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Makers House: Create in Good Company

Nicole Patterson

ceramics class

The ceramics workshop attracts many artists.

“I wanted to make a space for creative community, a place for coming together, learning and teaching one another,” says Associate Professor of Art Nick Hutchings, MFA.

nick-hutchings-in-text.jpgAfter a decade in the making—the idea has come to fruition.

The Makers House is a new gathering place on campus where students, faculty, staff and administrators can make, teach and create within a community. Located behind Archbishop Borders Hall and inside the Art Annex, the Makers House is operated by student managers who oversee daily open labs and host weekly workshops.

In the first month, the Makers House welcomed hundreds of students who participated in workshops including bookbinding, hand-made pottery, knitting, crocheting, beading, jewelry making, embroidery and painting. Workshops are led by a student, professor or other maker and are available to members of the Mount community, regardless of experience level. Participants can learn a new skill and create in good company.

Students can also utilize four open labs: ceramics, craft, shop and fabrication. Ceramics lab involves hand forming clay and will eventually expand to throwing on the wheel. Craft lab involves jewelry making, knitting, crocheting, sewing and embroidery. Shop lab is woodworking and sculpture. Fab lab comprises digital fabrication, 3D printing, laser-cutting and CNC routing.

anna-martinelli-and-emma-edwards.jpg“The main thing that attracted me to the Makers House was my need for creativity,” says Taylar Terry, a junior studying fine arts and creative writing, who attended a ceramics workshop. The event was so popular that stools, chairs and tables had to be borrowed from other campus locations to accommodate the crowd. “There were so many people that I ended up helping by handing out clay. It was amazing to watch how many students and staff came out to create art together and quite heartwarming to see a community in which we can all come together like this,” she says.

A distinguishing feature of the Makers House is that students and other attendees do not have to pay for materials or lessons; they can simply come and create. Deans graciously supported the space with $2,500 to purchase supplies and equipment for the Makers House.

Students are looking for grants to sustain costs as they continue to see an increase in interest and participation. “We are building it in faith. The funds will come,” Hutchings says. This semester he introduced a Maker Lab Practicum where 15 students work to manage the space and lead workshops. The team is an essential part of how the Makers House functions. The “Homies,” as they call one another, build, clean, design, plan and execute workshops and monitor open lab hours.

maker-house-machine-in-text.jpgCraft manager Emma Edwards, a junior studying art education and music, has seen the Makers House’s impact. She led the first Knit Night workshop and taught students the handicraft. A kit of knitters sat inside the Makers House with pairs of long needles forming loops using colorful skeins of wool and acrylic yarn. Nearby, she taught a cache of crocheters beginner hand positions and how to hook simple chain stitches with a single needle. “I was excited to see the influence we had on so many people outside of the art department. I saw the results of this in my own roommates, all STEM majors, who have a newfound love for crocheting,” she jokes.

Carly Beres, one of those STEM roommates, says the space helps her relax and recenter herself. “I had a lot of fun talking to new people. These activities are very relaxing and soothing to me because it helps redirect your energy into something other than schoolwork and other responsibilities,” she shares. Beres is a health sciences and nursing dual degree major. She now serves as the garden manager and is in the initial planning stages of creating a community garden—another endeavor for the Makers House. “It’s very exciting, and it is going to be nice to add some more beauty and life to our space,” she adds.

In addition to a community garden, Hutchings says a mural will eventually showcase the Makers House. Students are supply-shelf-in-text.jpglearning to lead from their strengths and creating a culture of collaboration. Whether tackling ideas, completing administrative tasks or physically constructing furniture and shelving, students are inspired to make and help one another. New workshops on how to make zines and fun opportunities like flower arranging and pumpkin painting are popping up on a regular basis.

“The Makers House will grow through word of mouth and find interesting ways to engage the community,” says Trevor Kern, C’22, who earned a bachelor’s degree in art with a concentration in fine art and is now pursuing a MBA. This summer he completed the Saxbys mural for the student-run café in the newly renovated and expanded Knott Academic Center. Now he works as the graduate assistant for the Visual and Performing Arts; he brings a wealth of knowledge to the Makers House with a well-rounded understanding of 3D printers and CAD software as well as an understanding of basic design.

Jasmine Mouring, a sophomore studying psychology and art, is a staple and major force in the space. Updating the schedule, she quietly concentrates on the kerning as she pushes white letters into a felt menu board outside the Makers House. Students inside are listening to music. “What attracts me the most to the Makers Space is the inclusivity and inviting nature of the people in the space. There are plenty of friendly faces ready to greet newcomers at the workshops, and it really creates a warm atmosphere—especially in an artistic way,” she says.

maker-space-sign-in-text.jpgDuring the pinch pot ceramic workshop, where students formed and molded the clay, Mouring witnessed students arrive with their friends or in small groups to enjoy the stress-free environment. “The happiness radiated off their faces,” she reflects. Students returned days later anticipating details on the bowls they had made, eager to start glazing. That glow represented what is good and right and true. Mouring says the community helps her feel less secluded, more connected and grateful to be part of something larger than herself.

The Makers House, a reference to God as the builder of all things, aims to foster the spirit of creativity and community at the Mount.

On a crisp Friday afternoon on the cusp of fall, a student is sculpting clay inside the Makers House. Another is sweeping sawdust off the cement floors while two students crochet and laugh. Hutchings is with a small group of students at a T-shirt press making shirts with the Makers House logo on them. The symbol, a 3D printer extruding the name Makers House, represents the source from which all good things flow. Hutchings is hopeful students will learn and teach others what is good and right and true: they are made in God’s image, and as they create they participate in God’s creativity.

Questions? Email Nick Hutchings at

Nicole Patterson