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Makerspace invites folks to make costumes & more

Photo by Doug Loyer Makerspace Creative Arts instructor Maddy Grant puts resin in the power core mold.

Makerspace is working to nurture creativity through programs like “Costume Saturday” as people in the community had an opportunity to create or enhance their own unique Halloween costumes.

Located at 107 Lancaster St. in Harmar, Makerspace is a project of Building Bridges to Careers (BB2C) with the main goal of bridging the gap between education and employment through different programs. Makerspace along with the Business Incubator is under the Building Bridges to Careers umbrella.

Makerspace’s goal is to bring together people that are makers or people that are interested in making anything. Makerspace now has six distinct spaces of expertise: Woodshop Space; Fiber Arts Space, which includes sewing, knitting and cross stitch; Laser Space with laser cutters; Tech Space that has 3-D printers and vinyl cutters; Stained Glass Space which is a complete stained glass workshop; and the Creative Arts Space, which features painting and crafts.

Anyone in the community can come in and take classes or they can become a Makerspace member. The class fee covers the materials. The classes usually have five people or less in them and it gives people an opportunity to learn a new skill. Members have access to all six of the spaces and can make their own things with the added benefit of expert assistance or someone to bounce ideas off.

Makerspace gives members access to many tools that they might not ordinarily have and they can learn something new or hone their skills. It may help raise the bar on their passion.

Brad Hemmerly, BB2C Makerspace coordinator, said Building Bridges to Careers started the Makerspace and secured all of its funding.

“In addition to being open to the community with classes and memberships, we work with schools,” Hemmerly said. “Teachers learn how they can apply it to their classes. High schools and middle schools bring their classes over to do activities. It helps to give kids exposure to careers that exist.”

“We are trying to create a space for the community to be able to come and create things,” said Tonya Davis, Building Bridges to Careers Coordinator. “That can possibly lead them into finding skills that they didn’t know they had and maybe even lead to a career. Maybe they can make a prototype, sell it and start a business. We’ve kind of gotten away from hands-on experiences and we want to provide that for area students and the community. School groups do different activities in our Makerspace areas and that can help them find out if they really like something.”

“Today, we’re having ‘Costume Saturday’ where people can come in and get help with their Halloween costumes with our experts,” Hemmerly said of Saturday’s event. “We have sewing and creative arts areas that can help with props and things that can supplement their costumes.”

Brady Anderson, 11, of Williamstown, came to the class Saturday with ideas on how to create a Halloween costume for his own unique character he thought up which he called “Infinite Watch,” a mix between Fortnite, Overwatch and Marvel.

“Makerspace is cool,” said Anderson. “We’re working on making my costume by making a mask, sword, power core and a gauntlet.”

“My son loves being here,” smiled Brady’s mother, Tonya Davis. “He would be here all the time if I let him. He is very creative. Makerspace gives him the opportunity to bring things to reality. To have a place to bring him to make his dreams come true is amazing. This is all he’ll talk about for months.”

“We’re helping Brady bring his character to life,” said Makerspace Creative Arts instructor Maddy Grant, one of several instructors that helped Brady. “With this particular project, we’re using UV resin, acrylic and spray paint and lights.”

Grant said her art teacher in high school changed her life and she feels the small class sizes at Makerspace allows her to give personal attention and that really makes a difference.

Makerspace Fiber Arts instructor Ann Siegfried has also found her niche.

“I love doing this. This is my thing,” said Siegfried. “I’ve been sewing for a long time and now I’m getting to teach it and pass it on. It feels great. It’s refreshing.”

Siegfried said it’s nice to see mothers and daughters or granddaughters come in and take classes together, a sort of a generational passing on of sewing. After they sit down and learn, they are no longer intimidated and start to gain confidence. Other times she said people just need a little help with something that they’re working on.

Matt Johnson, of Marietta, is a Makerspace member and utilizes a lot of the Makerspace areas. Saturday he was helping with creating a sword and power core for Brady’s costume.

“I’ve always liked making things, so I like this Makerspace idea,” said Johnson. “I get to use the laser cutters, 3-D printers and stuff like that. It’s great to have access to them.

“Right now, I’m laser-cutting a power core that will be used with Brady’s costume,” said Johnson. “It will then be filled in with epoxy to make his symbol. I like to help people and we bounce ideas off of each other. A lot of things that I like to make is a learning process. We learn together.”

Another “Costume Saturday” will be held next Saturday, Oct. 26. For more information about Makerspace classes, membership and Building Bridges to Careers, visit buildingbridgestocareers.org.

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