The Victoria Maker Community

September 24, 2014 by Nevin Thompson

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As everyone knows, we’re excited that Fort Tectoria has opened its new space on Fort Street. Not only are there a lot of tech companies nearby, Fort Street is home to fantastic places to eat, book stores, coffee shops, music stores and a ton of other eclectic shops.

But there is another new neighbour on Fort Street who we think is worth getting to know: the folks at the Makehouse.

The Makehouse

Located just a block up from VIATeC at 833 1/2 Fort Street, the Makehouse offers workshops for people who value traditional hand-crafted skills and creative self-satisfaction.

The Makehouse is the brainchild of Jenny Ambrose, a familiar face at another Victoria cultural institution, Hermann’s Jazz Club.

Thanks to Ambrose’s vision, the Makehouse workshops typically focus on textiles. In fact, Ambrose, a Tectoria transplant from the UK, got her start launching the cult-favourite Enamore eco-fashion brand.

Before long, Ambrose became involved in teaching, mentoring and lecturing, and got to know a lot of other fashion and textiles companies most of whom are also working to ethical practices.

When Ambrose relocated to Victoria a couple of years ago, she continued her work to help anyone and everyone unleash their latent creativity.

One recent Makehouse project you may have seen this past summer was the Fort Street Yarn Bomb:

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And now the Makehouse is just up the street from us!

The Maker Economy

The Makehouse is part of a growing global community of “makers” — people who take a do-it-yourself approach to construction and design projects.

Some people create their own tools, others build robots from scratch, while others like Jenny Ambrose and her Makehouse community create the unique designs that become the high fashion of tomorrow.

The key to the Maker movement is pooling resources together in a common space. That way everyone gets access to cool technologies, tools and ideas to make things happen.

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Victoria’s Makerspace

Located at Vancouver Island Technology Park just down the street from Camosun College’s Interurban Campus, Victoria Makerspace is a community-operated, shared workshop, where people can meet, learn and work on their creative projects.

Their home base at VITP have a wood and metal shop, and a ton of tools:

  • Laser cutter
  • 3D Printer
  • Propane forge
  • Wood shop
  • BioSpace (DIY biology lab)
  • Electronics workshop
  • Various other tools and gadgets

Members pay monthly dues to use the space and tools in the workshop. Makerspace holds classes and workshops so anyone can learn to use the tools independently, with the hope that you will eventually be able to teach everyone else something new as well.

It’s all part of a world-wide community of “makers” inspired by Maker Faire and Make: Magazine.

The movement is perfect for kids, combining creativity, design, and applied science – the very essence of innovation, with all being the key ingredients for entrepreneurial success.

And entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial thinking are what’s needed to continue to transform Victoria into Tectoria, a truly “great”, prosperous city.

So, do you have a DIY idea you want to show and tell others?

Consider joining Tectoria’s Makerspace community (open house every Tuesday evening, 7-9pm), or heading on up Fort Street to the Makespace.

 


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