One of the few subjects I did well in at School was woodwork, or craft design and technology as I think it was actually called. I liked everything about this subject, the satisfaction of making something from scratch and the unique smell of sawdust and cut wood that you only get in workshops. I didn’t make anything exciting, a kitchen roll holder, money boxes, bird boxes and coat hooks. But the object being made wasn’t the most important thing to me, it was the process of taking the raw materials and shaping them in to something new that I enjoyed. Outside of school most of us don’t have access to workshops, any woodwork I do now like trimming doors or cutting skirting board is usually done in the garden, as the cuts on the edge of the garden table prove. Being grown up often means that woodwork stops being a creative thing and instead falls in to the dreaded realm of D.I.Y, something you only do when you really have to. Could a community space behind a giant red door be about to change all of that?
Hidden in a quiet spot just off Blackhorse Road is a place that is putting the excitement back in to making, and giving local people easy access to workshop space. I’ve been hearing about the Blackhorse Workshop for a while now so today I went along to have a look around. It took me a little while to find the workshop, mainly because I didn’t check the address before I left home. Having wandered around the wrong industrial estate for a while my other half looked up the address, within minutes we had passed through the big red doors and were being shown around the workshop. The ground floor is divided up in to four areas, cafe, bench space, machine room and metal working room. Upstairs are further working areas and studio spaces that are intended for use by start ups and professional makers. The workshop offers various memberships, a casual memberships costs £18 for a day, £24 for a weekend and £42 for a week, monthly and yearly memberships are also available. Members get full access to the workshop, tools and machinery and support from the onsite technicians.
We live in a throw away age, if something breaks we often buy a replacement instead of trying to fix it. In my case that’s mainly because I don’t have the skill or equipment needed to carry out repairs, or indeed build something from scratch. Not only do I not have the skill I don’t have anyone on hand that I can ask or learn from. This new public space fills that gap, it provides a fully stocked collaborative working environment. It gives people like me, people who want to make and repair things, access to the right people, skills and equipment, opening up a new world of possibilities. The Workshop is open Tuesday to Sunday 9:30 – 5:30 it’s worth going along and taking a look at this new and valuable community space.