My name is Alex Markus and making things is my passion. I was one of those kids who tore things apart to see how they worked and loved to tinker, draw, sculpt, and daydream about possibilities. I loved seeing what my own hands and mind could produce. As I grew up and my career took me farther and farther away from what I really love to do (funny how that happens sometimes), making became more of a hobby, but the love of creating things never faded.
Over the last few years I’ve watched the growth of maker culture with considerable interest, and have seen a lot of amazing things, from hardware startups to education, as well as collaborative makerspaces opening up in cities all across North America.
What I didn’t see was a central place where makers could:
- Meet/find each other (both locally and globally)
- Showcase their work
- Market their skills
- Collaborate online
While local makerspaces are truly amazing hubs for knowledge and innovation, not everyone has access to one or would want to join one if they did. How do we make makers accessible not only to each other but the wider community?
What if you’re working on a small project and don’t want to buy a 3D printer for just a one-off creation? What if you need a graphic designer, or a hardware hacker, or a 3D modeler? How do we connect individual makers and small maker communities in a way everyone could benefit from?
These were the questions that led to the creation of Maker2Maker. My primary goal for creating this online community is to provide a place where anyone could go to find makers (whether for collaboration or commissions) or share their own skills with others. So far the user base is small, but among the users there are already some amazingly talented and interesting people — such as full-time artist and sculptor Gosia (pictured above).
As I became more and more involved in both my local maker community (in Toronto) and its global/online counterpart, I saw a lot of interesting projects going on that not only promoted making, but also aimed to promote positive change in the world. Makers are a wonderfully socially conscious community, so it isn’t surprising to see so many of them working towards expanding and innovating educational programs, reducing environmental impact, opening doors to diversity, finding better solutions toward accessibility, and generally excelling in both innovation and entrepreneurship.
A great example of this is a group I’ve been collaborating with recently, the Institute For a Resource-Based Economy and their Toronto Tool Library, which not only provides a makerspace to work in but also lends out tools, kitchen implements, and even seeds. Together with The Makers Nation, a local maker event and education organization, we recently held a robot-building competition (and battle) earlier this month. The number of kids who signed up equalled — if not surpassed — the number of adults, and it was really inspiring to see the makers of tomorrow have so much fun imagining and then building their own balloon-popping robots. Everyone (kid or adult) should have access to this kind of stuff, no matter where they live.
So in the end, that’s what Maker2Maker is all about: a place to show, a place to share, a place to market your skills, and a place for makers to work together. I’d like to use the site as a platform to promote individuals and organizations that are looking to make the world a better place through making.
I’m looking for people to sign up for the site (it’s free to use) and let me know what you think (you can message me through the site).