If you’ve been following our journey over the past few years (on Facebook, Instagram or locally) you may have picked up a little bit about Our Vision and our goals. I, JD, have promised to share more, and that is exactly what this post is about.
I am a woodworker and a maker – And I have been for the majority of my life. It started back in my childhood in my Dad’s workshop. My Dad had, and still does have, a great garage workshop complete with the basic tools and equipment one would need for making amazing furniture and decor out of wood (this includes a fantastic Radial Arm Saw with a keypad for depth control – a tool from before technology was common-place – and a tool I haven’t seen elsewhere…). He made several of the items that you will find around the house today, and I even got to “help” make some of them as a kid. Some of my fondest memories are of the time I spent with my Dad in his shop.
So, what was it that got me “hooked”? It may have been the first time that I smelled the aroma of Black Walnut being milled and tooled, or perhaps the first time I saw the wood grain gain new life and beauty when the varnish was applied. Whatever it was, it set me on this amazing journey full of excitement and surprises.
There’s just something about Making… I will try to clarify. If you have an idea of something in your head, something that you would like to make – and then you set out to do so…. And then you see the finished product. The final result of all of your hard work. Learning new skills or honing existing skills, working with a new material or an old favorite, using new tools and equipment or finding new ways to accomplish a task. Choosing the best design and then the best method to achieve said design. Sanding…..sanding and sanding some more. Then it comes to one of the most rewarding parts – applying the finish. There’s just something about it… A Spalted Maple Table Top may look like a dirty mess, or someone scribbled on a canvas with dark colors and it just looks plain or even ugly…. However, when you dip a cloth into the polyurethane and wipe that first coat across the surface, you witness something totally amazing. This, previously drab and unsightly, piece has gained new life. Suddenly you see the vibrant hues of blue and pink blending together over the beautiful golden tone of the Maple. It’s easy to get lost in the natural beauty that has been hidden – until this moment.
The feeling of making/building/creating something is like nothing else – whether it’s a new idea that you’ve had in your head or even planned to make, or if it’s a plan or design of something someone else had already made… Regardless of where the idea for this project came from – it’s something that YOU want to make. It’s incredible to be able to design, plan, and build something. This starts as an idea and ends as a finished product. This is a skill. Yes, some are more skilled and even naturally Gifted and Talented in this – but nevertheless, it is a skill – that ANYONE can learn, if only they were given the chance.
So, as you have already gathered by now – I love to design/make/build things. It started as just woodworking, then led to the pursuit of other materials such as metal, concrete and even synthetics such as acrylic. It’s something that comes natural to me. I’m not bragging, I just mean to say that this is a Gift that was given to me – and i do not take that lightly. My joy and passion for making and creating things is matched by my desire and drive to share this with others. This leads us to the Vision behind everything.
I have been working to grow this business so that it will not only be a functioning workshop (woodworking, metal working, welding, lumber milling, etc) but also an outreach effort to encourage and support creativity. Over the past year there were many great examples success with this. We have had interns, 1-on-1 sessions, classes and even a regular weekly group session. (you may have seen this on our social media. The life group, the customer built toolbox, the mallet and hand tools class and intern pics) These experiences were a great learning experience and definitely a step in the right direction.
The Vision can be summarized many ways. It is our vision that ANYONE should have the access to the skills, tools/equipment, materials and space needed to explore their creative ideas and to be afforded the opportunity to make.
I see a facility that consists of many different approaches. Individual Maker Spaces for those who need a place to explore their hobby, or to grow their own business. A space (or spaces) for classes – to accommodate larger groups to learn specific skills or to build a particular project. Technology department – 3D printers, cnc, lasers and more available to explore various design, prototyping and manufacturing interests. And at the heart of all this, the workshop. We are and will continue to work as a fully functioning wood shop/maker shop. We will continue to offer intern and apprenticeship programs – providing the experience and skills necessary to pursue a career in various endeavors, or to stay with us. As we continue to grow and expand, not only our space but also our capabilities – we will move into other avenues such as lumber milling and processing and more.
An all inclusive maker facility that is focused on providing not only the education necessary – but also the space, materials and equipment – to enable and encourage others to share in our appreciation and joy of making.
You’re probably thinking that things like this already exist. Yes, and No. Makers Spaces do exist, often with high membership/class fees, limited maker space available, specialized or interest-specific equipment and education, etc. The high prices make sense – to an extent. They need to pay the rent of the facility, as well as pay for the equipment they use and offer. This includes maintenance of the tools and equipment as well as the bits, blades, heads, tips, filaments, and do-dads. They also need to pay their staff, instructors, as well as marketing and advertising, and everything else.
You could have access to all of this (classes, maker space, tools, equipment, materials, hardware, technology, and more) at a fraction of the cost or even FREE??? What if you, or someone you know, can learn the skills of woodworking/metalworking/technology machining/lumber milling and processing/and more – while developing your/their own brand and style, all while working in this learning environment AND receiving a regular paycheck all along? What if you wanted to learn how to use a specific tool or piece of equipment, or maybe even test a specific item before purchasing one of your own? What if you wanted to learn how to, and also do it yourself – Make your own Dining Table, and do it with your family, while spending quality time together learning new skills and sharing in a great experience…..and leaving with that beautiful work of art that you will cherish as you gather and enjoy family meals together – while remembering the joy and excitement you shared while building it together?
That’s what this is all about. We don’t want to just ENCOURAGE creativity, we want to NURTURE it. We aim to provide all of this and more. And even better, it is our goal to offer FREE CLASSES or at the very least “at-cost” experiences. We don’t want anyone to be limited by finances or any other reason.
So, how do we plan to accomplish this??? Classes, equipment, materials, instructors, …. This all requires money, right?
This, and more, will be funded primarily by our Wood Shop / and Maker Shop, as well as other streams of income such as the Lumber processing and sales. The income generated by the individual maker’s spaces and any of our classes, instructions and workshops will be invested into this outreach and we will continue to grow and expand as well as offer the best equipment. As I said before, the PRIMARY objective is to SHARE with others. Everything that we do is to help others in any way that we can. Whether we are offering lower prices to help someone in need, or we are donating our time and/or materials to help equip a KID”S CAMP – we are doing everything we can to hold true to our beliefs and our Vision.
The Cliff Notes Version….
Vision = Encouraging and Nurturing creativity by providing the opportunity to create something awesome. Whether it’s a new idea, or something you would like to make yourself – we will provide everything you need…. The only thing you need to bring is a willingness to learn and the desire to succeed. We do not want ANYONE to be limited by the “if”, “but”, “I can’t”, “$”, “$$$$$”, or anything that may be holding them back. If you are willing to learn, and follow the rules for safety – we can work together to learn new skills and CREATE something GREAT
As you may have noticed, I haven’t been posting anything for a few weeks. We have been pursuing some very interesting options as we consider expanding in the very near future. We have been looking at a few different locations – either through lease options or purchasing, and it has been rather exhausting to be honest. But we are pushing through it… I am very optimistic and I am very excited for some things that are currently “in the works” – I will be posting more as we continue to learn more in the coming days and weeks.
For now, all I can really say is that we are working on it. It’s very exciting, and also terrifying at the same time, when you consider an expansion in any way. And this is no different. This has been a dream for such a long time – and we are finally at a point that this is do-able sooner than anticipated. As with everything, “You gotta start somewhere” and this is me officially saying that it is starting. The Vision will continue to grow and expand, but it is extremely amazing to finally be working towards taking this to the next level.
I am thankful for all of the support and encouragement and I am so happy that you are right here with us along this journey. I will be back again soon with an update and I look forward to even better things yet to come!!
Have a Great Day and Thank you for stopping by!!
This is certainly easier said than done, but regardless we are working hard to achieve this dream. We appreciate your support and encouragement along the way! If you are interested in helping us whether it is through sponsorship, partnerships or other approaches – we would love to discuss that. Or, you can stop by our store and purchase something there to help us out…