By Cait Lepla
CALGARY — Is it just me, or is Inglewood on a roll? I mean, it’s got a long history of being pretty amazing, between great public events, iconic eats and unique boutiques, but lately it’s metaphorically on fire! Of all the fabulous things going on down there is an especially exciting new addition being crowdfunded for what is called the ReWorks Maker Space.
ReWorks is an existing boutique that has added a lot to the profile of great design available in the city. It’s been around for about four years and features trendsetting household décor, fashionable bike gear, gifts and toys. For those unfamiliar with the term, “upcycling” refers to pieces made from recycled materials that no longer function for their original purpose, yet have incredible longevity for reuse in value-added ways. Everything in the store is made in North America, and popular items include bags made from seatbelts by a company called USED, beer bottles turned into cups by glassblowers at Artech, and iconic sofas made out of cast-iron claw bathtubs.
The shop owner, Solita Work, has expressed that she wishes she could source more things from local makers. “There are a lot of artists around that have great ideas, but not necessarily the experience or the space to create it, so I was hoping that I could facilitate that.” Having graduated from ACAD in the ‘90s, her background is in design and marketing, and she’s determined to help talented local makers develop their products into successful brands. “It doesn’t matter to me whether they have training or not. As long as they have a good idea and they’re willing to work on it with me then they can use the space for free.” Customers will be able to see these artisans in action when visiting the store, and there is even likely to be introductory workshops that give makers the chance to share their knowledge and teach others how to make their own signature pieces. Collaboration between different creative strata will cross over like never before!
Her great entrepreneurial spirit has already been directed towards an amazing range of forward-thinking projects. She’s helped represent the cycling community in Calgary, and contributed to the Cycle Track Network initiatives and other infrastructure, with ReWorks operating as a satellite rental location for Bike this summer. The store also holds “Recycling Challenges” via Uppercase magazine and every month she will post a different material with a callout to artists, which can land them a feature on her website, and a possible spot for their product on the shelves. She has also been deeply involved in Find It Calgary organizing the Inglewood Night Markets, which tied in this year’s season finale with the arts and engineering festival Beakerhead. “I already have some ideas… but I’m just going to focus on the Kickstarter for now!” she laughs.
The target has been set at $12,650, which would allow for the layout to be reconfigured with a new large work area, encompassing about a third of the current floor plan. Most of the funds raised would go directly toward purchasing tools for the makers, and upgrading the electrical to properly handle this new influx of power needs for the heritage building where it resides. Of course, the way crowdfunding works, is that if the project doesn’t meet its full target, it doesn’t get any of the money pledged at all. “People seem to think that they have to pledge a lot of money, but the ideal thing is to have 1,000 people pledge $10,” in which case your name would be included on a special wall display. But hey, if you pitch more, you can claim some beautiful designer pillows made from trendy reclaimed fabric samples, recycled skateboard creations by ADRIANMARTINUS have first dibs on getting to try the Maker Space out, or even gain free access to the amazing upcoming workshop events that will be happening there!
Either way, it closes at the end of this month, so make a pledge and tell your friends! Consider dropping by to check it out in person too, as a new window display was just completed for an Inglewood BRZ contest.AB, Alberta, Inglewood, Kickstarter, ReWorks