For the Love of Making
Ireland’s making space for making spaces.
By Samuel Bishop
Earlier this year, I realised I needed to find a space to work from. I was spending a lot of the day jumping between offices, co-working spaces, cafes and my sitting room. I needed a desk for my gaf and as I searched for the ideal one, I wasn’t impressed. It seemed impossible to find an affordable and attractive one.
It was then that my friend offered me his workshop, tools and offcuts of timber. I spent a wonderful few hours lost in a world of sawing, measuring and screwing together a rudimentary desk. This spontaneous act of construction reignited a love of making, designing and working with my hands that I had lost in recent years. It was hugely rewarding; I now had a desk, and very empowering. It didn’t really matter what I made; the joy was in the process. The hands-on approach was a meditation; instant and essential mindfulness in the midst of a hectic week.
I’m now on a mission to make more and to make things with friends and it appears others are rediscovering a passion for this too. There are new maker spaces and craft collectives popping up all around Ireland. These are focused on collective making, sharing or learning, and by their nature are social spaces with a sense of community at their heart. At a time when we’re inside more on the dark nights (often a lonely and less social time for many), these spaces that offer a platform for ‘making’ are invaluable. It’s a good way to reduce the cost of Christmas presents and create something that’s unique and meaningful too.
Mike Senese, editor of Make Magazine, believes “our culture is transforming from a top-down consumer culture to a more one-to-one DIY culture focused on making,” and many of the initiatives below further reinforce this.
MEN’S SHEDS: A Men’s Shed is a friendly and inclusive space for men to gather and work on meaningful projects. It’s a brilliant initiative and there is a rapidly growing network of them across the country. menssheds.ie
REPAIR CAFE: Repair Cafes are free community events where people are invited to bring down things they have that are broken to be repaired, alongside expert volunteers, in a cafe environment. repaircafe.ie
INDEPENDENT MAKER SPACES: Maker spaces are shared spaces for any and all creative projects: art, woodwork, software, photography and electronics and related activities. These are based in Cork, Galway, Limerick and Dublin. Find them on twitter: @091labs | @milklabs | @nexuscork | @TOG_Dublin
FABLAB: While its glamourous name might have you expecting something on a whole other level, a fab lab, or fabrication laboratory, is a small-scale workshop offering personal, digital fabrication. There are 4 makerspaces which operate under the title FabLab on the island of Ireland; Derry, Belfast, Limerick and Cloughjordan.
MAKESHOP: Makeshop is a collaborative workshop and educational space in Dublin where you can learn everything from DIY electronics, origami and fixing to 3D printing. Sign up for a course and you’ll receive all the tools, materials and guidance required to get you started. makeshop.ie
TREE PLANTING MEITHEALS: Finally, if you’re all about teamwork and some manual efforts to create a more beautiful world, there’s no better day spent than up in the Wicklow hills planting trees for the Native Woodland Trust. nativewoodlandtrust.ie
Samuel is events coordinator at Happenings and Street Feast. You can connect with him on twitter @samue1.