My Dad used to love making, in his garage he had a collection of tools and materials that were acquired from decades of scavenging the industrial waste bins of the his crane making employer. He had racks of nut’s, bolts, screws, switches, lights, pipes, brackets and on and on. It takes a lot to make a crane, and a lot of it gets thrown away.
I like making too, but for me its mainly been software, then teams, then services and on and on. But although I loved helping my Dad, I’ve never really spent much time working with my hands. The main reason is my OCD need to work in clean, tidy, ordered spaces. I want a workshop, not just any workshop, but one that looks like a science lab, merged with an artists studio, merged with a hacker space, merged with a Den. I’m going to make it one day.
I’ve got closer to investing in that workshop this week as I’ve been reading The Martian a superb book about Mark Watney, stranded on Mars for a few years and forced to survive on his wits, his engineering skills and an amazing collection of tools, spare parts, rovers and habitats that he’s left behind with. It’s 385 pages of continual ingenuity and making.
Another Mark provided a bit more motivation today as I listened to an interview with Mark Miodownik an engineer and materials scientist, who’s director of the Institute of Making, part of which is the MakeSpace which sounds like a really cool place:
The MakeSpace is the workshop of the Institute of Making, offering an exciting range of tools and machinery for members to use. Membership is open to all students and staff of UCL. The space is available to non-members through our public programme, hosting masterclasses, workshops with guest experts, maker residencies and curated opportunities to make, break and repair everything from jewellery to robots.
The facility brings together equipment, expertise and perspectives of making from a wide range of disciplines, encouraging users to engage in the craft, design, technology, history, philosophy, art and engineering of making.
This is your chance to tinker, boil, bake, turn, mill, mend, spin, print, cut, cast, drill, sand, scrape and sculpt.
I have a lot of my Dad’s tools now and they are a wonderful reminder of him whenever I use them in my messy garage. It will be a few years before I invest in my own MakeSpace, by then there might even be one in St Annes, but in the mean time I will have plenty of fun planning.