A new business is coming to downtown Keene which will promote creativity and engineering while creating a community of “makers.”
Make It So Makerspace is the creation of John ‘Johnny’ Bolster, a KSC alumnus from the Class of 2008.
A makerspace is a space which functions as a laboratory for people who create things.
“I make the analogy of—as a gym is to athletes, a makerspace is to artisans, crafters, artists and innovators. It’s simply a place where people can have access to resources, knowledge and tools that they couldn’t afford or access on their own, as well as the space to use all that,” Bolster explained.
Bolster hopes to create a cooperative culture that fosters creative ideas that can be brought to reality.
“It’s a great opportunity for bridge building through the interactions people have with each other,” Bolster said.
Bolster continued, “It is the antidote to a lot of this separateness that develops with electronic devices. In the same way that a coffee shop brings people to one place where they can be at their best with their stimulants and get work done without feeling so alone in their offices or apartments.”
Ashley Dahlquist, a KSC biology major agreed, “It would be a good activity for friends to get together and do creative work.”
“It’s meant to be a very accessible place where inspiration can manifest,” Bolster said.
Bolster plans to create an environment where people can learn how to create their dreams in a way that works best for them.
“My experience at Keene State, and I’m not picking on Keene State in particular, you learn when we say you learn. I have come to realize that is not how human beings work. We learn when we are ready to learn, and we should not be forced into that process. We are really trying to focus on natural learning, where people can look at their own physiology to determine when they are most ready to learn,” Bolster explained.
“I am trying to create a pivot point for innovation. We potentially have everything that anyone would need to do anything—that’s the long term goal. Like any business we need to start at the ground level and incrementally work our way up,” Bolster stated.
Make It So will eventually have everything from a digital lab to a fix-it-yourself automotive garage.
Bolster explained that the company would grow into various disciplines depending on funding, donations and the needs of the customers.
Bolster said, “On Pinterest we have the wishing wall. It’s a place where people can look and say ‘Oh I have this item that sits in my garage forever and I have never used it, or I have this thing I use often but I want it to be available to others as well.’ We can then work out a barter or perhaps if its a real necessity we would purchase it.”
“Ultimately, in order to keep costs down, we are just going to see what comes in the door. We will see what organically forms, and when we have gaps we will have some funding to purchase what we need,” Bolster explained.
The tools will be available to “borrow.” Just as books can be checked out of the library, Bolster said, members will be able to “check out” tools to use for their projects. “It would be a good activity for friends to get together and do creative work.”
Bolster had some unique ideas of how he can fund Make It So while using the resources of the makerspace.
He said, “The main thing is starting very small. In the beginning we will fund with the rental of studio space at two dollars a square foot.”
“An idea that I have is to create a miniature golf course using the influence of the makerspace and the artistry going on there we want to create a collaborative work in a form that’s fun for people to experience,” Bolster said.
The golf course will be modular, so it can be moved indoors during the winter, or brought off-site for functions. Bolster also said he will work with area elementary schools to help design each miniature golf hole.
Make It So will become part of the cooperative community developing in Keene. Its location places it close to Neighbor Made and The Monadnock Food Co-op.
“Luckily, right across the way is Neighbor Made, which is essentially a makerspace for food. It’s a place where, if someone has a food product, they can rent the place for a few hours and make it. We are akin to that. Our neighbors are very ideal,” Bolster explained.
A portion of the building will be residential so that teachers and members can reside in the studio to make the most of the resources.
Bolster stated, “In the long-term we are planning on having residential options as well. Places for people to live and work at the makerspace.”
Bolster then explained a concept called “lights-out manufacturing.”
He said when a manufacturing process is automated, the “maker” can start the machine, shut off the lights and return to their room until the process is done.
Residential opportunities would help take advantage of lights-out manufacturing.
Make It So is currently working on a promotional video, which will launch a crowdfunding campaign to finish renovations on the building.
The video shoot is scheduled for Oct. 25, according to Bolster. Bolster plans to open Make It So to the public by March 2015.
People can purchase membership packages that range from a $45 five-day pass to an $150 all access pass that would grant subscribers access to the space 24/7.
Hunter Cinq-Mars is a sophomore management major at KSC. Cinq-Mars said, “Of course it’s going to be expensive. The products that they have there are out of the ordinary, so I think it would be worth it.”
“As a college student I don’t know if I would pay that. If I was older and had a job I don’t think that is too expensive, its like a gym membership,” Dahlquist said.
Bolster wants to create an environment where developers and artists can create whenever inspiration strikes them.
Bolster said he wants to, “Preserve human potential, without it being fettered by the system.”
David Walsh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org