April 28, 2012 by Alex Hoekstra
For a little less than a year, I’ve been tuned in to something amazing brewing beneath – or perhaps beside – the mainstream. It’s a movement that’s been taking shape for much longer than I’ve been aware of it, but it’s one that I think everyone will soon recognize and come to honor. It’s a movement of creativity and creation, of enabling, learning, teaching, doing – a movement of independence. Now, more than ever before, people are capable of more. We can do more together and do more on our own. We have greater access to tools, to people and to ideas, and with these resources, our capabilities are growing by leaps and bounds. I’m fascinated to see what people can achieve when their ideas are no longer confined to their imaginations. Today’s project is empowering creativity and productivity, and giving people power that just a decade ago would have been beyond their reach.
Bench is a cooperative workspace for makers. It shares the vision of numerous other makerspaces/hackerspaces/fab labs across the world, but offers not only the tools for creation, but the community to educate, cultivate and refine the skills of the trade. Or rather, of multiple trades.
We, at Bench, are working to create a co-operative workspace for trades like wood and metal working. We want to create a shared workshop for local craftsmen and give hobbyists, or as we like to call them Weekend Warriors, a chance to learn and improve their skilled while working on their own projects.
No matter what name they go by – Makerspace, Fab Lab, Hackerspace – these temples of creation are an amazing resource for congregations of independent makers. They are enabling a power shift away from the large-scale, large-budget, exclusive and proprietary institutions of the industrial age. They’re putting power into the hands of the people, and allowing them – us – to do with it what we will. With this, as with any power, comes responsibility, but the networks and communities that assemble to craft, create, innovate and invent are ones guided by the desire to go forth and make. For a growing number of people, that’s a powerful motive and one that I think and hope and believe will reshape our understanding of what’s possible. Get behind Bench on Kickstarter before May 1, and help the hands that build our world.