There is a special satisfaction in making things. Yet, in our ever more digital world, many kids (even some adults) don’t get the opportunity to learn the skills they need to craft things out of wood, metal, fabric, or other tangible materials.
But a new business in N.D.G. is hoping to revive interest in making objects by hand, and repairing them as well, by creating a place where people of all ages can make stuff, along with the tools they need to do it — and even mentors who can teach them how.
MKRLAB, which opened in October, provides access to a workshop space, as well as specialized tools such as 3D printers, laser cutting and silk-screening. It also offers a large tool library, allowing people to borrow the tools they need to complete projects at home. Workshops are also offered for children and adults to teach skills like soap-making and book-making, as well as clinics where people can learn how to fix items that are worn out or broken.
According to Co-Founder Liz Ostroff, MKRLAB’s goal is to build a community of makers by providing a “makerspace” where people can experiment with new tools, techniques, materials and technology in facilitated workshops or self-directed projects.
“We’re trying to get people off their computers and into a community supportive space so they can make stuff,” Ostroff said.
People can buy a membership starting at $50 per month that provides access to the tool library and fabrication lab, as well as free access to weekly tutorials and discounts on workshops, or choose a tool library-only membership for $20 per month. The drop-in fee is $25 per day. Workshops range in price from $15 to $35.
MKRLAB also offers a weekend Young Makers Club for kids aged 7-14, and is launching a new after-school program, which costs $200 for five sessions. Ostroff said the facility is also available to host birthday parties and other private events.
Kids and parents alike are spending more time than ever on iPads, smart phones and computers. But although electronic entertainment may be fun, creative time spent away from screens is satisfying in a whole different way.
MKRLAB is located at 5835 Sherbrooke St W, in N.D.G.
For more information, visit mkrlab.ca.