Creative hobbies can be expensive. 3D printers, sewing machines, woodworking tools, having a space to pull them all together? All this can cost a pretty penny.
While most people would probably engage in some form of “making,” given the chance, getting all the tools together to bring your ideas to life can be a massive hurdle.
That’s where a “MakerSpace” comes into play.
Picture an open community space similar to a local library, but instead of being filled with books, it’s filled with all the tools you’d ever need to bring your creative fantasies to life.
Local Michael Moore has brought this vision to life in Port Alberni.
For him, bringing the MakerSpace into reality was all about levelling up communal space in the Valley.
“This,” he told Alberni Valley News, “isn’t mine. This is the community’s. We put our dollars and our resources to build it—now it’s up to the community to put it to use.”
From starting up a local business, picking up a niche hobby, or finally hemming that pair of pants you’ve had sitting in your closet for the last year, there are countless ways to utilize MakerSpace.
Local cosplayer Emma Wall has been able to let her dreams run wild in the month since the MakerSpace opened.
She creates intricate costumes of her favourite cartoon and fantasy characters, utilizing everything from 3D printing to installing lights and other electronics to match every detail.
“I was here opening day,” said Wall. “I think I’ve been here every weekend since then.”
Beyond just the many valuable tools the space provides, she said it’s also given her a welcoming environment to meet and bond with awesome people who are just as passionate about their unique projects as she is about hers.
Unlike in a library, chatting and idea sharing are encouraged. “I get to hang out with like-minded nerdy, creative people,” said Wall.
The Alberni Valley MakerSpace is the first of its size and capacity servicing rural areas on Vancouver Island.
It is a digital creation hub, traditional workshop, and value-added prototyping paradise all in one.
By removing the barrier of start-up costs and investments, MakerSpace hopes to facilitate a whole host of innovators, artisans, content creators, designers, and entrepreneurs to launch in the valley.
Currently, the MakerSpace is open on Fridays from 4–9 pm and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 9 pm.
With membership and training, access is available seven days a week.
You can find the full range of machines and tools it offers here. Or, head out there and get a tour to see for yourself!