Pensacola, Florida
Sunday December 17th 2017

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New Makers Space Hosts Ruckus

By Shelby Nalepa

Come support a new makers collective Friday night as they raise funds for their new space. Bare Hand Collective is unveiling the beginnings of their new warehouse on North Palafox by hosting a charity music event called Ruckus Fundraiser.

Bare Hand Collective is a group of makers, artists and creative professionals working out of the Bare Hand Warehouse. It was started by Jeff Bere, who owns Losobe Woodwork. Owner of Charlotte Mason Printing Company, Caitlyn Cooney, then joined the collective.

“At first Jeff was on the lookout for a space for his business, but used the opportunity to create his long-term goal of being part of a makers space,” Cooney said. “It grew to include myself, Shane Drye, owner of Jacobi, LLC., a local tech company, and Hannah McLeaish, an all-around creative guru and local graphic designer of HM creative.”

Cooney said that they all commiserated over the same need for a dedicated makers space in Pensacola that fostered collaboration and professional guidance from a creative standpoint.

“It’s definitely grown into a more comprehensive and communal concept to include education, community outreach, and special events,” Cooney said. “As of right now, it includes the Losobe wood shop, the Charlotte Mason letterpress studio, the private art studios of Jarrod Goldman, Poppy Garcia, Famous Gabe and Shauncey Fury from Hula Moon Tattoo, as well as a few flex desks for creative entrepreneurs and professionals such as Drye and McLeaish.”

Cooney said that Bare Hand has two more private studios for rent, several open art spaces, and room in the office area.

“The beauty of these flex spaces is that artists and professionals can be a part of the collective on their own schedule—a day, week, month, or year at a time,” Cooney said. “We are definitely accepting more people into those areas at this time. We want to grow our circle.”

While they may be from different backgrounds, Cooney said, creatives generally all think and work similarly.

“We draw inspiration from seeing what one another is working on, asking for a critique or an idea, and even better, working on projects together,” she said. “For instance, a photographer may work with me to create wedding packages, or if Jeff builds a desk for a business, we may try and bundle it with a professional design suite. There are so many opportunities to get different and creative perspectives on your work; it’s really helped us all be better at our own jobs.”

Cooney said that their goal within the first year of being open is to foster the educational aspect of Bare Hand.

“We see opportunities within our own lives to help our adult community members learn new skills to hopefully empower them to create—be it a bookcase for their house or a set of thank you cards, we want to help people get creative,” she said.

“Another side of that is entrepreneurial development. While we see resources for new businesses in the community, we want to offer the creative perspective, artist to artist.”

Cooney said that the children’s programming will be similar, but their goal with it will be to supply their young community with practical skills before they reach vocational school age.

“We want to teach things like basic hand building, introductory coding skills, personal brand development and collaborative projects where they can learn to work together to improve our community,” she said.

Cooney said that learning trade skills equips someone to be self-sufficient because many of these skills carry over into contemporary habits.

“You see places similar to ours popping up around the U.S., and you hear about the ‘Makers Movement,’ but it’s become bigger than just a trend,” Cooney said. “As our society moves deeper into a digital age of learning, socializing, shopping, etc., we are trying to keep the handmade, self-taught, grassroots movement alive. Building your brand from the ground up keeps you more in touch with your customer engagement, knowing you built your kitchen table with your own hands makes you value your family dinners that much more. There’s something sentimental about it, for sure.”

Cooney said that the DIY movement has really grown out of people making things in their garages, and while that is inspiring, being able to work out of one giant “garage” with people just like herself sparks growth she may not find on her own.

The Ruckus Fundraiser to support Bare Hand will feature local bands including McDean, Lee Hicks, BLSSR, God Bless Relative, Faux/Fox and Blight, plus catered food from The Magnolia and End of the Line Café, desserts by Blue Jay’s Bakery, free drinks, live art by Jarrod Goldman and Famous Gabe and opportunities for people to learn about the space and the studios they can be a part of. Cooney said that their goal is to raise at least $1,000.

“While construction and improvements on the space have already started, it’s a difficult task to take on financially as a small group,” Cooney said. “The money will go toward those improvements and necessary equipment to make the shop and studios fully functional, such as woodworking machinery, exhaust systems, climate control, a foil machine, a laser cutter, etc.”

Cooney said that Bare Hand Collective’s long-term goal is expansion on several levels.

“Not only do we want more space to include even more people, but we hope to also create a non-profit that will serve the local creative community in Pensacola,” she said. “We are focused on the overarching idea of Creative Placemaking—intentionally leveraging the power of the arts, culture, and creativity to serve a community’s interest while driving a broader agenda for change, growth, and transformation in a way that also builds character and quality of place. We want to empower the Pensacola population, from teaching them how to express themselves and successfully brand themselves, or helping them make their own furniture, collaborate with one another and contribute creatively to Pensacola’s growth. In short, we want to help Pensacola make better.”

RUCKUS FUNDRAISER
WHAT: Bare Hand Collective Fundraiser
WHEN: 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 25
WHERE: Bare Hand Collective, 2370 N. Palafox
COST: $7 suggested donation
DETAILS: barehandcollective.com

*If you can’t make the fundraiser, you can still donate at gofundme.com/pensacolamakersspace.