I recently read Adam Savage’s autobiography Every Tool's a Hammer: Life Is What You Make It. Adam’s story is all about his journey as a maker, from being a kid in his dad’s workshop where he wielded his first X-Acto knife, to his first professional making job (that made him miserable), to working for Industrial Light & Magic creating props for Lucas Films, to his 14 season stint on MythBusters. As I made my way through this book, it felt like my sleeping imagination was blinking awake. He spoke with such passion, even on topics that seemed mundane (I’m looking at you, Chapter 8’s section on different types of glue!) that I began to remember moments from my own childhood, sitting on the floor of the garage with my dad taking apart broken blow dryers to understand how they work, hammering scrap wood together just for the fun of it, shooting at a canvas with a paintball gun, throwing clay on an old pottery wheel that barely worked, or making my homecoming dress with surprising success. Where had my creativity gone? When was the last time I made something?
The more I read the more exhilarated I became at the opportunity to try new things, or revisit old things, to try making with my hands, to try without fear of failure, to mess it up and then try again. There is joy that comes from creating, like your soul is taking a deep breath. This thing you’ve created that you can hold in your hand says, “I’ve persevered through the challenges I’ve faced, and I’ve overcome.”
You may be thinking that making sounds fun and that you love the idea of getting your creativity on but where do you start? How do you begin? What if you have no experience? That's the beauty of the LIGHTS Regional Innovation Network. Each Makerspace in the network provides beginners classes in a number of different areas. Athens Makerspace provides classes in Welding, Woodworking, and Fabric/Fiber Arts; the BB2C Makerspace in Marietta who provides classes in Stained Glass, 3D Printing and Creative Arts; and The Hocking Makers’ Network in Nelsonville who provides classes in Woodworking and Glassblowing. No experience is necessary! Even better-- you can access a calendar of these classes provided at each makerspace on our website. Check it out, see what classes pique your interest and pursue it. You could find your new passion, a new hobby that breaks up the monotony of life. And if not, at least you can say you tried!
The LIGHTS Regional Innovation Network catalyzes the creation of companies to create high-wage jobs and attract greater private investment in the coal-impacted and opioid-impacted regions of Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky, uniquely matching the complex problems and opportunities facing our corporations, communities, and individuals to a network of strategically-placed Innovation Gateways. From this, new marketable products grow from these challenges through our work with locally partnered Innovation Gateways' business incubators and makerspaces, across a tri-state 28-county area.