Join the makers
By Jenn Watt
Published Jan. 23, 2018
There are new resources available in Haliburton well known to some, which still elicit looks of puzzlement among others.
Down the corridor at Haliburton School of Art and Design (HSAD) is a small room packed with advanced equipment capable of etching glass, printing banners, creating spare parts from plastic and building jewelry.
The Centre for Making opened to the public this summer and is supervised by Scott Walling, who has become well-versed in what each piece of equipment can do. He does tours, tutors new users and acts as a resource for “makers” who come in.
Though it is the most visible of the “makerspaces” in Haliburton, it is not the only one.
In fact, there is a whole “community of making” thanks to a collaboration started at the Haliburton County Public Library tying the resources of several groups together. Canoe FM, Sticks and Stones, HSAD and the library have been working together to build up the equipment and expertise to offer new opportunities to local residents.
The library has a dedicated staff member to guide the process, Noelia Marziali, who has also been hosting workshops at the library to encourage kids to take up pursuits in STEAM: science, technology, engineering, arts and math.
By pulling all of these organizations together, those with an interest can learn how to design a banner, record a song, create a 3D object using computer design software or make their own greeting cards – here in Haliburton.
But only if they know about it.
One issue of makerspaces is that to those in the know, it all makes sense. These terms are part of the day-to-day. For those of us who don’t encounter 3D printers or laser cutters on our way to work, however, it can be confusing to think about and intimidating to try.
The Echo has written several times about the Centre for Making and I’ve toured the centre three times and I still feel nervous about dipping my toe into the waters of the Community of Making.
However, the last time I toured the space at the college I got to see the equipment in use. Sitting on the table, Walling had examples of what could be made. There were cleverly created greeting cards adorned with messages of love; a drinking glass with wording etched on its surface; blocks with images cut into them for printmaking; jewelry and a frosted wine bottle with lettering around its body.
If you want to be inspired, check out the makers’ Pinterest page: www.pinterest.ca/haliburtoncpl/community-of-making.
Workshops are being developed to learn how to use these resources and Marziali at the library is available to help you take ideas through the design phase to completion.
(Currently there are fees for use of the materials and equipment at HSAD, though they are quite reasonable. The resources at the library are free and Marziali can help users navigate the system. Call 705-457-2241 to get in touch.)
These are skills that we could all benefit from knowing – in particular, the young people of the community should at least try some of these machines. Developing the skills in design and technology will serve them well in higher education and in many careers in their future.
And for the workforce that’s already here, the equipment can help increase productivity and boost creativity.
The array of new opportunities before us is remarkable and far too easily missed.
You don’t know what is possible until you give it a try. Luckily, many of these tools will be available to test out at the Try It Fair, scheduled for May 4 at the high school. Mark it on your calendar.