WINDSOR, N.S. — Windsor’s downtown is about to get a major jolt of creativity.
Windsor Makers, a new social enterprise being opened by Kathy Monroe and Catherine Jamieson in the spring, seeks to bring people together who want to learn a new art, craft or trade along with the mentors and the tools that can make that happen.
“We’ve lost a lot of this in society. You have people who have skills, had their trade, retired and you don’t hear from them anymore,” Monroe said inside the building, which is currently being renovated. “You’ve got kids that are no longer following behind because there’s no instruction.”
Monroe said they’ve had an overwhelming response from people interested in sharing their knowledge in a variety of trades, donating tools or contributing to the project in some way.
Some of those trades include knitting, sewing, wood and metal working, candle-making, and more — from life skills to fine art. But nothing is set in stone. Windsor Makers will change and evolve depending on its members’ needs.
The location, at 21 Gerrish St., will be split into different disciplines, where people can socialize while they tinker.
But for Monroe and Jamieson, they see Windsor Makers as more than just a school. They want it to become a gathering space, a social hub in the town.
“A maker space is a place where people can be creative, essentially,” Jamieson said. “It’s a space people can learn, teach, make things, do things, hang out, take a course.”
Jamieson described it as a combination of a trade school and a community centre.
The closest comparison to Windsor Makers is the Halifax Makerspace, a collective and collaborative tool sharing co-op.
But Windsor Makers is a little different because of the social aspect. The passing down of skills is the main goal.
“We hope this will become a place where people learn to do new things or get better at things they already know how to do,” Jamieson said. “We hope that young people will feel creative and be inspired as well.”
Jamieson said there’s also a hope that through Windsor Makers, people will become adept enough in their skills that those individuals can then monetize those skills in some way.
“If you came to me and said, ‘I want to learn how to make chicken jerky,’ you get four of your friends who also want to make chicken jerky, I will find you someone who can do that,”Jamieson said.
Windsor Makers will be open to the public, but the main way the organization will operate is through membership.
Jamieson and Monroe aren’t planning to make a fortune from Windsor Makers, in fact, it’s a non-profit society, with what profit that is generated to be re-invested back into it.
“We want to constantly add new equipment, a 3-D printer someday, some fairly expensive tools,” she said. “We want to be successful and self-sufficient and sustainable, with the profit staying in.”
Both women say they wanted to do something positive for Windsor, bring something fresh and new — bring a boost for the downtown and to help get the town’s creative engine revving.
“For me, it feels like the right thing to do, and if you’re going to be remembered for anything, this would be a good thing,” Jamieson said.
Windsor Makers is currently slated to open on April 15, 2018, and be open seven days a week from 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Membership will cost $99 a year, or $12 a month.
People can sign up or find out more information at their website: http://www.makerswindsor.com
There is also a community meeting scheduled for Feb. 12 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 21 Gerrish Street to let people know what Windsor Makers is all about and the get some feedback from the public.