Go to a Makerspace!
Makerspaces inspire creativity! These community places provide the space to combine science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM!) in order to make and create. They are like an artist’s studio but also include digital making as well as physical making. Activities include woodworking, electronics, computers, 3D printing, knitting, screen printing, sewing, and more! Western Massachusetts has a number of community maker spaces to start brainstorming your do-it-yourself gift giving ideas.
Westhampton Public Library
Young makers, who may be drawn to the idea of exploring makerspaces without commitment, can meet up with other maker-minded youth at the Westhampton Library’s monthly Maker Club. Begun in 2016, this maker group offers materials for themed making, but leaves participants somewhat limited in what they can create. While the first meeting focused on circuitry, there are many ways to light up a bulb – making the possibilities nearly endless. Future meetings are intended to have a similar structure, and will explore topics like woodworking, electronics, and computers.
Greenfield Makerspace Meet-Up
Older makers may find community amongst participants in the Greenfield 3D Printing and Maker Space Meet Up, a group catering to folks working in 3D modeling and printing but not limited to participants who have their own resources for doing so. This Franklin County group was created in order to build community in preparation for a future makerspace, so watch for its appearance in the future!
In Amherst, makers can find like-minded folks at Amherst Media’s weekly drop-in makerspace. These community events welcome makers of all kinds, whether they’re working on computer code or a knitting project. Open to all ages and experience levels, this weekly event encourages youth to visit out of curiosity, if only just to learn what makerspaces are all about.
In addition to community maker meet-ups, permanent makerspaces offer classes, events, and membership-based access to tools and materials. In North Adams, the Makers’ Mill encourages creative collaboration and learning opportunities in a historic building in a central location. Offering weekly meet-up events for a variety of makers, classes teaching specific skills, as well as memberships for even more making, the Makers’ Mill is serving as a hub for the growth of the creative community of the Northern Berkshires.
Shire City Sanctuary
In Pittsfield, Shire City Sanctuary offers making opportunities in a former church. With space for studios, offices, and meetings, as well as more exciting features like a sewing lab, a screen printing shop, and a commercial kitchen, Shire City Sanctuary likens itself to a gym for creative types. The sanctuary periodically offers community events and classes, and also offers both daily and monthly memberships for short- or long-term access to tools and space for making.