Input sought for new makerspace facility

  • Apr. 27, 2016 2:47 p.m.

Vincent Wolfe is working hard to bring a makerspace to Central Alberta – a place for artists, creators, builders and educators to work together to develop their interests.

Appropriately titled Central Alberta Makerspace, Wolfe’s group is slowly but surely building in numbers and gaining ground towards a tangible space where they can get together and work on their creations.

“A makerspace is a place where people can work together collaboratively and move across different mediums of creation,” he explains.

“You can get woodworkers, electronics experts, people working with textiles, 3D-printing – a huge variety of disciplines that can connect to each other, and a space to share all of that information with each other.”

Currently, the group is looking into an industrial space for projects and trying to build awareness. Wolfe said he’s really hoping people reach out to him and explain their interests so the space can best suit the needs of those interested.

“You have to kind of create zones in the makerspace based on the tools available and what the group needs. It becomes a huge collaborative effort in finding what tools will meet the broadest needs initially, and then adding more tools as the space grows,” he said.

In addition to actual tools, Wolfe said he’s hoping to engage experts and businesses in sharing what they do with the community. He said his goal to engage a wide variety of people that may be able to work together in this designated space to build up each others’ ideas, share information, share skills and help each other better their own craft.

“I want to make sure that people can come to our space and learn something, create something or teach something,” Wolfe said.

“It’s a cycle. You learn something new, you use that to make something and then you share those skills with someone else. That’s what makes a makerspace successful – sharing those skills with other people. That’s how you expand.”

Right now, the group is organizing their initial ideas and needs via their facebook page, Central Alberta Makerspace. Wolfe said he’s excited to get the group into a tangible location where the members can come together.

“Lots of our members have interests, but don’t have a space to work. They’re in garages and basements, or small rooms in their homes – that’s where a makerspace comes in. It gives everyone a place to work collaboratively – or individually – around other people who can share their knowledge.”

Wolfe said he wants the space to be a social, community gathering space where people will continue the cycle of learn, make and teach. Right now, he said the three areas of focus are on gathering community input, seeking the help of experts and figuring out the needs of the group.

“Having people contact me about their interests gives me an idea of what the space will need to be,” he said.

“If I make a space perfect for me – that’s great, but it might only work for one or two other people. That’s not the goal, so I’m looking for more input. As well, we really need businesses to come forward and support us with education, gathering tools or monetary help if they can.

“Education is huge – we need experts on a variety of subject matter to come share their knowledge.”

Wolfe encourages people to connect through the facebook group for now, but to continue to help share the idea of the makerspace to allow it to grow within the community.

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