October 17, 2019
For fans of Pinterest, DIY projects, or simply working with your hands, Fort Wayne boasts a unique venue at the Build Guild to work on a variety of personal projects, participate in workshops and classes, and build community with other like-minded craftsmen.
Located on Goshen Avenue, the Build Guild is a space that supports creative individuals by providing tools, tables, and a wall of free previously used tools for members to take.
With a little over two years of business under its belt, this venue began with humble roots as a space for members of the cosplay community to gather and create costumes.
Creative Space for everyone
However, as time progressed and interest in the resource grew, co-owners Larry Brooks and Abraham Parra quickly realized that this opportunity was more than they could have imagined.
“We immediately realized that cosplay wasn’t the direction we wanted to go,” Brooks explained in a recent interview with Whatzup. “We realized that people wanted an open and creative space for all kinds of craft.”
Brooks, a skilled and well-rounded handyman himself who also owns The Recovery Room, has a vested interest in the idea of craftmanship as he has always enjoyed building things. His relationship with co-owner Parra began early on as Brooks knew Parra from a young age and served as a mentor.
“I came up with the idea to start a creative space, but Abraham was the reason and the motivation behind it,” Brooks said. “We help people indulge in their hobbies and desires.”
The Build Guild soon began to incorporate other aspects of crafting and creation by offering workshops to the community outside of the cosplay realm. These workshops include an expansive list to appeal to all handy types, including blacksmithing, smelting, jewelry making, cooking, and pottery.
While these types of classes vary in cost, the Build Guild offers reasonable pricing and schedule options.
NO matter your skill level
Boasting around 100 committed members, the Build Guild uses both internal and external connections to help offer the shops.
“We do it the old way,” Brooks said. “We work hard to connect with people who craft and build and have these skills. Another advantage that this organization has is that I myself am skilled in many different fields. For me, I can do about half to a quarter of the classes we provide. Our members also help form our workshop because of the many skills they offer. So we use our members, me, and another hired staff member to help keep our classes going.”
Perhaps the most enticing aspect of the Build Guild is their accommodation for all levels of craftsmen.
“When we say beginner, or basics, or a 101 class, we mean it,” he said. “No knowledge or experience is necessary.”
Membership to the Build Guild is $20. Members receive extra benefits outside of a discount on workshops, such as 24-hour access to the space and access to tools and equipment.
However, the workshops listed on their website are open to everyone in the community — not just members — though nonmembers will have to pay full price for the workshop and won’t have the above listed benefits.
“We constantly see new faces,” Brooks said. “We have a lot of returners, but mostly it’s a lot of new faces. Especially in the colder months. In the colder months, we typically host around 600 students. We offer 40 to 60 classes per month, and those require between three to ten students minimum. We usually sell out most of our workshops.”
When asked his final thoughts, Brooks had no hesitation in his response: “Build it. Don’t buy it!”
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