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September 18, 2013
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Forging ahead: Makers-space group expands

Members call it a playground for industrial arts and crafts.

Think Martha Stewart, in a machine shop, located at a junk yard.

With ample time to have spread out in its new 3,000-square-foot space, Curious Forge is ready to celebrate with the community. From 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday the makers-space group will welcome the public with a Molt and Migration Party, including one of the most unique art auctions around. More on that later.

For those unfamiliar with maker-spaces, it is a group dedicated to hacking — in this case, a collective of people who transform objects into art through light industrial arts. The Grass Valley group has about 25 members now and works with clay, glass, wood and metal work, fiber art and electronics.

“It really ends up being what members are passionate about and what they bring into it,” said Liam Ellerby, one of the Curious Forge founders.

A makers-space is its own community. Members often work in collaboration on an art project, making a supportive, respectful environment important to the success of the group. Curious Forge also offers workshops for the community to learn about industrial arts. For example, the gas metal arc — or MIG — welding workshop has been really popular with women every time they offer it, Ellerby said.

Curious Forge’s artists use their various skills to hack — or reinvent — something else. The group believes strongly in reusing or upcycling materials no longer in wanted.

“We’re all junk-yard dogs,” said Kara Asilanis, another co-founder.

What they create is nothing short of amazing. Saturday, for example, the open house attendees can take a ride on Curious Forge’s 10-person pedal-powered eagle vehicle. Fresh from its premier at Burning Man last month, the work of art represents just what the makers-space does. The eagle features recycled bicycle components in unique new roles, parts of an old sweater, neon lighting, and more.

“There’s a certain magic in making something. ... Especially if you make something bigger than yourself,” Ellerby said of the process of combining lots of materials and people into a project.

Members have 24/7 access to the new space, so they can work when inspiration strikes. Art works spring up from various pieces of discarded materials.

“(Completed works) don’t have to be usable, but it tends to be,” Ellerby said.

For the Molt and Migration Party, members broke into groups, by specialities, to create handmade chairs for the “Beware of the Chair” art auction.

Each chair incorporates mediums such as ceramics, fiber art, and metal. Much like the Curious Forge, they have to be seen to be appreciated. Saturday is the perfect opportunity. There will be demos of equipment and techniques, tours of space and, of course, the people-powered eagle, just waiting to take flight.

Curious Forge is located at 124000 Loma Rica Drive, No. 5 in Grass Valley. For information, call 530-277-3319, or visit http://thecuriousforge.org/.

Features Editor Brett Bentley can be contacted at bbentley@theunion.com.


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The Union Updated Sep 19, 2013 07:37AM Published Sep 19, 2013 12:26PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.