Factory Two invites the community out to its free annual 'Make the Space' event

FLINT, Michigan — Flint is known to embrace the DIY culture whether it comes to startup businesses, the music industry, or the maker space. With a mission to empower people through making and creating, Factory Two, a community-focused space, provides tools and resources to inspire creativity and innovation. 

Its upcoming annual event, Make the Space, invites the public to visit the space, see hands-on demonstrations, participate in make-and-take activities, and enjoy food and drinks. The free event takes place at Factory Two (129 N. Grand Traverse St.) on Wednesday, Oct. 18 from 5 to 8 p.m.

Factory Two began with the goal of fostering an empowering and transformative environment where the community can learn, share, and create together. The downtown space has cutting-edge technology like 3D printers, drones, and wood-making and metal shops.

Warren McClure, lead instructor, and member advocate at Factory Two, teaches classes and works to make sure the maker space can accomplish its mission of discovery, exploration, and creative problem-solving.

Participants at a previous Factory Two event experience a live screen print demonstration. “The maker space came out of the DIY punk music scene in the 80s, it grew out of that ethos,” McClure says. “The idea is that if you need something, you figure it out. Not only will you have more of an appreciation for the thing that you yourself have made, but also a better understanding and you can then apply that to other things, problems, and fields.”

The annual open house event serves as a fundraiser and aims to encourage networking and hanging out between makers, and those curious about their respective crafts, as well as those looking to learn something entirely new. Activities include laser-cutting, graphic design, blacksmithing, woodworking, leatherworking, t-shirts, and more. 

“It’s a very large, open space with several workshops,” McClure says. “We have vinyl for t-shirts and stickers right next to 3D printing. Up front, we have a VR setup right next to sewing, as well as our computer lab for teaching classes. The next room has leatherworking, stained glass, screenprinting, and the laser cutter. The idea is to encourage cross-pollination between the different ideas and different skill sets.”

Participants at a previous Factory Two event experience a live leatherwork demonstration. The all-ages event welcomes participants to try their own hands-on activities and make and take projects. The activities are free but donations are encouraged since the event is a fundraiser. 

McClure says the community support the collaborative space has received from Flint thus far continues to evolve and inspire. 

“We have a pretty tight connection to the community on several different levels,” he says. “We are primarily grant-funded so we’re a 501(c)(3) and have all sorts of events and collaborations with organizations throughout the community. 

The space not only provides the first impression of specific crafts but also a reintroduction to others who have been away from their hobbies for a while. For both parties, the unique collaborative environment provides a safe, engaging, inspiring atmosphere for creating. 

“People can come in with no skill set at all, but a curiosity,” McClure says.

“Sometimes, people come in and were an architect for the last 45 years, and now they just want to continue using those types of skills – but now apply it to making leatherwork items, or figure out how to use computer programming to design something in V.R. Those people can also wind up getting back into the maker space here by volunteering to teach classes, to help with classes we’re teaching, create new items or processes for the space to make other things easier. It is a highly collaborative endeavor.”

For more information about Factory Two, visit: factorytwo.org/en
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.

Read more articles by Sarah Spohn.