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Makerspace: Make whatever you want

By in Culture
A screen-printing machine sits in the new Makerspace location during the grand opening on Jan. 19, 2019.

Saskatoon Makerspace is a one-stop craft shop located on Avenue D where you can learn how to design and produce “pretty much anything.” They offer classes ranging from blacksmithing to 3D design to hand embroidery — as well as free coffee for members.

On Jan. 19, Makerspace hosted an opening party in their new location — a large, uncluttered industrial-looking space that reportedly always smells like coffee. Shanelle Plett, community manager, says the new area — which is much bigger than their previous location — allows for Makerspace to become more of a community.

“Our goal was to outgrow that space,” Plett said. “This space allows us to have 30 studios, and it allows people to come and be a part of owning the space. They feel more at home, and they get to embrace the community.”

On the Makerspace website, it says that they “want to challenge the way we view consumerism.” Plett says that they want to offer an alternative to buying cheap, lower quality items.

“In our society right now, there’s so much, and it’s so cheap to order online, so we just spend money on little things that probably won’t last very long. If you come to a space like this, you can actually build those things that you see online,” Plett said. “It’ll take you a little bit longer, but I think that the process of building something with your own hands — your own thing — is very empowering.”

The shop also says they have a focus on accessibility. Plett says this means that Makerspace opens up the possibility of designing and creating to people without the proper tools or knowledge.

“A lot of people graduate from high school, or they’re not in university anymore, and they don’t have … access to the same tools that they would have had access to,” Plett said. “We want to allow people to create whatever they want with as [few] limitations as possible, providing the tools, training and any kind of knowledge that they would need.”

A huge draw for Makerspace is its community. Plett says that around 20 of the 30 studio spaces in the new shop have already been rented.

“We have people who are here all day, every day. With a community like this, there are experts in every field,” Plett said. “There are tons of people here starting new businesses, so you can just ask people questions — the culture of sharing knowledge is huge.”

Plett says that customers also play a role in shaping the future of the shop. One of the things that Makerspace will offer in the future is a safe spray booth where people can bring in anything they want to paint. 

“Most of the time, when we want to add something new, it’s because someone has come to us and said we should do it,” Plett said. “It comes from people giving us feedback and telling us they want to see something.”

Makerspace seems like a good space to develop new interests. There are set-up costs to think about — before using any tool, you have to take a paid orientation class — and the $50 monthly fee gives you unlimited access to some tools but only a couple of hours for others before incurring further fees.

Still, once you get through the orientations, there are a variety of tools and courses available so that anyone can probably find something they like. There’s enough offered to make that $50 fee worthwhile.

Even if you don’t want the membership, keep Makerspace on your radar for classes on the Adobe Creative Cloud, hand lettering, silk printing and sewing, among many others. And if you have a design of any kind that you would like to make into something, you know where to go.

Ana Cristina Camacho / Staff Writer

Photo: Samuel James / Supplied

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