4 Maker Hotspots

MadRim recently published an article in MAKE Magazin, our first appearance in German in print! They published three lists, written by Miriam and photographed by Madison: Zehn kreative Fab Labs in Europa (10 Fab Labs You Must Visit if You’re in Europe); Acht coole Projekte (The 8 Coolest Projects We Saw While Biking Across Europe); and Sechs Labs für dein (inneres) Kind (Six Labs for your [inner] Child). Since we wrote a couple more lists that never made it into print in German or online in English, we’ve decided to include them here. Read on to learn about 4 Maker Hotspots and 2 Crazy Coloradans.

Madison and Miriam at Can Fugarolas.

Madison and Miriam at Can Fugarolas.


4 Maker Hotspots

In Hamburg we not only found forward-thinking political activism, but a healthy urban maker scene. Rote Flora is a long-time squatted building that used to be a theater. Several hobbyist clubs operate out of the space, including a free bike clinic on Monday nights that we made good use of. A short bike ride away you’ll find Gartendeck, an urban garden in the bouncing St. Pauli district.

Just across the Dutch border in Groningen we explored the connection between the maker movement and entrepreneurship. David Bakker, founder of the huge urban maker hub Maakplek, helped us make a Draailampje–a little lamp that turns on when you flip it over. We used ours to light the tent later in the journey. “Stuff is not the end goal, we don’t want to have stuff, we want to experience a great life, experiences versus stuff,” David said. “But I think when you make a thing, it’s more durable. It still uses raw materials, but if you make something yourself, you’re proud of it. You’ll own it, you’ll keep it, you’ll feel part of it, you’ll feel more attached to it so you won’t throw it away.” In Groningen, we also toured De Wolkenfabriek, the Cloud Factory, a repurposed former sugar refinery, where they’re constructing a collective for creative people. “We try to make here also a place to earn money with creativity,” founder Titia Punt told us, “but it’s not easy, as we are really in the beginning of the process. It’s a collective of people who want to experiment with sustainability.”

In Gent, our artistic Couchsurfing host turned us onto Nucleo, “an organization that hosts artist studios,” coordinator Marjoleine Maes said. “What we do is look for empty buildings in the city of Gent and we try to obtain them for temporary use and create artist studios in there. Artists need a place to live, and a place to work. We really want people to have the objective to develop a professional career.” We met several Nucleo artists working in a range of media, from wood to thread, all grateful for the space to be messy. “I occupy one of the studios,” said Jonas Nachtergaele, who also works part-time for Nucleo. “Topocopy is my studio. It is an open atelier for printing creative stuff. We make books, have a publishing label, we have a library, we make artist prints, we set up projects, we try to do a lot of projects with print and ink and paper.” Jonas is also integrated into Timelab, the Fab Lab in Gent. About Nucleo, he added, “We really wanted to be like a window into the work of the artist.”

Close to Barcelona in Mataró is Can Fugarolas, a truly creative community devoted to repairing and co-working. Can Fugarolas is home to a makerspace, a welding workshop, an autobody shop, two food cooperatives, an urban garden, a sound engineering studio, artists’ studios, and a circus troupe. We met a man named Fidel, who upcycles old bicycle parts into practical garden tools. Wouter Tebbins of the Free Knowledge Institute accompanied us on our tour of Can Fugarolas. “Typical in the market is that companies are competing with each other. But in the cooperative, we are trying to collaborate as much as we can.” Wouter added that during times of economic crisis one can witness a “sort of exodus from the corporate control model to the common space model.” After our tour, Ricard Jornet, one of the founders and managers of Can Fugarolas, which he calls a “social-open project,” invited us to his restaurant Lasal–right on the beach, local, organic, and fresh.


2 Crazy Coloradans

Madison Worthy is studying enterprising leadership with the Kaospilots in Denmark. While coordinating the final edit of Self-Made, she aims to facilitate entrepreneurship within Fab Labs, an economic endeavor that will define the next three years of her education. She is excited to begin making at the newly established FabLab Aarhus.

Miriam Engle is living in the mountains of Colorado working as a children’s ski instructor. She will continue to write articles for Tour de Fab until Self-Made is released. Next summer, she’ll work closely with the Floating FabLab in the Peruvian Amazon to explore how digital fabrication can affect resource conservation and social change.

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