive, with more wow,’” explains Lima. Employing motion-sensor topography projections and heaps of kinetic sand, the team transformed a humble 24-foot trailer into a hands-on mobile museum.

Cincinnati Museum Center is truly unique because there are few other places where you’ll find so many different varieties of maker under one roof.

“There’s definitely a little bit of everything, and we all take so much joy in working together,” says Lima. “Oh! And almost everyone in our department is a musician.”

Click here for more information on Maker Faire so you don’t miss what the exhibits team might be making this year!

– Syron Townsend

#MakerMondays – The Manufactory


“If you break it, you fix it.”  That was the household mantra when Kyle Krieg, co-founder of  The Manufactory, was growing up. It’s no wonder then, that between himself, his father, Lee, and his uncle, Tom, there lies decades of experience in woodworking, welding and even building their own homes.

When the 2008 recession meant finding a new venture to supplement the family printing business, it wasn’t long before the idea to design a makerspace was hatched.

“We’re a family of makers,” said Krieg. “We just want to build the ultimate workshop.”

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