Restoring pieces of the past to prime condition is Mark Phenicie's vocation.
Preparing his space fleet for the end of the world is his hobby. He will show the fruits of his skill and his imagination at the second Fort Wayne Regional Maker Faire, Oct. 6 and 7 at Headwaters Park.
Everyone imagines inventions or artworks, said the president of Phenicie Furniture Restoration. “If you don't actually make things, then they were just thoughts,” he said.
Maker Faire organizers said Phenicie's work was a popular stop at the 2011 event, which attracted 65 exhibitors. Sponsors predict 90 or more artists, builders and other exhibitors will make this year's event even bigger.
As late as Thursday, producer Jane Applegate said she can find room for late entries to the event, which will fill Headwaters Park East and the Lincoln Pavilion and overflow into the south parking lot.
Applegate, the owner of ExitZero Communications, also is a board member of TekVenture, which sponsors the fair. She and TekVenture President Greg Jacobs agreed that work such as Phenicie's demonstrates the rewards of cultivating and showcasing imagination in the community.
For Phenicie, each day is a chance to restore the appeal of family heirlooms that customers bring to his Huntertown shop. “We have Grandma's rocking chair that needs to be restored,” he said as he led a guest through his work room. “Here's a trunk, here's an old Windsor chair, behind it is a piece that somebody got in a garage sale; they want it refinished. All of a sudden, we got a flood of highchairs.”
Phenicie refinishes wood, and locates or replicates vintage handles, hinges and other hardware. He sees a connection between that vocation and the science fiction armada he builds from discarded scraps of metal. “Furniture is a visual thing, too,” he said as he stood surrounded by examples of his work.
Customers noticed his hobby creations before the first local Maker Faire in 2011, and suggested that event organizers invite him to showcase his works. He accepted, and was pleased to find visitors examining and photographing his art.