Willoughby & Baltic
Jeanine Brennan
Feb 12, 2009

Where can you go to make just about anything — whether you're an artist, hacker, tinkerer, inventor, or maker? If you live in Boston, the answer is Somerville. Willoughby and Baltic, community artspace, fabrication shop and hacker lab, is offering DIY classes this winter to inspire ordinary folks to build extraordinary things. But these aren't your typical art or craft classes. You can silkscreen just about anything, weld and build your own inventions, learn basic robotics to make your artwork move, even take apart electronics and toys and modify them to sound differently. All in a relaxed setting with creators and tinkerers of all ages...

Willoughby and Baltic was formerly an artspace and clubhouse to the Boston chapter of the international Dorkbot organization. Last fall they expanded to become a community of creators with a unique workshop and a 2000 square foot fabrication space with tools ranging from soldering irons, to tabletop lathes, to a darkroom and welding equipment. Their goal is to spark people with a knack for building things to invent and create by giving them the tools, space and network to make just about anything.

This winter W&B is offering workshops and intriguing classes such as SculptureTech, creating ArtBots, Holograms, Robotics for Artists, Silkscreening, Welding, Urban Gaming and Adventure Design and more. Even if you don't take a class, becoming a W&B member gives you access to their welding tools and darkroom (as well as the energy from working alongside other creative tinkerers).

And they don't stop at classes. W&B is also bringing together the local community to design and create projects that benefit the neighborhood. Currently members are collaborating on the Bike Kiosk Project — creating self-rental bike kiosks at several locations along the local bike path and providing resources for those who use their own bikes. They also just finished building a colorful and imaginative play structure for a local preschool, which self-waters plants within it.

Some other cool offerings at W&B include regular Open Hack nights where engineers come together to work on their own projects, and Noise Nights where folks bring in something like a toy that makes noise and learn how to modify it to make a different sound. It sounds like an incredible amount of fun just to be in this creative environment.

It's icy outside, but you can build cool things in Davis and Union Square.

(Images: Willoughby and Baltic)

>>> Willoughby and Baltic's web site

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