A steady stream of local artists, inventors, and other creative types kept the energy going at Saturday’s grand opening of Maker Lab NW. Located just north of Burlington Coat Factory in the old Guitarville space at 23931 Highway 99, Maker Lab NW provides an expanding array of tools designed to turn ideas into reality.
“This is our first day in our own location,” said Maker Lab NW founder Emily Kelton. “We’ve actually been running for about a year, using space in the Shoreline Library and several church basements to get together and share ideas. Our equipment was in various members’ homes, so things were a bit disjointed. It’s so very wonderful to now have this space where we can meet, share ideas, and create together!”
Community is a big part of it for Kelton and the Maker Lab NW members.
“So much of the creative process is getting together and sharing our ideas and energy,” she said. “And this means opening our doors to as many people as possible. We have expenses, so we do have to charge a nominal membership fee, but we reduce it for students, senior and low-income folks. I never want lack of money to be a barrier for anyone who has the desire to be part of our creative community.”
Maker Lab NW is a dream come true for Kelton, who has worked as a graphic designer, artist and considers herself an inventor.
“My dad was an engineer, so I guess it’s in my blood,” she laughed. “I’ve always wanted to find a place like this where I could collaborate with friends and make our ideas reality. I wanted someone else to build it, but no one ever did so I had to.”
And for kids with a creative streak, Maker Lab NW is offering summer camps for kids on a host of topics from robot building to creating simple circuits to hand-sewing.
Maker Lab NW is open from noon to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Learn more at the Maker Lab NW website here.
— Story and photos by Larry Vogel