December is always a fun month for creating and making and this year I decided to join Tucson's makerspace -- Xerocraft, to get access to a laser cutter for some holiday presents I hoped to make.
Yes, I got access to the laser cutter, but I also discovered an amazing maker community and made some new friends. We visit lots of maker spaces in our travels, and I have to say that Xerocraft is the friendliest, most accessible and inclusive maker space I've had the pleasure of engaging with.
The fact that they allow one month membership makes it very accessible. They don't have a lengthy tool certification process, and instead volunteer shop leads get you up to speed so you can get started quickly and safely.
Guy and Terry got me going with their laser cutter within days of my joining, and I experimented with lots of iterations for ideas I had for holiday presents. It was so handy to be able to purchase materials in house as I needed it without having to interrupt my making to go source wood.
I noticed a sewing class happening on the Wednesday night and was welcomed by Cyndi and several members working on a variety of sewing projects.
That night I discovered they had an old embroidery machine gathering dust on the bottom shelf.
Since I've been looking to explore Turtle Stitch as a way to explore coding, I convinced Craig to see if he could get it up and running. (We came close)
That night I also got to witness an amazing interaction between an amazing mentor and his middle school aged mentee.
I even got a potato gun demonstration in the maker spaces's 'out door' space that 'blew me away"
Just imagine the multi-generational relationship that can be developed
while making your own potato gun.
The next week I attended the Tuesday night WTF hack where the makerspaces is only open to those who identify as women, trans, and femme.
My new friends from Xerocraft's WTF were eager to help me consider new possibilities for renaming my 20 year project (TechSavvyGirls)
to become more inclusive. We brainstormed lots of possibilities that I will take back to Vermont. Terri even invited me to share my e-Textile skills at their holiday party and the next WTF hack night.
I decided to create an entry level project that allowed you to light up
a bowtie that could be used to embellish a holiday outfit or dress up a holiday gift.
Of course these creative ladies took it in several new directions.
A few days later I brought my project to their
annual Holiday party and got to meet more fun and adventuresome creatives.
Craig was a great sport and helped me out when we needed it.
He also networked with some amazing creatives like this
artist using irradesescent beetle wings in her crafts.
My only regret about my membership at Xerocraft was that
it was only a month because I had an airplane ticket to make it
back east to spend Christmas with the grandkids.