Turning ideas into reality

Maker Faire Singapore: Turning ideas into reality

Sophia (left) and Anjali with the board game Sophia built for the Maker Faire. Anjali built a story garden depicting scenes from popular fairy tales. They were the youngest participants.
Sophia (left) and Anjali with the board game Sophia built for the Maker Faire. Anjali built a story garden depicting scenes from popular fairy tales. They were the youngest participants.PHOTO: MATTHIAS HO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Over the weekend, Maker Faire Singapore, a gathering of inventors and creators, welcomed a record 600 makers, 330 maker booths and 78 workshops. One of the main events of the Singapore Science Festival 2016, Maker Faire Singapore was held at the Singapore University of Technology and Design. The Straits Times speaks to three makers.

Sisters Sophia and Anjali Curic spent their last weekend of the June school holidays as the two youngest participants in Maker Faire Singapore for the second year running.

"No one is too young to be a maker," Anjali, nine, said confidently.

This year, Anjali, an avid reader who goes to Bukit View Primary, built a story garden inspired by Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree. Using recycled home materials and real plants, the garden depicts scenes from popular fairy tales like Cinderella and The Ugly Duckling.

Visitors to the Faire were given a chance to interact with the garden and have a go at creating their own stories.

Sophia, seven, on her part, built an interactive board game called Escape From Jurassic Park.

Part card game, 3D art and robotics, the board game challenges visitors to solve a quest by navigating characters across raging rivers, crossing dangerous bridges, outwitting a robotic dinosaur and tiny robot minions to get a key and open a treasure chest.

However, the sisters' creative process is not as smooth as it sounds. The girls explained that the creative processes of trying and experimenting, failing and succeeding were essential to their projects.

Their parents, Dr Kiruthika Ramanathan Curic, 34, a senior manager at the Singapore Science Centre, and her husband, Dr Adrian Curic, 39, a computer engineer, are huge supporters of their daughters' creativity.

Their mother said: "The want or need to make things is something that is embedded in all of us. It is just something so human."

With the growing number of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programmes, the couple also encouraged their daughters in learning how to program and code from an early age as they felt that it taught them to test their ideas and solve problems.

Their mother said: "These STEM programmes are good in encouraging problem-solving. However, sometimes, to allow more creativity and innovation, we must allow children to take the lead. We shouldn't impose on them problems we want addressed.

"We have to take a step back and give them space to identify for themselves what they want to solve."


Never too old for a new hobby


Mr Davy Young's ceramic leaf creations were a result of his love of the varied textures of nature and keen eye for detail. ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

Mr Davy Young, 69, faithfully creates clay replicas of natural leaves, selling his creations under his label, Leaves with Memories. The retiree is this year's oldest participant in Maker Faire Singapore, an event that celebrates innovation, creativity and resourcefulness.

In 2001, he took up pottery as a hobby in preparation for his twilight years. His eye for detail, love of texture and affinity for nature led him to focus on ceramic leaves.

By a stroke of luck, his daughter saw British artist Judy Brown's ceramic leaves in a magazine back in 2003. Curious to learn the craft, Mr Young e-mailed her and she gave him basic pottery advice.

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Hovering above the rest


Kartikey atop his hoverboard, with team members (from left) Jeffrey Teo, Vairavan Ramanathan, Jerome Castaneda and Dennis Chu. The craft was created using two leaf blowers and discarded plastics. PHOTO: MATTHIAS HO FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Dismantling a remote control car was what first ignited the passion of Kartikey Agarwal, then 10, for making and creating.

Now 13, the Grade 9 student of Overseas Family School led the Hovercraft Team, one of the teams at Maker Faire Singapore.

Kartikey, attending the Faire for the first time as a maker, designed a hovercraft with a wooden base floating above cushions of air, created using two leaf blowers and plastics discarded around Farrer Road.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2016, with the headline 'Not too young to be inventors'. Print Edition | Subscribe