Fostering Community Amongst DIY Workshop Schools
These days, with the Maker Movement in full swing, more and more people are interested in tapping into their creativity, working with their hands, and making things themselves, rather than buying them at the store. There is a renewed social interest in how things are made, where they're made, and under what working conditions. In response, many people are taking production into their own hands, but they need the right tools, instruction, community, and inspiration to get started. That's where creative DIY schools come in.
DIY workshop spaces, like Klum House, are designed for this very purpose—to help folks build the skills they need to make things themselves and have fun along the way. And in the same way that makers have come together to form community, these workshop spaces foster community amongst themselves as well. One of the ways that Klum House participates in this community-building is through guest teaching at other schools, and inviting guest teachers to visit in return.
Along these lines, Klum House founder Ellie Lum is excited to be teaching two, upcoming pop-up workshops at WorkshopSF, our sister DIY school in San Francisco. Here are the details. (There are only two spots left in the Saturday class!)
Learn to sew a beautiful waxed canvas + leather tote bag! This rugged, stylish, and versatile tote will be made of waxed canvas, and offer the capacity to handle carrying your laptop, books, and other daily essentials. Not only will you go home with a tote that you made from start-to-finish, you will also learn indispensable bag sewing techniques for handling heavy-weight fabric on a home sewing machine. You will also learn how to attach leather handles with quick-set brads.
Like Klum House, WorkshopSF is a laid-back space where people come to unwind, enjoy each other's company, and get lost in the flow of making. They offer over 50 different classes for adults, all taught by awesome local teachers and working artists, who pursue their crafts through their own creative businesses. The school's founders, Kelly Malone and David Knight, are committed to keeping their classes affordable, accessible, and fun. Their motto "Drink Beer, Make Stuff" is rooted in the school's beginnings, when Kelly would bring her sewing machine to the bar and sit there making beer coozies for people, to help spread the word about her sewing classes. To this day, their Sewing 101 class includes a beer coozy as their first sewing project.
Ellie first started teaching at WorkshopSF six years ago, while she was studying adult education theory at UC Berkeley. It was the first time she had taught classes on home sewing machines (as opposed to the industrial machines she worked with at R.E.Load Bags). The combination of her studies and hands-on teaching experience helped form the foundational ideas behind what later became Klum House, so the two schools share common roots.
In addition to the upcoming workshops at WorkshopSF, Ellie will also be teaching some workshops as part of the MAKEation retreat on the Oregon Coast this spring. Sarah, the host of MAKEation, also has her own DIY workshop space in Eugene called The Creative Makery.
There is a fundamental attitude of generosity driving the Maker Movement—a belief that those with expertise should share their skills as far and wide as possible, because the more people who have access to these skills, the stronger the movement's capacity for social and economic change. It's a belief that everyone has the ability to make high-quality products themselves and should have access to the tools, materials, and skills necessary to do so. In that way, these schools work together to create a culture of makers rather consumers, and that's the kind of movement that can change the world.
PORTLAND-BASED DIY SCHOOLS
Here are some resources for Portland-based DIY schools where you can learn everything from word working and metal smithing, to embroidery and natural dyeing:
(Ellie is teaching an upcoming class there called The Art of Mending)
(Ellie is teaching an upcoming class there called Design + Sew a Custom Tote Bag)