Houston Makerspace

A few weeks ago I took a field trip to Houston Makerspace and got a wonderful tour of this incredible facility. I’ve been to ADX in Portland, and was excited to hear that fellow crafter and business lady Maclean Smyth was bringing the same type of facility to Houston around the time we opened The Tinderbox. To see it come to fruition and currently building momentum is great-from Culture Map’s Lane Lynch:

“Maclean Smyth, the founder and operator of Houston Makerspace, is working to pioneer a maker revival in the Bayou City by installing a large co-working, craft warehouse called Houston Makerspace — the first of its kind in the Bayou City. The forthcoming workshop will provide members with access to the tools, equipment, classes and co-working space they need to create, craft and collaborate with fellow artisans. Smyth believes the city has a deep-seated, untapped resource of capable, committed crafters that would greatly benefit from working together and learning from each other’s trades and skills.”

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The first thing that struck me was the size of the warehouse and the opportunities that come with 20,000+ square feet. My head was spinning with the possibilities of classes and educational opportunities that we cannot facilitate at The Tinderbox. Take a tour through pictures below of the jewelry fabrication space, screen printing setup, laser cutter, 3D printer, carpentry area, metalwork space, sewing and textile room, photo room, and classroom.

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“I believe that creativity aspires innovation and ambition in our culture,” Smyth says. “With this space, we can build a society of makers right here in Houston.” That is exactly what we wanted to create at The Tinderbox, so I am happy that the same attitude is being fostered elsewhere in the city. To finally see the space in person was really exciting, and I encourage everyone to go check it out, take a class, and most importantly invest in the businesses and opportunities in Houston that make it a much better place to live and work. 

 

The Market @ Mid-Main

We began hosting an outdoor market this Spring called “The Market @ Mid-Main” and our 2nd market is this Sunday from 11-4pm! Who doesn’t love a good outdoor market, with live music, things for the kiddos to do, and lots of great vendors to shop from? Come hang out with us this Sunday in the Art Garden (right across the street) from 11-4pm. Local singer/songwriter Paul DeFatta will play at noon, What’s Up Cupcake will be here, and the kiddos can make piñatas to celebrate Cinco de Mayo at The Tinderbox.

My niece Avery (shop ambassador) enjoyed the festivities
My niece Avery (shop ambassador) enjoyed the festivities

We are happy to have an extension of the shop for more vendors to have access to the great Mid-Main block and the space of the Art Garden to do more things for and with the community. It is a great block to spend a Sunday afternoon on, drinking $2 mimosas at Natachee’s Supper N Punch, browsing records at Sig’s Lagoon, and of course sipping a strong espresso from Double Trouble. Check out some shots of vendors at the March Market:

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Linda from The Silver Acorn
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Chris from Pampered Sisters
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TIC Jewelry
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Eridu Modern furniture and vintage finds
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Urban Izzy Fashion Truck

First 3 Months at The Tinderbox

We recently hit the 3-month mark of being open, and it has really flown by! We knew there would be things about the space that we would change once we were in, and we were right. We just finished a large remodel, and I wanted to share the evolution of the shop in the last few months. Here are a few pictures of the shop in March 2013. It had not been used for over a year, but was a great blank canvas:

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We had less than a month to get the shop operational, and a huge thanks to all of our friends and family who came out and assisted with moving, painting, and everything in between. We officially opened our doors April 9, 2013 showcasing 20 local artisans and hosted our first workshop April 19th. The following 3 months were filled with fun, lessons learned, new friends, new artists, workshops, great media coverage, and lots of hours! We have gotten to know the block a lot better, and have really invested in making this area a urban destination where you can walk around and check out all locally-owned businesses.

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The Tinderbox

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By the beginning of July, we had doubled our artisan list and underwent a large renovation to move a few walls to open up a new workshop space that was once storage and an office, and give the retail space a facelift.  I love the new space, it seems bigger and is definitely more functional than before. Our workshop and private party attendees can now enjoy their own creative area and we have the additional room at the front of the store to bring in more handcrafted furniture and home goods. If this much has changed in less than 4 months, I can only image how the shop will continue to evolve. Thank you to all of our customers that have shopped, created, laughed, and reenergized inside these 4 walls. I have been forever changed by the process of opening this shop and maker space, and I hope to continue to serve Houston with a crafty creative haven for anyone looking to get re-aquanited with traditional skills and techniques of our past, and to shop from and support local artisans who have sacrificed a lot to offer high quality goods that you can be proud to own. Take a look at the new space below, then come say hello, shop from amazing local makers, and create something!

 

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Houston ETSY Craft Party

I wanted to circle back and highlight the amazing time I had hosting the Houston ETSY Craft Party June 20th. So many Houstonians came out to craft for a cause and the feeling of community was palpable. We had so many craft supplies and materials donated by the community, including The Tinderbox artists’ Beyond Her, Fuzzy Grapefruit, and Hola Dear Deer. Brittany of the Houston ETSY team and I decided to pick a local non-profit we could handcraft practical items for, and we made the following for a charity that does so much for women, The Women’s Home.

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Product donations: 
Candles from Manready Mercantile
Jewelry from Rust & Pearls
Lip balm from Rachel's Plan Bee

A warm thank you to everyone who participated by making, providing materials, food, and support, and helped spread the word, especially our neighbors My Flaming Heart and Natachee’s. I am always in need of a reminder of the good people are capable of, and why I opened a “craft collective” in the first place, so thank you! Check out the great pictures below from the night.

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Austin Renegade Craft Fair

Even though it was two weekends ago, I wanted to write about our quick trip to Austin for the Renegade Craft Fair.  Wayne and I wanted to meet and support several of our Austin makers, and support the few Houston artisans  there as well (like Lisa Chow and Angela from Purl & Loop!) Plus, Renegade is a fantastically curated show, and it was a nice chance to get out of town for a few days (although leaving the shop was a bit like leaving a newborn for the first time). We stayed at Verde Camp, near South Congress, in a fully furnished and stocked 1-bedroom house. It was very charming, offered free bike rentals, and was the perfectly located getaway for the weekend.

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The very first thing we did when we got to Austin was promise not to stress about the shop, and decided to make it official with a margarita and live music on South Congress. It was nice just walking around and spending some time together. We also went into Parts & Labour, one of my favorite Austin destinations and inspiration for The Tinderbox.

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DSC_5839We decided to eat dinner at Curra’s Grill, “The Mother of All Mex,” and a suggested local favorite. We really liked the food and atmosphere, but their famous avocado margaritas were another thing. (Wayne did admit that it kinda grew on him). They were popular though, we saw almost every other table with several of the slime green concoctions.

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Saturday morning we were up and out the door after a cute little breakfast in our cute little house. I wanted to stop by Mockingbird Domestics, a store I have been dying to check out since they opened their doors in September.  They store is incredible, with beautiful home furnishings, furniture, and other high-quality Texas-made products. The owners, Jeff and Laura Daly, were so warm and delightful to talk to and we talked about a few of our shared vendors, Satchel & Sage, Bexar Goods, and Little Low Studio.  Everyone needs to run to check out their online store, wedding registry, and fun craft events.

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We finally made it to the Renegade Craft Fair and it did not disappoint. The event was held at the Palmer Event Center, and  the entry was free (we did pay $7 for parking, and the food onsite was a bit pricey). We decided to just go up and down each row and spent a good 4 1/2 hours shopping, talking, meeting, showing, high-fiving, exchanging, and smiling. We were able to catch up with Jessica and William of Son of a Sailor, pick up an order from Fox & Brie, hang out with Caitlin from Little Low Studio, meet Morgana and Gerran from Satchel & Sage and ogled at all of their new products.  There was a lovely vintage section of the fair, and I bought a beautiful table cloth from Stella Rae Vintage. I also bought a necklace from Bee Amour, who I am happy to announce will be coming to The Tinderbox! Anna is a bee keeper AND a jewelry designer, and each piece is handcrafted and casted from original honeycombs and cells.

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We spoke with several artists interested in having their handcrafted products at The Tinderbox, so make sure to stop by the shop and see what new items we have. We had a great time, met lovely makers, and brought back some great ideas for The Tinderbox. Thank you Renegade for hosting such a wonderful event.