Start your own maker space: two American stories

New Maker Spaces and FabLabs seem to spring up everywhere these days. Today I want to share two stories how people start their own space.

Chicago Public Library makerspace - visualization on wall

Chicago Public Library makerspace – visualization on wall by Katie Day, on Flickr

The first story is about a couple, both artists, who lost their home studio during the Hurricane Katrina flooding. To never be without their studio again, they bought an Airstream (a classic long silver caravan) and equipped it with all the cool tools. As they say on their website:

It is not only an American icon of a utopian dream, it is also the symbol of freedom, innovation and independence that comes to life.

They are now embarking on a tour from New York down the East Coast to Miami and Key West and do a lot of interesting stuff along the way.

I think setting up a FabLab that can move is a wonderful idea, since then you can park a FabLab right in front of your house for a couple of days and let people make stuff that matters, while having a party at the same time.

Frysklab in da house!

The FryskLab parked in front of our house for two days during our unconference Make Stuff That Matters

The second story is about starting a Maker Space in small town America. Jayson Margalus wrote on Make: about the extra challenges you face when bringing the Maker Movement to smaller communities:

Starting a makerspace in a small town comes with many challenges that spaces in cities do not face. Lower population density, lesser awareness of the Maker Movement, and lack of convenient public transit to and from the space being a few of those things.

One of the biggest challenges he describes is to get people of all sorts within the community to understand about the Maker Movement first. His advice:

You need to build a support system within your community in order to succeed. Spread the fundamental ideals of the Maker Movement: teaching, learning, growing. Share your vision with anybody who will listen. Everything else will fall into place.

Especially focusing on the message that it is about teaching, learning and growing is important in my view. The Maker Movement is all about making people Maker Literate – the digital version.

This article first appeared on STORYmines