RMC recently finished work on the expansion of Social Fabric, which is living up to its brilliant name with an engaging mashup of sewing groups and classes, textile art, shopping and creative window displays to a key downtown corner. Located on Commercial Street in the Parkade building, it’s just one of several Bellingham venues designed to bring people together to make stuff.
Social Fabric embodies a global maker movement that has everyone from educators to economists (and architects) excited about the benefits that “social making” confers, whether as a vehicle for teaching and learning, a creative outlet for hobbyists or an economic engine for whole cities.
While the movement generally sparks recognition of tech-oriented places like the Bellingham Foundry, which provides access to sophisticated tools (3-D printers, laser cutters), workspace and classes to develop ideas and products, it embraces a wide spectrum of enterprising artisans, designers, inventors and tinkerers who are creating, or re-creating, things in collaborative ways.
Find a suitable space, add tools and materials (often recycled) and voila, a maker space is born — a place to build things in community, thereby also building community — along with expertise, entrepreneurism, local identity and a small, hands-on shift away from mass production and consumerism. It’s a neat trick, and we are delighted to see it taking hold in Bellingham. May the movement be as successful as its cousin, the craft beer (and food and spirits) crusade.
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