What is quite a common facility in the UK is not so common in Australia, but North Wollongong has one and it's helping people get creative.
Like a "gym" for designers or hobbyists, the UOW Makerspace at the Innovation Campus has a smorgasbord of expensive machines like laser cutters, 3D printers, sewing machines, heat pressers, water jet cutters and power tools (to name a few) and is reopening to the public post-lockdown.
Designer Eleanor McNeill returned to the Illawarra at the beginning of the year after living abroad and "fell in love" when she discovered the space, so much so she now co-ordinates workshops and programs there.
"It was this open space that was really affordable and I could spend hours and hours there making and bringing these ideas to life, but also there were other people there doing their own thing ... so I never left," she said.
"They seem to be popping in the US too, but definitely more in UK - they are public access, share-economy type spaces where you can access these big amazing machines that are too expensive to have in your own home, and be part of a creative community."
People can either learn to use the equipment through workshops - like making cake-toppers with a laser cutter, or ear-rings from recycled plastic - or confident creatives can buy a pass (or 10) to work out of the space like a shared workshop with use of equipment and table space.
Ms McNeill said they were also looking for community groups or talented individuals that would want to share their skills and teach from the space.
The first workshop back will be on October 23, and will be regularly held on Thursday nights and Saturdays.
The UOW Makerspace is a pilot space of a joint initiative of the Australian Institute for Innovative Materials, Science Space and the UOW Global Challenges Program.
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