Make San Antonio: Building a Community of Makers

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Make San Antonio hosted Makevember, and invited groups such as 10BitWorks to display their work. Photo by Ruben E. Reyes.

Make San Antonio hosted Makevember, and invited groups such as 10BitWorks to display their work. Photo by Ruben E. Reyes.

What’s a maker? Everyone’s definition varies. We the folks behind Make San Antonio even wrote a blog about it. We define a maker as “a creative person who strives to create in a world that bombards him or her with consumption. A maker is a person who makes the conscious decision to re-purpose, fix, remake, or reinvent something in their life.”

Now, where does a maker create goods? Enter Make San Antonio, a soon-to-be makerspace with a goal to foster innovation and collaboration and give area residents a home base for all their creative endeavors.

The concept of a makerspace, referred to as a “DIY space where people can gather to create, invent, and learn” by the Open Education Database, isn’t anything new. Austin, Houston, Dallas, and other cities all have multiple makerspaces.  

Make San Antonio hosted Makevember, and invited groups such as 10BitWorks to display their work and their involvement in the maker movement. Photo by Ruben E. Reyes.

Make San Antonio hosted Makevember and invited groups such as 10BitWorks to display their work and their involvement in the maker movement. Photo by Ruben E. Reyes.

Make San Antonio is currently seeking funding from investors and community members as we search for a physical location and work on programming. In the meantime, Make San Antonio founders are creating events and updating early supporters through social media efforts. As we work toward our goal, we’re taking into consideration the views and opinions of our members as we build out our space. The more involved our members are, the better we’ll be able to tailor Make San Antonio to them. As we work toward opening our doors, we foresee offering 3D printers, electronics studio, a wood shop, a metal shop including welders, laser cutter, CNC router, photography studio, jewelry studio, textiles, vacuum and injection molding, workspaces and design/coding/editing software to our prospective students. Whether you are an entrepreneur or a hobbyist, you will find all of the tools and support to make your projects come to life.

Make San Antonio hosted Makevember in November, and encouraged attendees to showcase what they make. Photo by Greg Reyes.

Make San Antonio hosted Makevember in November, and encouraged attendees to showcase what they make. Photo by Greg Reyes.

How did Make San Antonio come to be? After a Spare Parts meeting in the spring of 2014 – a  volunteer group that inspires and supports San Antonio’s growing creative community and PreK-12 schools through environmental accountability –Spare Parts advisory community members Lauren Salguero and I chatted about our desire for a place for makers of all kinds to come together.

I mentioned my husband, Greg Reyes, and his desire to start a makerspace. Salguero and I made plans to meet to discuss our ideas for what each of them had in mind for a space for makers and creatives. By last May, Greg and I had met with Lauren and tossed around ideas. A few months later, we got together with local STEM guru Mark Barnett and picked his brain. Following the meeting, he was part of the Make San Antonio team.

The people behind Make San Antonio came together due to their commitment to community efforts, which they hope to continue and strengthen as they move towards creating a makerspace in San Antonio. Each Make San Antonio founder brings a unique skill set to the table. Mark Barnett, also known as Maker Mark, is the director of STEM programs at SASTEMIC and the captain of the Geekbus.

Mark Barnett, one of Make San Antonio's founders, holds a "I'm a Maker" sign during Make San Antonio's Makevember event. Photo by Ruben E. Reyes.

Mark Barnett, one of Make San Antonio’s founders, holds an “I’m a Maker” sign during Make San Antonio’s Makevember event. Photo by Ruben E. Reyes.

I am a Pinterestobsessed crafter and the community and media engagement manager at KLRN, where I specialize in public relations, social media, and community engagement efforts. Greg is an IT professional, an experienced woodworker, and is known to dabble in 3D printing and metalworking. Salguero is a wizard with a glue gun, and a pro at graphic design. She runs Tiny Roar Creative, a local design agency.  

In November 2014, Reyes gave a short pitch during Café Commerce’s One Million Cups program. We had such a great experience that we want to replicate it in the future. People in attendance were receptive of Make San Antonio’s concept and were eager to sign up on the spot. The feedback from attendees during the pitch was also well-received by Make San Antonio, and several suggestions were worked into our business model.

Before the One Million Cups pitch session, Greg participated in the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program at Café Commerce, where he learned lessons from local entrepreneurs and started working on the business end of Make San Antonio. One of his first ventures into getting the Make San Antonio name out into the community was in the form of a survey, which is still available for people to contribute their ideas.

Also in November, Make San Antonio hosted its first event aptly titled Makevember. We invited local makers such as Spare Parts, 10BitWorks, The OCTA-TETRA Museum, SASTEMIC, Alamo Basement, and BarbacoApparel. We had 3D printing demonstrations, courtesy of 10BitWorks, and for the kids, spare parts made DIY watercolor activities.

“Makevember was an opportunity to peek into what Make San Antonio will offer our community. At this energetic event, Spare Parts showed folks how to make watercolors from dried-out markers, and then they painted their own masterpiece,” said Mary Elizabeth Cantu, Spare Parts founder and director. “I think everyone who attended connected as a ‘maker,’ left inspired and wanting to make more. Make San Antonio will be an invaluable asset to San Antonio and Spare Parts looks forward to partnering with them again.”

Makevember brought out more than 100 people, varying in age from young to old. The event was meant to show what types of activities a makerspace could bring to our community.

“It was my honor to have run a kids’ activity at Makevember,” said OCTA-TETRA Museum Founder Dan Suttin. “ I met some terrific people that night, especially the kids. Looking forward to seeing Make San Antonio grow and prosper and promote creativity in San Antonio.”

This month, Make San Antonio will be curating a maker-inspired Second Saturday show at the Lullwood Group. In early spring, the team will embark on a membership crowdfunding drive. To keep up to date on our latest news and information, sign up on Make San Antonio’s website to be added to our mailing list.

*Featured/top image: Make San Antonio hosted Makevember and invited groups such as 10BitWorks to display their work. Photo by Ruben E. Reyes.

Related Stories:

1 Million Cups: Good Ideas Going Viral

Return of the Geekbus

Break Fast and Launch: New Culinary Business Accelerator at Café Commerce

Made with Code Introduces Girls to Web Programming

Café Commerce: One Stop For San Antonio Small Business Startups

 

4 thoughts on “Make San Antonio: Building a Community of Makers

  1. It should be noted that 10BitWorks, San Antonio’s existing Makerspace , already offers most of the wish list items mentioned in this report, and has recently enlarged to enable additional creative activities. See the Facebook page (link below) for a laser-cut dinosaur and other recent projects. Want to see more? Drop by the Saturday afternoon open house!
    1020 Roosevelt, 78210
    https://www.facebook.com/10BitWorks.HackerSpace
    http://www.10bitworks.com/

  2. The San Antonio Children’s Museum, soon to become The Do Seum, will have a MakeSpace for guests and local school groups. We have been working with Mark Barnett to design the space and look forward to tapping into this broader community as we move forward. Please consider us a partner and co-advocate, and know that we’d be happy to host events as the community continues to mobilize.

    Sincerely,
    Vanessa Lacoss Hurd, CEO

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