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Charlotte Mini Maker Faire at Discovery Place #CLTMakerFaire

The first Charlotte Mini Maker Faire will take place at Discovery Place on Saturday, October 10, 2015. Makers call it the Greatest Show (& Tell) on Earth (and we’re not ones to disagree!). Maker Faire is part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new! As a celebration of the Maker Movement, it’s a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity, and resourcefulness. Charlotte’s first Mini Maker Faire will be a place where local vendors can show what they are making, and share what they are learning with the community.

More than 70 makers (shared below) from across the Carolinas will exhibit at the Charlotte Mini Maker Faire, from tech enthusiasts to crafters, homesteaders to scientists, professionals to garage tinkerers. You’re never too old to learn new tricks, or find inspiration, and Makers of all ages and backgrounds and will allow attendees to participate in a great day of learning and doing.

“Charlotte has a very strong community of innovators, and we are thrilled Discovery Place has the opportunity to help showcase and celebrate the people who make our city a great place to live and work,” said Catherine Wilson Horne, president and CEO of Discovery Place, Inc. “Our goal is to educate and engage the local community with the Maker movement in order to attract and inspire curious thinkers, doers and learners, in addition to serving as a platform for local and regional talent.”

In addition to launching Charlotte’s first Maker Faire, earlier this year Discovery Place was invited to present at the National Maker Faire in Washington, DC to showcase how Discovery Place brings Make to the community through education. With Museum exhibits like Think It Up! and Innovate 301, a free community outreach initiative introducing residents to the Maker movement,  the hope for launching Charlotte’s own Maker Faire is to bring Charlotte’s curious people together in order to continue growing this increasing community of local innovators.

What Can I Expect?

You’ll find Makers of all kinds, attractions and performances, presentations, and many hands-on activities to get ignite the fire in you to become a Maker.

Highlights of the Charlotte Maker Faire include:

· A 3D Printed Shelby Cobra sports car created in collaboration with the Department of Energy, Oakridge National Labs and TruDesign! This car represents the future of automobile manufacturing from 3D printing to electric power. (The Shelby Cobra is my dream car. I’m hoping they let me take it home!)

· Carolina Combat Robots brings you BotHockey where you can practice the perfect hat trick, and then watch a pair of mechanical gladiators duke it out in the Robot Combat arena.

· Take up-cycling to a whole new level as The Scrap Exchange brings barrels of doo-dads and knick-knacks for you to piece together something amazing to take home.

· Watch the power of electricity unfold as thousands of volts of electricity are harnessed for Musical Tesla Coils, producing sparks up to two feet long.

· The world’s first 3D printed kayak, created by Grass Roots Engineering founder, Jim Smith.

Inside Discovery Place, more than 50 different makers stationed on all three levels of the Museum. Hands-on workshops and demonstrations will take place every hour, on the hour between 11:00 a.m. to 3:oo p.m. Workshops have a capacity of 25-30 guests on a first come, first serve basis, so don’t miss out on the fun! 

Outside on Tryon Street, you can explore additional makers and enjoy popular food trucks like Street Spice, Mae’s Creole Kitchen, King of Pops and Roman’s Icy Treats. There will be performances throughout the day at MAX, UNC Charlotte’s Mobile Arts and Community Experience stage created by Boxman Studios. This former shipping container has been transformed into a performance stage that features over 16 feet of decking and rock-n-roll trussing. Stop by the MAX stage to check out the performance schedule.

We have listed all of the Makers who are going to be at the Charlotte Mini Maker Faire below so you can get a jump start on planning your day! 

Attend the Maker Faire: 
The Maker Faire will be held at Discovery Place on Saturday, October 10th from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. both inside the Museum and along N. Tryon Street between 6th and 7th Streets.

Outdoor exhibits on N. Tryon St are free and open to the public. Indoor exhibits and workshops are included with Discovery Place admission: $15 for adults (ages 14-59), $12 for children (ages 2-13) and Seniors (ages 60+) plus any applicable sales and use taxes, and free for children younger than age 2 and Discovery Place Members. Parking is not included. Tickets are now on sale at cltmakerfaire.org. Advance purchase is recommended.

About Charlotte Maker Faire:

For more information, visit cltmakerfaire.org or join Charlotte’s online Maker community on Facebook, Google+, or Twitter at @CLTMakerFaire. Check out all the fun at #CLTMakerFaire.

Charlotte Mini Maker Faire is independently organized and operated by Discovery Place, Inc. under license from Maker Media, Inc.

About Discovery Place

One of the top hands-on science museums in the nation, Discovery Place provides ever-changing, entertaining facilities that engage people in the active exploration of science and nature. The Museum brings relevant, contemporary science to life through groundbreaking exhibitions, interactive educational programming and hands-on activities.

Discovery Place is located in uptown Charlotte at 301 N. Tryon Street. Convenient parking is available in the Museum’s parking deck – the Carol Grotnes Belk Complex – at the corner of Sixth and Church Streets. For more information about Discovery Place, call 704.372.6261, visit discoveryplace.org or connect with Discovery Place on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Discovery Place, Inc. owns and operates Discovery Place, Charlotte Nature Museum, Discovery Place KIDS-Huntersville and Discovery Place KIDS-Rockingham and is supported, in part, with funding from the Arts & Science Council.

About Maker Faire

Maker Faire is the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth—a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement. It’s a place where people show what they are making, and share what they are learning.

Makers range from tech enthusiasts to crafters to homesteaders to scientists to garage tinkerers. They are of all ages and backgrounds. The aim of Maker Faire is to entertain, inform, connect and grow this community.

The original Maker Faire event was held in San Mateo, CA and in 2015 celebrated its tenth annual show with some 1100+ makers and 145,000 people in attendance. World Maker Faire New York, the other flagship event, has grown in four years to 600+ makers and 80,000 attendees. Detroit, Kansas City, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Orlando, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Silver Spring, Ottawa, Lisbon, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Newcastle, Hannover, Oslo, Trondheim, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei, Tokyo, and Shenzhen are the home of larger-scale, “featured” Maker Faires. In addition, over 120 community-driven, independently organized Mini Maker Faires are now being produced around the United States and the world—including right here in Charlotte.

About MAKE Magazine

MAKE is the first magazine devoted entirely to Do-It-Yourself (DIY) technology projects. MAKE unites, inspires, informs, and entertains a growing community of resourceful people who undertake amazing projects in their backyards, basements, and garages. MAKE celebrates your right to tweak, hack, and bend any technology to your will.

Exhibitors List – 2015

Inside Discovery Place:

3D Hubs Charlotte Community

Come explore the world of 3D printing! This group of makers will demonstrate how the 3D printing process works and will showcase the different types of 3D technology. You could even see a 3D-scanned image of your head!

3D-printed Shelby Cobra

A 3D-printed replica of a 1965 Shelby Cobra sports car will be motoring to Charlotte. Created by the Department of Energy at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Shelby is printed out of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic and took six weeks to complete. This laboratory on wheels showcases modern additive manufacturing and rapid prototyping technology.

3D Printers with ComputerSource,3D printers, too!

Get up close to with some of the top 3D printing companies in the world such as Makerbot, Printrbot, SeeMeCNC and LulzBot. ComputerSource,3D printers, too will be on-hand to answer any of your 3D printer questions!


Meet the team that started the 3D printing revolution. Attendees will have a front-seat view of two of the most popular and innovative 3D printers in the industry.

A-to-Z Publishing

Founded in 2008, A-to-Z Publishing creates books with a cultural twist or positive message that children love to read! These stories have a special focus on bringing children and families closer to their culture, language and traditions.

Act/React UNO/PI

If you think Raspberry Pi is a baked good, you need to stop by this booth! Learn how these tiny computers have changed the way kids interact with technology by programming fun robot creations.

Alamance Makers Guild

Based out of Alamance County, NC this Makers Guild is also the host of the Burlington Mini Maker Faire. Meet the makers of the guild and explore their favorite tinkerings including network cameras, solar powered electricity and even an R2DCube droid.

Build Your Own Home Automation

Interact with smart-connected gadgets and gizmos as you explore how your cellphone can control trinkets and electronics in your home! The QR Code has never been so powerful.

Carolina Battle Bots

Get ready to battle! Meet the makers and organizers of Charlotte’s local robotic combat competitions. Guests will get to maneuver their own robot competitors in a round of Bot Hockey.

Central Piedmont Community College: Computer Engineering

Have you ever played Tic-Tac-Toe with a robot? Check out Microprocessor Lab demonstrations with CPCC’s Computer Engineering department and explore some of the cutting edge technology they are working with, like a Block Stacker Robot arm!

Central Piedmont Community College: Fab Ed Carolina

Fab Ed Carolina is housed in Central Piedmont Community College as part of the Engineering Program within the Engineering Technology Division. Fab Ed Carolina’s primarily integrates personal fabrication, engineering education and entrepreneurship for the Charlotte Region.

Charlotte FPV Racing League

Find out what first-person-view racing is about with the Charlotte FPV Racing League. The group builds, flies and races radio-controlled air vehicles, often referred to as drones. Members use custom made and off the shelf components to build their aircraft and get together regularly to share ideas, fly and race.


Come play with clay!  Try your hand at some clay creations using textures and various clay tools, and even try the pottery wheel. Clayworks programs are designed to facilitate an environment of artistic exchange between students, instructors and working artists.

CLT Boutique

When local artist Britt Misenheimer couldn’t find the right Mother’s Day gift for her mother after heart transplant surgery, she decided to create a bangle in memory of her donor with angel wings and a charm. Since then, her fascination and passion for taking old items and giving them a new purpose has manifested into CLT Boutique where Britt makes upcycled jewelry, accessories, pallet signs wreaths and other handmade goods.

Collett Couture

Collett Couture offers handcrafted jewelry based on elegance and positive energy featuring sterling silver, 14Kt / 12Kt gold-fill, and 24Kt gold electroplate. Designer Nicole Willis’s favorite materials to use are gemstones, which are incorporated into most of the designs.

Design Tools (or Toys) for 3D Printing!

Are 3D printers more of a tool or a toy? You decide! Stop by to explore how 3D printing can impact your life for both work and recreation.

Edison Nation- Gyro Bowl

Sometimes a spark of inspiration can create tomorrow’s next greatest invention. Stop by to meet the team at Edison Nation and one of their most successful inventions: the Gyro Bowl, a spill-resistant kids’ gyroscopic bowl with lid.

Electronic Communications

What do radios, lasers and receivers have in common? Find out here! See an authentic 1924 Atwater Kent Breadboard Radio and how modern communication technology is inspired by tools of the past.

EM Fabrication, LLC

Any way you cut it, digital fabrication is cool! Check out EM Fabrication, LLC to explore how they use CNC routing and fabrication from materials such as plywood, solid wood, acrylic and even cardboard.

Fusion3 High-Performance 3D printers

Based in Greensboro, NC, Fusion3 designs and manufactures high-performance 3D printers for education and commercial customers. Their printers offer high-speed, high-reliability printing in many materials at a fraction of the price of legacy commercial systems.

Foothills Community Workshop

You might be in for quite a shock when you meet members of the Foothills Community Workshop. This group of makers out of Granite Falls, NC enjoys making things, discovering how things work, creating new projects, and sharing skills and knowledge with others. Attendees can measure an electric charge and program vintage computer systems.

Hackerspace Charlotte

Hackerspace Charlotte is a non-profit organization where people with common interests in computers, technology or digital/electronic art can meet, socialize and collaborate. This open community lab incorporates elements of a machine shop, workshop, classroom, and studio where all kinds of hackers can come together to share resources and knowledge to build and make cool things.

Handpainted T-Shirts

No patterns or are allowed for this art project!  Express yourself by hand painting your own piece of wearable art. The spontaneity of working freehand allows the design to acquire a life of its own. The result is a true one-of-a-kind piece of art to wear that is as unique as its maker: YOU!

High Point University: Come Build with Us at HPU

This booth will be a High Point University/LEGO Education booth. Participants will build and race cars, participate in demonstrations and building challenges. Free Build will be available for those who just want to build.

Homemade Hoops and what to do with them!

Find out how to make a Homemade Hoop for dance, play or exercise using household tools and supplies from your local hardware store. View examples of the step by step process, play with a completed hoop and learn about the different methods of creating your own hoops!

Honey Bee Basics

Honey bees are among the most important creatures for food production. Meet a local maker family that builds everything for their beekeeping establishment in-house…even the bees. From building their own gear from cedar and cypress rough lumber to breeding their own bees with a gentle disposition, disease resistance and maximum honey yield, learn more about how this family helps support local bees.

Internet Enabled Dog Treat/Monitoring System

It’s hard to leave our furry friends at home, but with technology like Raspberry Pi, pet owners can now monitor and treat their pets remotely using a mobile app.

Internet of Things: Halloween

A day at the office can’t stop Dan Thyer from having a squirt gun battle with his kids, thanks to his very own Internet of Things (IoT), a home automation system that uses four different microcontrollers to operate 30 objects around his house, including a water gun. Learn more about the ways you can use this technology in your own home.

Jackson Park Elementary School: Squishy Circuits

Build your own fun electronic circuits using conductive molding clay.  Students will show you how to make your own and have fun with circuits!

Jessica Coate Designs, aka Jessica’s Jacket

You won’t believe what local designer, Jessica Coate, has up her sleeve! Stop by to see an array of handmade designs, accessories and wares that are sure to catch your eye. From Spaghetti scarves to 3D cards, this local designer has something for everyone.

Lehtela Guitar Craft

Originally from Finland, Ari Lehtela has been involved in music in North America for over three decades. Impressed by the sound and playability of local Charlotte builder, Luke Lukuer’s instruments, Ari realized that handmade was the only way to go. Lehtela guitars are truly custom instruments that are designed for the individual player.

Making Frogs with Discovery Place

Have some amphibious fun with Discovery Place’s Live Care team! Investigate the life cycle of frogs from eggs, tadpoles, froglets and adult frogs. Examine some fruit fly cultures and watch a demonstration on how these cultures are made.

Making Jellyfish with Discovery Place

Did you know Discovery Place’s jellyfish have exhibited in two countries and seven states? Learn how Discovery Place’s jellyfish propagation and research program is successfully breeding microscopic polyps and nurturing them into adulthood.

Making Sense of Sensor Data with SAS Studio

Gather sensor data using an Arduino and analyze the results using SAS Studio.  Learn about the role of Data Scientists in the Internet of Things and the kinds of math and data skills needed.  Analyze data in the cloud with just a few mouse clicks using SAS.

McClintock Middle School: Quadcopters & Other Cool Stuff

Innovative young minds using Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) to explore, learn and make!

Mirror Etching   

Find out the science of sandblasting! Local maker and artist Zach Smith will share how blasts of high pressure abrasives onto the glass can give new life to old mirrors.

Musical tesla coils

Watch the power of electricity unfold as thousands of volts of electricity are harnessed by a pair of jumbo tesla coils, producing sparks up to two feet long! These singing sparks may just spark your imagination!


You may not get to meet face-to-face the makers behind Napada handbags, but you’ll still have the opportunity to enrich their lives. Napada employs women in low-income communities in Bangkok, Thailand, who otherwise might not have a viable work opportunity and provides a creative outlet. The Napada booth will have unique, hand-crafted bags available for sale, including totes, wallets, backpacks and organizers.

Paper Rollercoasters with Makey Makey and Scratch

Using the paper templates, design and build an original marble course with jumps, turns, loops and more … all with paper! Add conductive tape and connect Makey Makeys to your coaster and control your computer when a marble touches a portion of the track.


Across the world, hundreds of thousands of people are in need of an organ transplant. What if those organs could be custom-made on 3D printers? Meet Chris Leggett, the maker behind PrintHuman, a Fayetteville, NC-based biotechnology startup that combines the 3D printing experience with the possibility of printing human organs for transplant.

Project Hub

Project Hub is a work space for local makers to collaborate, innovate and cultivate a community. This group promotes creative problem solving to real world applications for people of all ages and interests.


Meet the unique collection of robots from RoboMustache, an Asheboro, NC-based company that makes wooden robot craft kits, necklaces and other robot creations. Founder Charles Wade will be showing off robots and will have kits available for sale so you can take home your own wooden craft robot.

The Forge

This Makerspace community based in Greensboro, NC provides the tools and fosters the collaboration that will give every idea an opportunity and every creative interest an outlet.

The Pirate Box

Puzzle boxes originated in Japan around the turn of the 19th century.  With the availability of programmable microcontrollers, a new twist to the age old puzzle box can be realized. The Pirate Box is an Arduino-powered puzzle box that, after solving a mechanical puzzle, gives the user an opportunity to interact with an Arduino to solve a series of increasing difficult games and puzzles to ultimately unlock the box.

Pine Lake Preparatory School: Team SPORK

SPORK, standing for Students Providing Outreach and Robotics Kinship, is a high school robotics program through the international program FIRST.  Team SPORK strives to better the lives of high school students through the introduction to the principles of engineering, leadership, teamwork, hard work, and fun.  Each January, SPORK builds a robot for a given challenge and then competes against teams around the world.

The Scrap Exchange

Take up-cycling to a whole new level as The Scrap Exchange brings barrels of doo-dads and knick-knacks for you to piece together something amazing to take home.

Time Warner Cable

Cables can do more than just provide fast internet service! Stop by the booth to create your own cable-inspired jewelry, and even make your own flashlight to take home.

TinkerIT Makerspace at LakeNorman

The newest Makerspace to launch in North Carolina is coming to you! This makerspace is a melding of people and ideas from a variety of backgrounds coming together for the purpose of education, innovation, entertainment, and the wow. Explore their work with some hands-on demonstrations.

 University of North Carolina at Charlotte: Writing Project

Try your hand at paper engineering and stop motion video using cardboard and other materials. Then see what other students have been doing in classroom Makerspaces to deepen their learning and make a difference in their communities.

University of North Carolina at Greensboro: Student Educator Learning Factory

UNCG School of Education’s SELF (Student Educator Learning Factory) has developed a partnership with K-12 public schools in the Piedmont Triad.  Through the implementation of makerspaces in schools, the program aims to develop the mindset of teachers to shift their focus from “teaching” to “learning”.

Weaving Wonderland

Meet fiber artist Sydney Sogol whose work focuses on exploring the relationship between color and pattern through weaving, dyeing and manipulating fabrics.  Her work is inspired by her fascination with nature and biology, specifically animals. She enjoys creating pieces that range from more fine-art oriented to a more functional brand of art that people can engage and interact with.

Winthrop University: Making at Winthrop

Art, Design and Computer Science at Winthrop University from Rock Hill, SC  join together to present the exciting ways we are integrating maker technology in each discipline. Makers will demonstrate 3D modeling, present 3D printing and share a 3D virtual reality experience.


Wishbass is like a paintbrush for musicians. Explore locally handmade stringed musical instruments. Guests will have the opportunity to play instruments and see the handmade craftsmanship up close.

World’s First 3D Printed Kayak

With the technology of 3D printing, the possibilities are endless! Come see the world’s first completely 3D printed, customized kayak that was printed on a home-built, large scale 3D printer. This custom kayak measures 16ft 8in long and only cost around $500 to make, and it floats!

Outside on N Tryon St

ART INSTITUTE Fashion Design

Explore the latest in wearable design both on the runway and at the booth.  Students have incorporated wearable technology and 3D printing into form and function for everyday and a night out on the town.

Art Recycling with Queen City Metal Recycling

Express yourself through the art of recycling. Leave your artist’s mark on the Monstar Trailer and a Roll off Container, while engineers at Queen City Metal Recycling talk about recycling and its importance to our environment.

Benny’s Yard Art

Why buy it when you can create it? Meet Benny, the maker behind Benny’s Yard Art, as he creates his art from discarded pieces of metal at junkyards.

Crankin Engines

Rankin Barnes, the maker behind Crankin Engines, will share his mechanical know-how as you discover how small engines power our daily lives. Test an engine’s compression pressure, observe a cut-away engine and discover ideas for starting a home-based business as you explore engines and simple mechanical principles. Use real tools to take apart a lawn mower engine and then learn how to put it back together.

Glass Creations with Shed Brand Studios

Learn about the art of fused glass and stained glass with Charlotte-based Shed Brand Studios.

Explore the stages of producing a fused glass piece, as well as samples of completed fused glass bowls, mandalas and stained glass pieces. Then try your hand at this colorful art process.

Idea Box at Main Library

Think out of the box with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Main Library. Join them for some fun with Makey Makey Operation, Storytelling, and other events. Then hop on over to the Main Library to explore their makerspace, Idea Box, for extended fun!

MAX stage: Mobile Arts and Community Experience

This once shipping container is now a state-of-the-art, portable theatre and think tank. Performances will take place throughout the day including a Maker’s Fashion Show performances by DrumStrong Drum Circle, UNC Charlotte’s Nouveau Sud Project, dance troupe, jazz performers and Commedia Troupe. Check the stage for Showtimes.

Making Things with 3D Printers

We’re on a roll with make! Explore this marble maze and kinetic sculpture and how 3D printers can be used to create hours of fun. Then see a 3D Delta printer in action.

Pine Lake Preparatory Middle School: Robotics

Pine Lake Preparatory Middle School participates annually in the FIRST LEGO League challenge.  With three parts to the competition, students design solutions to a themed problem, design and build robots to score points on an obstacle course, and work together in the spirit of our core values.  Visit them as they share their innovative solutions and competition robots!


Have you ever wanted to turn a thrift store find into something colorful and truly unique? Customize that second-hand shirt with Re-Tyed, which makes re-purposed/re-newed /re-awesomed clothing made from thrift stores. Shirts will be available for attendees to dye, while supplies last.

Rock & Roll BBQ

Meet the ultimate tailgate maker! The maker behind the Rock & Roll BBQ has transformed tailgating forever with illuminated, automatic corn-hole boards and the coolest seating in town – the Cubicle Racer. Take a wild ride on this automatic office chair.

Rocketry of Central Carolina

Experience the thrill of modern hobby rocketry! Rocketry of Central Carolina is a high power rocketry club located in the Charlotte area that explores everything from the smaller “Estes” rockets to large rockets like you may have seen on the Discovery Channel.  Stop in and chat!


Did you know the leader in CNC routers is based in North Carolina? This local company has changed the way makers cut materials using computer controlled routers. Stop by their booth to see some demonstrations and ask about a behind-the-scenes tour to visit Discovery Place’s giant Shopbot CNC Router in the exhibits shop (space limited).


Take the Maker Faire home with you in SHOPScience’s maker shop. From robotics to circuitry, find your favorite kit to take home. You could end up being America’s next greatest maker!


Meet local maker Kit Kube as he shares his science-based kinetic sculpture. Attendees will observe energy decay in a variety of environments.

GUITAR: The Instrument That Rocked The World {Summer Adventure List}

Discovery Place science museum in Charlotte, NC, will always be one of my favorite places to visit in the Queen City. They consistently bring top tier exhibits to our area and I try to attend each one. I was more than pretty excited when they sent me an invitation for GUITAR: The Instrument That Rocked The World. I am an audiophile whose family is filled with musicians (bluegrass) and quite a few of my friends gig professionally in bands.

This traveling exhibit is truly one for every age group. GUITAR explores the history of the world’s most recognized musical instrument in this fully immersive exhibition that showcases nearly 100 historical artifacts, including more than 60 guitars. It has made my Summer Adventure List, not just because of the historical and scientific significance, also because so many schools are cutting funding for music eduction. (And if you know me and Ilina, you know how important education is to us.)

GUITAR: The Instrument that Rocked the World #HandmadeNC

When I walked in, it was wall to wall stringed instruments, along with performance video and audio, as well as hands-on interactive displays. I headed straight over to learn about guitar strings and after strumming each type, now realize why metal strings are preferred over plastic or catgut. The sound is so much better and the tone is clean and pure.

Science and Guitars

But Discovery Place is a science museum, why would they have this exhibit? Because so much of music and guitars have their basis in science. The human brain is uniquiely wired to remember musical patterns better than a series of numbers or letters. Researchers have found that seven times (i.e. numbers, facts, letters, etc.) are about the maximum that most people can keep in their memory. The exception to this is music. Much of popular music is built on riffs, which are groupings of notes that are repeated throughout a song. Our mental ability to embrace musical patterns allows us to remember long riffs when we can’t remember that many numbers.

Electric guitars also rely on electromagnetism to produce sound. Each electric guitar has a mechanism called a pickup that converts the mechanical energy of a vibrating string to an electrical signal, allowing it to be amplified, processed and reproduced. When the magnetic field of the pickup is disrupted by the vibration of a metal string, it creates a current in the copper wire. The current is transmitted through another wire to potentiometers, which are often used as tone and volume controls. The potentiometers, controlled by the knobs, adjust the frequencies in the signal that control volume and tone — just like a dimmer switch that adjusts the level of light from a bulb.

Sound can be measured. Sound waves move through the air, which creates pressure. The speed of sound is around 343 meters per second. You hear noises because your ears respond to this pressure. Decibels are the units for measuring sound pressure, just like the inches are units for measuring length. One a decibel scale, the louder the sound, the higher the number decibels. Zero decibels is the softest sound that can be hears and 194 decibels is the loudest sound that can be created.

Highlights of GUITAR

One of the highlights of the exhibit is the world’s largest playable guitar, a 2,255 pound, 16 foot wide and 43.5 feet long replica of the Gibson Flying V. This Flying V was prototyped in 1957 and released into production in 1958. The list of well-known musicians who have played the Flying V range from Metallica’s Kirk Hammett, Jimi Hendrix, Paul Stanley of Kiss, and Eddie Van Halen, to name a few.

Other iconic instruments include the Rock Ock, the world’s only playable 8-neck guitar; a PRS Dragon guitar inlaid with 238 pieces of gold, red and green abalone, mother of pearl and the ivory of a wooly mammoth; a Ztar Z7S synthesizer guitar with a button for every fret and string (204 in total); and early Fender Gibson, Ovation and Martin Guitars that date as far back as 1806.

In the hands-on gallery, you can:

• Strum the world’s largest playable guitar, a 43-foot long replica of a Gibson Flying V
• Test your musical memory by playing challenge riffs on a virtual fretboard
• Bang out a beat on a variety of wood types. Which sounds the best?
• “Freeze” a vibrating string using a strobe light
• Design your own dream guitar

The rare instrument exhibit includes over 60 remarkable instruments such as:

• Early Fender, Gibson, Ovation, and Martin guitars (from circa 1835 to present)
• A Ztar Z7S synthesizer guitar with a button for every fret and string – 204 in all
• The Rock Ock, the only playable guitar with 8 necks
• A stunning PRS Dragon guitar inlayed with 238 pieces of gold, red and green abalone; mother of pearl; and woolly mammoth ivory
• Guitars with outrageous paint jobs and shapes designed for rockers like ​Steve Vai


Plan you visit to Discovery Place. GUITAR will be on exhibit from May 30, 2015 – September 7, 2015 and is covered by regular museum admission fees.

The following artists, manufacturers, luthiers, and collectors have provided instruments, information, and/or support to the collection: 

  • Steve Vai
  • Joe Bonamassa
  • Liona Boyd
  • Vic Flick
  • Johnny Winter
  • Adrian Belew
  • C.F. Martin and Company
  • Fender Musical Instruments
  • Pete Brown
  • David Hill/Nina Riccio
  • Phantom Guitarworks
  • EKO
  • National Reophonic
  • The Electrical Guitar Company
  • Dan Larson
  • Rich Maloof
  • PRS Guitars
  • Danser Guitar Works
  • Visionary Intruments
  • Starr Labs
  • XOX
  • Cochran Guitars

Six-String Saturdays at Discovery Place:

This summer, Discovery Place is activating Tryon Street with Six String Saturdays, a free music series featuring genres including jazz, pop, rock, sitar, Celtic, country, bluegrass and folk.

Enjoy live music on the patio near our N. Tryon St. entrance every Saturday at 2:00 p.m. (unless otherwise noted). No Museum admission necessary.

May 30 – A Sign of the Times Duo: Van Sachs and Toni Tupponce
June 6 – Sabra Callas
June 13 – School of Rock
June 20 – SITAR from Festival of India by Amrita
June 27 – Shana Blake & Keith Shamel
July 4 – Kevin Jones & Joe Allen
July 11 – School of Rock
July 18 – Tom Billotto
July 25 – Alan Barrington
August 1 – Back Creek Bluegrass Boys
August 8 – School of Rock
August 15 – Bassments
August 22 – The High Ridge Pickers (2:00 p.m.) / Hannah Case (3:30 p.m.)
August 29 – J. L. Davis Duo
September 5 – A Sign of the Times Duo: Van Sachs and Toni Tupponce

Related links:

Summer Adventure List 2015  

April is International Guitar Month -North Carolina Edition 

#CLTBeer — Staying Local with Great Beer

Great beer under Carolina blue skies is right up our alley over here at Handmade NC, and we want to talk more about great North Carolina beer. In 2009, the beer scene in Charlotte was limited to big brands with little imagination. That changed when John Marrino opened Olde Mecklenburg Brewery in 2009, leading what was to become a booming business across the Charlotte region. North Carolina now has more craft breweries than any other state in the South.

Ilina and I both enjoy a good beer and love that craft beer is a seasonal affair. We go from saisons in the spring to summery IPAs, Oktoberfests in the fall, and round our palette out with stouts and porters in winter. When I’m looking for a new beer to try, I personally head over to my favorite Charlotte purveyor, Brawley’s Beverage on Park Road.

Just how many breweries does Charlotte have? To be quite honest, I’ve lost count. But Charlotte’s Got A Lot has a list of all the breweries in the Charlotte metro area, as well as breweries that will be opening soon. Each one of the breweries are unique, all bringing their own style to the Charlotte beer scene.

Charlotte's Got A Lot!

To celebrate North Carolina’s Brewconomy and the Charlotte craft beer scene, we are going to give away a fun package from Charlotte’s Got A Lot, the official travel and tourism resource of the Charlotte metro area. Entrants must be 21 and over to enter and live in North Carolina.

#CLTBeer Giveaway on HandmadeNC

What’s in the Box?

Lenny Boy Brewing Co. Kombucha

Birdsong Brewing Co. Growler

Smoked Amber Triple C Beer Soap

Lenny Boy Brewing Co. tap handle

Beer of the Carolinas book by Daniel Hartiss

Sycamore Brewing T-shirt (size Large)

Do you want to learn more about the Charlotte Craft Beer Scene? Click here to go to the landing page over at Charlotte’s Got A Lot. There you’ll find out more information about Charlotte breweries, beer and bottle shops, festivals, and beer tours.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Fill Your Easter Basket With NC Treats

The Easter Bunny is a procrastinator. You’d think all that sugar fuels him to hop around like…well, the Energizer Bunny. Alas, he lacks organizational skills. If your Easter Bunny needs a boost this season, hop on over to fill your basket with state fare.

If there’s one state that can boast the motherlode of locally made Easter basket gems, it’s North Carolina. We have curated some ideas to make your bunny’s job easier. Shopping locally bolster’s our state’s economy, of course, but filling your basketwith  local fare truly makes for a unique gift that makes a difference.

Fill your Easter Basket with NC Treats

Piedmont Candy Company is one of the last vestiges of a family owned candy company with production in the United States. It’s based in Lexington, NC, home of more than barbecue. Try the Puffs in the citrus and fruit flavors.

Piedmont Candy Peppermint Puffs #HandmadeNC


Chapel Hill Toffee, Videri Chocolate Factory, and The Secret Chocolatier will satiate your chocolate cravings way better than a waxy, hollow chocolate bunny.

Videri Chocolate Factory #HandmadeNC The Secret Chocolatier #HandmadeNC

Chapel Hill Toffee #HandmadeNC

Crude Bitters & Sodas has a wonderful selection of unique bitters and shrubs. I cast my vote for the Pineapple Ginger schrub. Serve it up with some Topo vodka for the grown ups. I mean really, Easter baskets aren’t just for kids, right?

Crude Bitters Pineapple Ginger Shrub -- #HandmadeNC

Big Spoon Roasters’ Peanut Cocoa Butter isn’t a body butter but it is a balm for the soul. Eat it off the spoon. Founder Mark Overbay’s favorite snack is a big ol’ spoon of peanut butter straight from the jar. Mine too.

Big Spoon Roasters Peanut Cocoa Butter #HandmadeNC

Tonya’s Cookies are the best kind of homemade treat…they are made in someone else’s home! Tonya comes from good kitchen stock; Chapel Hill’s famous Mama Dip’s is her grandmother’s restaurant. The ever so tasty White Chocolate Pecan Crisp is my favorite.

Tonya's Cookies White Chocolate Pecan Crisp #HandmadeNC

Counter Culture Coffee will be a hit among the adults who woke up for a sunrise church service. Try the #46.

MISSING CHILD – Help Find Jewel Fitzgerald

We never imagined human trafficking would hit so close to home, literally and figuratively. Our friend’s cousin is missing. It is believed she has been kidnapped by a ring in North Carolina, and she is suspected to be as far away as California.

Jewel Fitzgerald

14 years old (Let that sink in.) Birthday May 5, 2000

5ft 3 inches tall, 112 lbs

Last seen on the way to Northwest School of the Arts in Charlotte, NC on Wednesday, March 25

Jewel was last seen leaving home for school but never made it there. Please share this post this far and wide. If you have info please call 917-209-4851.


We Help the Missing

National Human Trafficking Resource Center


The Secret Chocolatier

Everyone has their favorite decadent treat(s). Mine are bon bons and sea salt chocolate butter toffee from The Secret Chocolatier in Charlotte, NC. Owned by the Dietz and Ciordia families, The Secret Chocolatier was conceived when Chef Bill Dietz found himself at a career crossroads. He called a family meeting with his wife, Karen, their daughter Robin Ciordia and her husband Andy, and the four foodies decided to take the plunge into entrepreneurship. Three years later, after building a following at local farmers markets and retailers, they responded to public demand for a storefront where customers could get their chocolate moment five days a week.

The Secret Chocolatier #HandmadeNC

How good are they? Famed food critic, Helen Schwab from the Charlotte Observer proclaimed:

“In Timothy Leary’s eight-circuit model of consciousness, the eighth circuit is the one you need to get to for out-of-body experiences. Here’s a shortcut: Truffles from the Secret Chocolatier”

Their use of American craft chocolate, which is chopped and melted with hot cream to be whisked into silky ganache is a beautiful assault on the senses. It is full-bodied with a character akin to Frank Sinatra’s stage act. Saucy, yet robust. Combine that with fillings created in house from all natural ingredients, with nary a flavoring oil or extract in sight, and you have a chocolate ready for its Academy Award.

Andy and I met on Twitter in 2007 and struck up a fast friendship. When I heard about this tasty venture, I headed over to the Atherton Market in the South End section of Charlotte to test their wares. My first purchase was chocolate brownies. What’s so special about a chocolate brownie? When it is the perfectly sized three inch brownie enrobed in creamy chocolate creating a bit of heaven in every bite. More importantly, it passed the test of the pickiest chocolate connoisseur I know, my son.

I spent some time at The Secret Chocolatier before Christmas and learned how to make some of their products. It is a laborious process filled with love and marked by serious craftsmanship. During the time I was there, we created vanilla bon bons. The time to create these delectable treats is one and a half hours from start to finish. It doesn’t matter if it is one bon bon, or twenty dozen, that is how long the process takes.

Chocolate tempering at The Secret Chocolatier #HandmadeNC

Tempering chocolate at The Secret Chocolatier in Charlotte, NC.

Another lady who was with me on this field trip confided “I never understood why chocolate was priced the way it is until today. Now I won’t hesitate buying good chocolate.”

The entire premise behind The Secret Chocolatier is to create artisan chocolates. Chocolate is a family business and the Ciordia and Dietz families want their customers to feel like they are part of the family as well. Amazing corporate gifts are created via the concierge service, along with unique wedding ideas that will satisfy any bride.

Vanilla Bon Bon's at The Secret Chocolatier in Charlotte, NC #HandMadeNC

Vanilla Bon Bons

You can find The Secret Chocolatier at the locations in Charlotte (listed below) or order online from their website.

Each Bon Bon is filled by hand at The Secret Chocolatier in Charlotte, NC. #HandmadeNC

Bon Bons being filled by hand.


Romare Bearden Park — Charlotte, NC

In honor of Black History Month in North Carolina, I’m going to kick things off with Romare Bearden Park located in Uptown Charlotte. (Not to worry, Handmade NC will be sharing more about the life and works of Mr. Bearden later this month.) This 5.4 acre public park is named in honor of Charlotte born artist, Romare Bearden, and opened August 2013.

When life has been hectic, Bearden park is a spot I find myself at time and time again. Always changing, I like sit and study the sections while I host an internal debate on which pieces of Bearden’s work are represented in different sections as I stroll or sit on one of the many benches available to visitors. My husband works one block away from this gorgeous spot and it is one of our favorite meeting places for lunch.

Bearden was born in 1911 in his great-grandparents’ house at the corner of Second (now MLK Jr. Boulevard.) and Graham Street in Uptown, a short walk from his namesake park which is based on Bearden’s collages and paintings, a creative music “playground” and a colorful waterfall that has become a popular photo backdrop. Plants and flowers were planned to bring to life the work of Bearden through nature. Among the lush landscaping, you find fitness classes, impromptu jam sessions from local musicians, workday lunch breaks, romantic strolls, planned festivals, and inspiration.

“The park design is based on the work of public artist Norie Sato. Her concepts were inspired by Bearden’s multimedia collages where he used memory, experiences and tradition as the basis of his work. For example, the main pathway that bisects the park from Church Street to the main plaza of the future Charlotte Knights Ballpark is named the Evocative Spine, named as such to represent the way Bearden created his work by ‘evoking’ his childhood memories. Two other features of the park, Madeline’s and Maudell’s gardens, represent how Bearden used the memory of the beautiful garden’s kept by his mother and grandmother to inspire his art.” – Charlotte Center City Partners

Evoking Bearden and his use of memory as triggers for past experience, the elements of the park represents how he worked and the imagery he used to channel the spirit of his life and artwork.

To learn more about Romare Bearden Park and the concepts behind it’s development, please visit the Bearden Foundation.


Romare Bearden Park is located at 300 S. Church Street, Charlotte, NC.

Many thanks to James Willamor, founder of Croquet Records, a nonprofit record label and songwriter incubator focused on developing and recording new and emerging artists in North Carolina, for the stunning images of Romare Bearden Park used in this post.