Maker House Launches RocketHub Campaign

July 23, 2013

A beam of afternoon light sneaks into the Corona Room at Makerhouse.

A beam of afternoon light sneaks into the Corona Room at Maker House.

When ArtFire launched in 2009, they challenged the traditional structure of online selling venues, by charging flat monthly fee and no commission, rather than using complicated fee structures. Since then, ArtFire has grown into the #2 online selling venue for handmade artisans. Now they are looking to break the mold once again by launching what may be the world’s first artisan-driven makerspace.

Called Maker House, the makerspace will deviate from the more traditional makerspaces in a number of ways. Rather than being housed in a warehouse-style building, the makerspace is being created in a vintage 1950’s mansion, The Bates Mansion, which is on the National Historic Registry of Places. The house has several very large rooms that feature rare and significant works of art by Salvador Corona, a leading painter of the mid-20th century, whose work was sought after by the likes of the Duchess of Windsor and President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Maker House’s primary focus will be a cross-disciplinary approach that will combine more traditional art forms, like painting, knitting and sculpting, with newer technological approaches, like 3D printing, robotics and computerized sewing machines.

COO and Founder of Maker House, Tony Ford, says cross-pollination of artisan work with high tech is something Maker House aims to encourage. “Too often we focus only on technology. Without art, without aesthetic, without design, technology is incomplete and rather boring,” says Ford. ” We teach makers to take risks and accept failure in technology, but we also need to teach them to take risks and explore new boundaries in art and creativity. You can make more than just things. You can transform your world, and create something beautiful.”

The ceilings and floors in the room that will house a coffee bar.

The ceilings and floors are in place in the room that will house a coffee bar.

Maker House will record and upload the classes offered at this space, so that anyone in the world can access them. “That’s my favorite innovation”, says Executive Director Vanessa Ford. “If you don’t live in a place large enough to have a makerspace, you can probably still get online and access what we offer here. I grew up in a very tiny town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and I can tell you that, as a kid, I would have loved to have access to ideas and information like this.”

“ArtFire is providing launch support to complete the building remodel, but we still need to purchase furniture and storage for 5 large rooms, equipment like 3D printers, sewing machines, and the audio and video equipment so we can put these classes online”, says Ford. “This campaign is absolutely critical in determining how much our makers can create here, and how much we’ll be able to share online.”

Ford says the Maker House campaign will be launched on RocketHub, a fundraising website that has recently partnered with A&E PROJECT STARTUP. A&E PROJECT STARTUP searches through the various projects on RocketHub, looking for innovative and ground-breaking projects. Chosen projects may be featured on-air, online, and in A&E’s magazine, The Idea Book for Educators. Projects may also receive backing by A&E. “We believe in RocketHub’s mission and reach, and we’re very pleased to have been accepted by their curators”, says Ford.

For more information on the Maker House RocketHub campaign, visit their website.