A conversation with Jessi Taylor, organizer of Delaware’s first makers’ organization, Barrel of Makers:
When was Barrel of Makers founded? What was the idea behind it?
In September 2012 we decided to hold informational sessions to see if the idea of a makers’ club was something our community would be interested in, and we had a good response. Our initial meetings were held in different libraries and other community centers such as the Creative Vision Factory. Then we started holding classes in libraries and parks — anywhere we could find a space large enough — to link passionate makers. Most people join Barrel of Makers to work together, either collaboratively on a joint project, or side by side, gaining inspiration from one another. Some of these people are engineers by day and work with electronics as a hobby by night. The makers who do this do it because they really love it and they want to share and teach. This past September we went to the World Maker Faire New York and won a red ribbon for Best in Class in the Interactive category with our Giant Lite-Brite project, which is now on display at the Chris White Gallery.
What kinds of artists are involved with Barrel of Makers?
All types of makers — craftspeople, engineers, artisans, and makers who focus on hard electronics, computer programming, fine arts — these are the types of people who participate in our activities and classes. Many adults participate, and usually parents will bring their children to learn, create and have fun.
What is Project Pop-Up and how has it affected Barrel of Makers
DEDO’s Project Pop-Up program allows Delaware entrepreneurs to apply for an opportunity to be “open for business” in downtown Wilmington by offering them commercial space, rent-free, for three months during the 2014 holiday season. It’s a great opportunity for us to offer classes in a set location three times a week. It’s definitely helping us evolve our business and exposure.
What’s next for Barrel of Makers?
We’ve been working with WRC to find a permanent home in the Creative District. We’re looking for a space large enough to house the large-sized equipment that makers need to run their businesses, as well as to allow us to expand our class offerings. This will bring us closer to our goal of becoming a membership organization.
For more information on the Barrel of Makers, please visit: Meetup.com/Barrel of Makers