Manda Maggs, Shatford Centre general manager, demonstrates what can be made using the Idea Forge Maker Studio’s laser cutter. The studio recently opened in the basement of the centre. Jordyn Thomson/Western News

Video: New Penticton studio is a playground for creative types

We toured Penticton’s newest creator space

Penticton’s crafty residents now have a new space and access to tools and resources to hone their skills and take their creating to the next level.

The Idea Forge Maker Studio, located in the basement of the Shatford Centre, allows members access to high-priced equipment, a space to create and like-minded individuals. The program was recently kickstarted by Manda Maggs, the general manager of the Shatford Centre.

“What happened is I pitched this program to the Okanagan School of the Arts board — who take in programmers of all different types from the arts and culture community — and made a proposal. I said ‘I think Penticton is ready for a maker space’ and they agreed,” said Maggs.

From Tuesday to Thursday, 1 to 9 p.m., members can utilize and receive training and help on equipment such as a 3D printer, a DSLR camera, an industrial sewing machine, a laser cutter and much more. Maggs said this program and its implementation has been a labour of love, contributing much of her own supplies to get the space started.

“A lot of what we’ve been able to generate has been through the generosity of the community,” said Maggs. “I’ve been a maker my whole life, so a lot of the materials in here have actually come from my own crafts room. That was kind of a big driver for getting this going is having access to things that I know people would want to use.”

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Maggs said she was formerly part of the Art House, another creative space that was implemented by Cowork Penticton, so she knew that Penticton would utilize a maker studio. She said the centre also received great public engagement about the idea, noting they had around 80 responses indicating they would use the space once it was ready.

“There’s a lot of people out there who want to learn, and don’t necessarily want to go through the traditional academic side like learning woodworking from a college or post-secondary or even in high school,” said Maggs. “Some people don’t have access to that. And I think that less and less people are facing inaccessibility of tools in their own homes — a lot of kids are growing up in apartments and don’t have these classes in their school or use them as credits. So as adults, the ability to work with tools is kind of this magical, mystical thing.”

Manda Maggs, Shatford Centre general manager, poses with the sign she created for the Idea Forge Maker Studio. She made the sign in-house as a demonstration of what the studio can help creators produce. Jordyn Thomson/Western News

Maggs also noted that other barriers limiting people from pursuing this type of making in their own home includes limited space and lack of funding to purchase necessary equipment. She said the Idea Forge Creator Studio will provide those and more to its members.

“It takes away those barriers as much as possible. And sometimes this can be more enjoyable, it’s kind of a social thing as well. We have a lot of retired people that all did woodworking their whole lives. Or other creative pursuits like knitting, sewing, painting,” said Maggs. “And now they’re living in little, often senior apartments. Or we have adults that don’t have the ability to pay for classes.

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“Maker spaces in general bring together people, and sometimes that exposure is all you need to break the ice of getting into a new hobby that you totally loved and had no way to get into before,” said Maggs.

A monthly maker membership is $50 and a monthly maker +1 membership for two individuals is $85. Those that volunteer with the studio can qualify for a discounted membership, and drop-in fees are $15 per visit.

Maggs said so far community response has been great, noting that they’ve even had schools approach her about touring the facility and potentially having access to some of the equipment. She said some entrepreneurs have expressed interest in kickstarting their business ventures.

“We’ve got a couple of entrepreneurs who are really interested in getting in here. One individual really wants to do epoxy work with live edge tables and counter tops, which is very en vogue right now,” said Maggs. “I’ve heard third-hand that there’s a group of gamers that would like to do testing and prototyping — so building their pieces with the 3D printer or laser cutter and being able to paint them and have them all here, then having access to people who can then test the game.”

Maggs said it’s important to remember that the space will be constantly changing as membership grows and need for equipment arises or changes.

“This space is going to evolve, it’s going to change based on who our membership is and what they want to see,” said Maggs. “So if we find that no one is using sewing, we’re going to take that out and put something else in here, so it’s going to be a constantly evolving thing.”

For more information about equipment available and membership costs of Idea Forge Maker Studio, visit www.memberplanet.com/ideaforge.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
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