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By Kate Campbell-Payne on

From spectacular stitching to Minecraft magic—it’s time for MakeFest

Ahead of MakeFest 2016, we asked some of the makers to tell us how they got into making and what they’re bringing for you to try.

MakeFest is our annual celebration of hands-on, do-it-yourself making. Tinkers, tailors, crafters and coders will take over the Museum of Science and Industry for a whole weekend where visitors can have a go themselves—from experts to amateurs, we’ve over 40 makers coming. Maybe you’ll discover a talent for toy hacking, a new found love for lasercutting, or get empowered by embroidery.

Picture of men learning to code


If you have heard of Python, Minecraft or Raspberry Pi but don’t know where to start, then visit the stand at MakeFest 2016. There’ll be a variety of computer science challenge activities for people of all ages and experience levels to try. There is no need to book – you can just turn up and try it (top tip: we’re usually quieter in the morning). You can also get some practical advice to help you take advantage of resources, or perhaps on how to inspire and engage young people into digital making and computer science yourself. is based in Bradford. We were established 12 months ago to inspire and engage digital makers, support the teaching of computing and promote safe, secure and appropriate use of technology. The activities will be led by me, Alan O’Donohoe, an award-winning teacher who was nominated as a BBC Make It Digital One To Watch last year. I’ve also led a number of successful projects to support digital making activities and also started the Raspberry Jam community.  See you there!

– Alan O’Donohoe, specialist leader in education at


Picture of Pixiecraft needlwork saying 'You Are My Sunshine'


I run Pixiecraft and specialise in hand embroidery. I’m completely self-taught and began sewing in 2010, despite having never even threaded a needle. Pixiecraft began with an attempt to find a creative outlet that was flexible enough to be carried around, put down and picked up again at a moment’s notice.

Hand embroidery is the perfect art to fit in with modern life, and whether working from a pattern or your own sketch, you can easily create a simple design with a beautiful effect when complete. Pixiecraft is all about creating modern, bright work that spreads joy with inspirational quotes and whimsical impressions of wildlife. I’ve a special interest in creating miniature art, working with texture and detail on pieces measuring under 4cm.

At MakeFest 2016 I’ll be running free drop-in workshops where you can learn more about hand embroidery and have a go at new stitches. I’ll be on hand to show you how, with just a few simple stitches, you can create your own piece of striking art. There will also be a range of embroidery hoop art kits and artwork available to buy.

– Katy Fenner, hand embroiderer, Pixiecraft

Addelman Steam Collection

Picture of Addelman Steam Collection stand


I’ve been fascinated by engineering and industrial heritage since I was tiny.  MSI was one of the first places where I saw steam engines.  How they fit together and how they work has always been my thing. When I was little, my Mum and Dad wouldn’t let me have a steam engine (something to do with worrying about the house being blown up!) So, I just set about building my own. That’s how Addelman Steam Collection and my K’nex models were born. They first came to MSI to the very first Mini Maker Faire (as it was called then) in 2012.

Since then the engines have become bigger and more complex. I’m into tech now, and some of the engines are even controlled by Arduino. I’ll be off to Fab Lab Manchester beforehand to make any refinements.

So come and see how my steam engines work. New this year is a huge, amazing, realistic horizontal single cylinder mill engine. I might even have a crane running. I hope it all fits in the car!

Addelman Steam Collection has lots of spare parts, so come along to talk to us and see what you can make with K’nex.

– Jake Addelman, expert K’nexer, 14 years old, the Addelman Steam Collection

MakeFest 2016 is on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 August, from 10am to 5pm. Entry is free, though certain activities may be chargeable. Most activities are recommended for ages 6 and above.



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