Makers come from all walks of life and possess various levels of experience. All are welcome at the Washington-Centerville Public Library (WCPL) Creativity Commons. Quilters, crafters, 3D designers and others can schedule time to use an assortment of machines to create or complete their projects.
Creativity Commons is the passion project of Bill Menker, WCPL patron services manager. Bill is a maker himself who enjoys blacksmithing among other crafts. He launched the project about 10 years ago by implementing maker kits that can be borrowed from the library. The number of kits available has continued to grow based on community suggestions with birding, astronomy and cake decorating just a few of the many options. Kits were the first step but having a space was always the vision.
“The maker movement has taken off in the last 20 years or so and we want to be a part of that,” says Bill.
The Washington Township RecPlex houses Creativity Commons. The 800-square-foot space is not only a dream come true for makers, but it’s also the workplace of Darrilynn Brewster, workspace liaison for Creativity Commons. Darrilynn teaches classes, shows people how to use the multitude of machinery and provides a friendly face to anyone who stops by for a tour.
“People don't need to be afraid to come in. We're here to help them. The biggest hurdle is ‘I'm not a crafter, I don't know how to create.’ That's what we're here for,” says Darrilynn.
Shelby Quinlivan is the community relations and development manager for WCPL. She passes on the message that, “It's not your grandma's library anymore. We don't shush people so much at this point. The opportunities are vast so the makerspace is just one more thing that allows people to learn to be creative and to put their passion into an actual product.”
The makerspace boasts a plethora of equipment. There is no charge for the use of any of the items. Visitors are charged a modest rate for raw materials used such as thread, paper, buttons and magnets.
The most popular machine is the laser cutter. It is in constant use engraving wood, metal, acrylic and glass surfaces. “It's rare to find that piece of equipment anywhere else and it's got so many possibilities,” Bill points out.
The space has been well received by the community since opening in June 2022. Bookings which can be done at Creativity Commons or online have averaged between 150 and 200 per month. Creativity Commons is being utilized by schools, small businesses, small groups and crafters of all experience levels. A WCPL library card is all that is needed to use the space.
Creativity Commons is unique to Montgomery County and has the advantage of offering new machines with the latest technology. Plans are being considered to expand the space and offer even more options in the future.
“It’s something that wasn't available in this area before. You not only get the one-on-one experience, you learn how to do it yourself. We also have great pricing,” Shelby explains.
Classes are offered with convenient online sign-ups through the WCPL website. Three holiday class offerings this season involve making a Silhouette Christmas cookie plate, creating sublimated ornaments and learning to use the 3D printer to make cookie cutters.
Class sizes are limited, but these projects and others can also be completed by reserving the sublimation machine or the Silhouette. A full list of classes and photos of completed products can be found on the website which may help inspire crafters looking for ideas.
Wood cutouts and 3D objects like ornaments or earrings are great holiday gift options and can be finished at home by adding paint and other final details.
“We're very excited to have this available for our community. They have been raving about it since it opened and we're looking forward to seeing where it can go from here. I also enjoy the interaction between patrons,” explains Bill.
Visitors are welcome to stop by Creativity Commons for a tour during regular business hours posted on the website. Machines can be booked in person or online. WCLibrary.info/Makerspace
Creativity Commons Equipment
Quilters and sewists will enjoy using the embroidery machine, Accuquilt Go and heavy-duty sewing machine.
Button machines can be used to create buttons with pins or magnets. Buttons may display photos, name badges or other designs.
3D printers and a 3D scanner can create almost anything from replacement parts to art and jewelry. 3D objects can take hours to print depending on their complexity.
Print banners, signs or stickers with a versatile 54-inch printer/cutter combo. Visitors can use their own photos. Vinyl and paper are available at Creativity Commons. A graduation banner promotion this summer was a huge hit.
A sublimation printer and heat press allow the transfer of your design to t-shirts, mugs, tote bags, magnets and other projects. The printer produces an inverse image on sublimation paper which is then transferred to the selected product through heat. The image becomes a part of the product.
Produce custom shirts, greeting cards and other crafts with the Silhouette cutting machine. Paper, vinyl, cardstock and fabric can be cut to the shapes and dimensions you desire for your craft.
A Canon EOS 800D digital camera and a Dremel variable speed tool are also available to makers.