(BRANDON HANSEN/Chewelah Independent)
NEW Creators’ Workshop provides a spark…
A new membership-based, shared, creative workspace is now open in downtown Chewelah.
As Chewelah’s growing economy leans more toward creative industries, more and more creative opportunities pop up in town.
One of those, NEW Creators’ Workshop dovetails nicely into Chewelah being named a new Creative District by the Washington Arts Commission. Operated by the Chewelah Makers, the workshop is a member-supported, shared-use creative space providing access to equipment, workspace, expertise and community.
“Our purpose is to amplify Chewelah’s innate creative energy, to make creative exploration accessible to everyone, and to grow a creative economy,” co-owner Larah Ritchie said. “We’ll do this by providing members affordable access to creative work space, equipment and education.”
It’s expensive to buy equipment and even get space to do the projects or work you want, so why not have a community space to do it in?
The Ritchies have wanted to do this for 15 years, and finally seized the opportunity when space became available.
They got the space in July and spent countless hours converting it into the ultimate DIY workshop and makerspace.
Located in the Third Street Mall across from city hall, the workshop can be used by people who may not have room to work on creative projects at home or who need equipment to complete their projects.
“We see a lot of creative people in this town and sometimes they just don’t have the space to do their work,” Larah said. “The Workshop will be a respite from the chaos, and a place to explore new arts, materials, equipment and even new income opportunities.”
Members will have access to a variety of supplies and equipment in the makerspace that can help you with your art or crafting project. More than that, Larah says “the research shows that creativity begets creativity. If you put several creatives in a space working on their own things, they cross-pollinate ideas and bigger things emerge from that connection.”
They want creatives at every level to come and enjoy the space from those who have always wanted to paint but never knew how to get started to those who are ready to turn their art into their business. They also want people to teach classes at every level. “Skill sharing is a major part of building a creative community. Someone who’s been knitting for 50 years, been playing Dungeons & Dragons for five years, or just learned how to marble paper last week, they’re all teachers. We’re all teachers. We want to be a place where people can share their skills and their passions.”
They’re gathering an impressive list of equipment for members to use. Members can rent access to the GlowForge Pro to engrave or print beautiful and useful products from wood, leather, paper, fabric, acrylic, glass, metal, cardboard… even chocolate! With large-scale manufacturing not happening in our area, this micro-production model could help individuals trying to turn their passion into income and jobs. There is also a product photo cube, a sewing machine, a fully equipped electrical workstation, a pretty fancy rotary tool, a light box for tracing and more.
New equipment is coming in weekly through the equipment consignment program at the workshop. If you have a machine just gathering dust that you would like to get some use out of, you can consign it to the NEW Creator’s Workshop. You get money from the rental fees every time another member uses the equipment. Specifically, right now, the wish list includes a computer-driven long-arm quilting machine, a programmable embroidery machine and a dye-sublimation printer. You could even consign something to the workshop and earn money to help pay it off.
Starting in November, the Ritchies are planning a Second Sunday Family Potluck each month for all members.There will also be lots of social nights for like-minded folks like game nights, stitch and chatter, writing groups, critique nights, and several opportunities for members to showcase their work.
The workshop is a great venue and can be rented for events, workshops, kids’ parties, film showings and a variety of other activities. The workshop is about 1,000 square feet, has seating for 35, a 65” TV for presentations and wifi.
The workshop is now open Monday – Friday from 2-7 p.m. for open studio space. Members can drop in and claim a table or workbench to start working, or they can reserve space ahead of time on the website. The first three visits are free, then people can buy a day pass or a monthly membership to use the space. The Resident Maker membership level offers after hours access, business training and several other incredible perks. There’s even storage available to rent for people who don’t want to carry their projects or supplies back and forth between home and the workshop.
For more info, upcoming events and to sign up for membership, go to newcreatorsworkshop.com. There’s a sale on new memberships until Nov 1st. Get 50% off the first month if you pay monthly, and $100 off if you pay annually. The coupon codes are on the website.