NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — Have you ever wanted to try your hand at woodworking? Or knitting? Maybe even jewelry making? Now there’s a space where you can hone your skills and learn a few new ones while you’re at it. It’s called Spark Makerspace and it’s located in downtown New London.
“Makerspaces had started on the west coast and over the last 10 years they have really gotten big moving across America,” explained Casey Moran, a working artist and the director of operations at Spark.
The makerspace opened last year as a place for adults to nurture their creativity.
“I think when we’re adults and we get out in the real world, we may not be doing exactly what we love to do,” Moran said.
From silk screening to metal working, to a full commercial kitchen, members have access to it all.
Retired teacher Stuart Sharack spends most of his time here in the wood shop.
“I want to learn all the skills that I don’t have and that I didn’t have in my career,” Sharack said.
His first project was a cornhole game. He even used the sewing machines at Spark to make his own bean bags.
“I wanted to do the whole project by myself and Spark Makerspace was having an open sew and it said beginners welcome
“It’s actually nice because there’s a lot of other artists nearby,” said member Kimerbly Kantharaj. “They might not even have the same interests as me, but they’re nearby and you can have conversations with them, talk about what they’re working on. It gets me interested, maybe I get inspired to do something else.”
Thanks to Spark, Kantharaj says she was able to expand her jewelry business.
“In order to hire people, I needed to secure some sort of space that we could work together and this seemed great when I found out how much equipment they had,” she explained.
Fiber Artist Winnie Bellefleur has also grown her Etsy shop because of the makerspace,
“What I’ve been able to do because of Spark is add handmade items,” she explained.
But if a member doesn’t have their own store, they can always sell their work at spark’s retail location located just up the road.
“It’s a really great experience for people who’ve never sold their art before,” Moran said. “That feeling you get back from that is really awesome.”
Anyone in the community can become a member of Spark Markerspace. New member orientations are held Wednesdays and Saturdays. For more information, visit Spark.coop.