One of my favorite things about Georgetown is the fact that I don’t have to choose between my academic passions and my creative interests. Here, you don’t have to major in something to take part in it. I get to write for a newspaper, act in plays and paint to my heart’s delight without ever needing to take a journalism, theatre, or art class. A space on campus that is the epitome of this sentiment is the Maker Hub.
To locate the Maker Hub you must make your way down to the first floor of Lauinger Library and follow each arrowed sign to the comfy little 1,500 square feet corner of creativity and collaboration. However, you aren’t done yet! You must ring the laser-cut doorbell, which chimes in a variety of sounds based on the season you arrive in. A turkey gobble greeted each visitor this past November.
On this day, I made my way to the Maker Hub to join the workers of the Women’s Center, along with a Maker Hub volunteer, to make heating pads. I walked in and logged my entry at the flashing LED-covered computer, citing my visit as a part of a workshop, which are events designed to introduce newcomers to the space and stations and to highlight how creativity intersects with innovation. There’s many different themes, including ones that repeat weekly, like Hoyarn, which welcomes knitters, crocheters and fiber enthusiasts of all kinds and levels.
Both workshops and crossovers with clubs and classes are frequent, with October seeing the Maker Hub host a costume-making party with the theatre department, a balloon-tying workshop and a sewing machine workshop where they made pencil bags. Last year I attended a session where I was taught how to cut a rubber stamp that I then made stamps of. This past month two of my friends pressed their own stamps to advertise their radio show with WGTB.
All the materials, which are provided by generous donations, are free to use in reasonable amounts. You may also consider a contribution to the donation box. Last February, I made multimedia valentines for my friends using paper, glitter, fabric, paint and hot glue. The rice and fabric for this workshop were provided by the Women’s Center.
We first picked out our textile of choice and then pinned it down to keep it in line for sewing. We then used the sewing machines to sew three-fourths of each pouch (while inside-out) closed. We then flipped the pouches to the right side and filled them with a mixture of rice and essential oil and/or dried rose petals according to one’s preference. I chose lavender for my scent. The last step was to sew the remaining side shut, which you could do with the machine or, if you were ambitious (or didn’t want to wait in line), you could try your hand at hand sewing it.
In general, the Maker Hub is a safe space on campus. It’s a great spot to go to decompress and make something just because, free of any assignment or deadline. That being said, it’s also a wonderful tool to use for class projects! Students can walk in and work freely during open hours— 3-8 p.m. on weekdays and 12-5 p.m. on Fridays —or schedule a consultation for greater assistance from monitors and volunteers. Both types of workers get a personal keycode to be able to use the space outside of open hours, but only monitors get paid an hourly wage through Federal Work Study awards.
I always find the workers to be amiable and helpful. I’ve often thought about applying to be one myself just because the gig seems to be so great. Though I have memorized the location of every type of crafting tool and supply, and now know how to use a sewing machine, I feel that I would need to first learn how to use the laser cutter, 3D printer, and vinyl cutter before becoming an official team member. I did set crew for a few years in high school, but I would also need to be formally trained on using the power tools for the woodworking station as well.
If I ever decide to commit and apply, the Maker Hub will lead me on a 8-week training program to teach me the necessary skills and knowledge. I won’t need to know it all though, the Maker Hub is just as much about learning as it is teaching.
I am currently desperately hoping to get off the waitlist for a spot in the yearly extreme gingerbread house-making contest, in which students compete to build the most aesthetic and yet structurally sound house in one hour at Lauinger.
Even if my team doesn’t get selected to participate in the competition, I can’t wait to see what I build in the Maker Hub next. I could mend a ripped hoodie or build a poster that sings Taylor Swift medleys for my roommate’s birthday or even 3-D print a sculpture of my dog that I miss back home.