Turning Sticks Into Sawdust For The Sake Of Art

At Port City Makerspace in New Hampshire, creation is the name of the game. Come turn sticks into sawdust for the sake of art.

No matter your trade, Port City Makerspace in downtown Portsmouth has the resources and community atmosphere that make it a perfect incubator for creating, fixing, and tinkering. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran in your discipline or are looking to pick up a hobby, Port City Makerspace is “where we turn sticks into sawdust for the sake of art,” as their woodworking homepage candidly puts it. Break out the elbow grease and slap on a pair of closed-toe shoes you don’t mind getting covered with random debris, and go make something.

“The Makerspace was founded by Zak Robinson, Ross Beane, and Clint Crosbie in 2012. They heard the idea of a ‘shared workspace’ and thought about doing one for a long time,” says Alex Nunn, general manager of Port City Makerspace. “The rest is history.” PCM is a member- and volunteer-driven space with a friendly atmosphere. “Today there is only one regular staff member, and lots of members and volunteers that help run things. We have also grown in size, both member-wise and actual space. We have approximately 8,000 square feet of space.”

Photo courtesy of Port City Makerspace

Photo courtesy of Port City Makerspace

No prior skills or prerequisites are needed to become a member at PCM except for a determined attitude and an openness to meeting good folks from diverse disciplines. This is not a hack-it-up, make-it-up situation—their philosophy is that it’s important to know how to use tools and they’ll help you get to that point safely and effectively. Seeing that the Apocalypse has never seemed more imminent than it does now, that standpoint is easy to agree with.

While Port City Makerspace is a great place to pursue personal projects or take woodworking classes, members have also been involved in more large-scale operations. “We have helped with community projects like the Prescott Park Green Room, and hosted open workspace days for costume-building for the Halloween Parade. Members have also built some amazing things; an interactive sandbox for Bewick Academy, humanoid sculptures for the Dover Children’s Museum, and a few tiny houses on trailers,” says Nunn.

Photo courtesy of Port City Makerspace

“I’ve lived in the seacoast area most of my life, and despite having moved around a lot in my younger days, it feels like home regardless of where I am in the area. The historical and natural appearance of everything is lovely, and makes life seem peaceful—and once you meet someone, you see them around a lot as though the whole state is a small town,” says Nunn. A community-oriented area such as Portsmouth is the ideal place for people to gather from varying areas of expertise into a breeding place of collaboration and learning, and Port City Makerspace seeks to be that hub. If there’s one thing we know about innovation in technology—it grows at an exponential rate.

So, summon upon your inner jewelry maker and craft that line of industrial bolo ties you’ve been fantasizing about, or make a modest but brag-worthy foot stool for the living room. Learn how to code or visit the 3D printing lab and make a memorial of your favorite deceased pop star. Explore microcontrollers and CNC routing with Alex Nunn. Come to repair your bicycle—hell, come to repair your car! The possibilities are limitless.

Port City Makerspace
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
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Top photo courtesy Port City Makerspace
Emily Hannigan-PageTurning Sticks Into Sawdust For The Sake Of Art

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