The Makers Find Their Way to Brooklyn’s 3rd Ward

SOME PEOPLE ARE MAKERS, SOME ARE TAKERS: We’ve been hearing that a lot from the top of the Republican ticket this fall. But however you plan to vote, there’s no denying that the hive of activity that is 3rd Ward comes from the makers. It’s a school, it’s workshops, it’s a hangout space. The membership is diverse in age, ability, and skills, but they all come to the repurposed warehouse in Williamsburg to work, to learn, and usually to share. Brooklyn Artisan visited on a recent Sunday evening and the place was buzzing.

3rd Ward customer service specialist Erica Eudoxie

Customer service rep Erica Eudoxie has worked at 3rd Ward for 18 months and taken 13 courses. Her long-term interest is jewelry making.

The only takers, if you can call them that, are the folks taking the classes that range from an intense one-day session up to courses that run over eight weeks. You can take Embroidery 2.0, or choose one of 20 offered in Fashion, or 8 in Welding & Fabrication, or 20 in Woodworking, or 10 in Web Design, or 16 in Drawing, Painting & Illustration.

One category is called simply Bike = Love. offering Basic Bike Mechanics, Intermediate Bike Mechanics, and Badass Bike Lights. (“With the right components, you can build your very own bike light which outshines all the others. In this class, you will make your very own hi-power LED bike-light which runs off a 9v battery.”)

For 3rd Ward members, the pricing structure is an incentive to commit to the community for the long term. (Basic membership, $99 for a year; co-working, $149 a month, or $119 at the annual rate – for the longer stay, you get a lower rate).  There are work stations as simple as library carrels, shared computer stations well equipped with big-screen Macs, conference areas, and even dedicated office spaces for micro businesses. My favorite presently on-site is Susty Parties, which sells colorful party goods made from sustainable materials, of course. (You can see why the business owners might like having this frou-frou stuff  Out. Of. The. House. Please!)

Like wallflowers at the eighth-grade dance, dress dummies huddle against the wall between classes. The sewing room serves some other purposes, too.

The  wood and metal makers’ professional spaces have recently been separated from the student spaces. To work in either area, you must pay the Pro rates ($599 a month, or $479 monthly at the annual rate) and demonstrate your skill level to a shop manager so that you are not a danger to the high-powered tools, to other workers or to yourself.

The metal shop includes a large work area with metal cutting and welding tools and shielded work stations. The even larger woodworking loft has materials-storage racks, table saw, lathe, drill press, mortising machine, an advanced dust-handling system, plus shop brooms and industrial size dustpans neatly stowed in plain sight. Separately vented yellow lockers stash potentially toxic and fume-producing wood finishing chemicals; a covered can that’s emptied every night takes care of oily rags.

Business training is available as well, both in structured classes and in informal, water-cooler consulting. Small-business bookkeeping. Using social media in marketing. Presentation skills for attracting investors.

Erica Eudoxie explains why she has taken so many courses herself: 13 and counting. “It’s not just the typical ADD skill set,” she says, laughing. “It’s the impulse to make something. I have it, and most people here do. It’s why they come.”

Have there been any big stars to brag about, any bold-face names who’ve passed through 3rd Ward on the way to success? “It depends on how you define success,” Erica says. “If it’s being able to quit your office job and make a living with your craft, then yes, definitely.

“And I’d say there are a lot here now who’re on the trajectory to success.”

 

Better Than a Petting Zoo? The Kings County Fiber Arts Festival

Kings County Fiber Festival was a visual feast Saturday afternoon at the Old Stone House on Fourth Street between 4th and 5th Avenues, Park Slope. Lots of wooly things to purchase, learn about and pet, including unspun wool, soft-as-air Angora, and two huge Angora bunnies!

The Picks of Brooklyn: To Do List for October 5, 6, 7

Saturday & Sunday:
Open House New York, multiple sites all weekend, many require reservations. Some Brooklyn picks:

Green-Wood Cemetery tour of 478 picturesque acres including rare access to several family mausoleums.

Great for families: Lefferts History House: Sweet & Savory Treats from Mrs. Lefferts Cookbook, circa 1800. Prospect Park.

Kings County Distillery Tour, tour the new home of NYC’s oldest operating whiskey distillery. Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Saturday: Brooklyn Yarn Crawl & Oktoberfest, sponsored by NYC Pints ‘n’ Purls meetup. Four Brooklyn locations, plus an optional stop at the Kings County Fiber Arts Festival at the Old Stone House. “This shindig runs all day on Saturday.”

Saturday: Brooklyn Museum, Target First Saturday. Brooklyn artist Mickalene Thomas: Origin of the Universe paintings, music, entertainment. Free.

Sunday: Gala Gala Hey! Festival, an apple festival featuring Pie Stand, a cliche-busting pastry academy. Free classes about apples and pie making, treats (brandied apple cardamom pie, JK Scrumpy‘s Farmhouse Organic Cider Duche de Longueville) plus square dancing. At The Drink, Williamsburg.

New: A. L. Coluccio, a new storefront in Bay Ridge, following in the Coluccio family tradition of Italian food importing. Groceries, baked goods, cheeses, cured meats, including several Brooklyn suppliers like Brooklyn Cured sausages and fresh pizza dough from DiFara. Yum!

Read: Dark Rye Tumblr  An online magazine from Whole Foods Market.

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