ASMBLY Makerspace gives creatives in Austin a place to play, explore and imagine without boundaries.
By Cy White, Photos by Cy White
ASMBLY Makerspace is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit space for creatives in Austin. With everything from woodcutting to laser work, embroidery to welding, the space allows adults over 18 the opportunity to flex their creative muscles and expand their minds in mediums they’ve never tried before. President and Executive Director Valerie Wilmot took Austin Woman on a tour of the facilities and introduced us to some of the women creating some truly remarkable art.
Q&A With Valerie:
How did ASMBLY Makerspace come to be?
This space used to be ATX Hackerspace, and that had been operating here for about 10 years. About three years ago, a couple members from that space broke off and said, “I want to make an actual nonprofit organization.” ATX Hackerspace was an LLC, but it was running in that nonprofit vein. They formed ASMBLY, but they didn’t actually ever get the funding to buy all the equipment and have the space. During the pandemic, we found ourselves coming back together and saying, “Our priorities are really more in line with what ASMBLY is trying to do. Let’s merge these organizations back together.” So April 2021, we started operating as ASMBLY in this space.
How did the makerspace come together?
The woodshop was always in the woodshop, but it was a bit smaller. The lasers used to be in that main shop area, and they were underneath a loft, so it was kind of dark and cramped, and everything was covered in dust. [The laser-cutting room] used to be two separate doors, and a room that could have a divider in it for a classroom. Another big thing for a lot of us in the space was increasing the brightness and the openness and visibility. In the former space, there were a lot of dark nooks and crannies, which can be a little anxiety-inducing when you’re in a shared space, especially if you’re in a shared space late at night. The electronics lab off the lobby, we added that big picture window so that we have total visibility of what’s going on in there. It feels safer.
When I was designing this, what really kind of jumped out at me was the idea of this really masculine traditional style of armor. I wanted to create something very feminine within it. I really liked that juxtaposition of the flowers and the bees, where everyone else was doing Celtic designs, scales and things like that.Sarah James