I’ve been a “maker” my whole life! From a young age, I was encouraged to build, cut, paint, and sew my way out of both boredom and problems. Believe me, I wasn’t great at all of it. That said, Maker Groups are great places for you to practice your craft or learn new skills. Here are just six of the benefits of stopping by your local Maker Space:
- Community While making friends isn’t usually the first thing going through a maker’s head, it’s really the first thing you’ll notice (and if you don’t, it will sneak up on you, all epiphany-like). At my local Maker Group, we ask our members for supplies and tools, such as plastic cutlery or new scissors, and these items appear with astonishing alacrity. Our group puts all membership fees towards building needs which keeps these fees low and gives members a chance to contribute to the space on their own terms. Moreover, no one’s membership fees go to something he or she will never use.
- Extra Space We all have hobby spaces in our homes. Some are bigger than others, but then again so are our homes (proportions need not matter). But, if you’re like me, this space, though adequate, remains unused. For me, I don’t like crafting alone. Also, it’s a challenge to cut out 6-foot pattern pieces in a 3-foot by 3-foot area. You only need more room for a short while, so moving everything out-of-the-way often takes longer than your project… That’s where the maker space comes in! The space if open, clean, bright and multipurpose. No need to clear things out-of-the-way, just pick up when you’re done.
- New Skills There is always something new, fun or interesting going on at the Space. You can watch and learn, ask for help with something you are unfamiliar with or teach someone else. All of these expand your skills in both social interactions and whatever activity you're doing. Speaking of, if giving a speech is a fear of yours, the space can help you conquer that, too. At my local space, anyone can present to the group on just about anything maker related. It’s a great, low-pressure environment to share something you already love while working on your presentation skills.
- Teamwork Granted, this may sound similar to community, but stay with me. Some projects are just too big for one person. This might be as simple as asking someone for help carrying your now-larger project to the car, or it could be half-a-dozen folks coming together to build a power wheels car from scratch to compete for glory (well, a good story at least).
- Expand Your Horizons Since our space doesn’t pay for food, we encourage our members to bring their own. This often leads to sharing of new or different things, like adult beverages or strange snacks, when one might not want to buy a whole 6-pack or package. I’ve personally learned what beers I like (and don’t like) in the last few years, because of our community and sharing. On a project level, seeing what others do with different projects can spark inspiration in your own endeavors.
- Follow-through It’s so much easier to leave projects undone when no one else sees your progress. It’s also easier when no one is counting on you. The Maker community can give you one or both of these motivations. I’ve fixed, made and finished more projects in the last year than I have since high school.