If you are lucky enough to know someone who would call themselves a maker, then you probably know that a lack of prior knowledge about how to make something never stops them from trying. Instead, this not-knowing has the exact opposite effect; it piques their curiosity, prompting them to dive in, explore and try to figure it out.
Too many times, I’ve heard myself say “I can make that!” to which my partner (the pragmatic one) reliably responds, “Yes, but will you?” Well honestly, without the space and the tools, maybe not.
Many times I’ve found myself in the middle of our dining room encircled in tools and wood, wondering whether or not the glass table could be used as a sawhorse and or if the cat would walk by at the wrong moment.
While there is an undeniable thrill in diving in to a project that you have no idea how to do, unless you have the right resources at your disposal, you either forfeit your living room for a while or hold back on fully going for it.
The Diyode Community Workshop is a sprawling warehouse down by the riverside in Guelph where makers can go to tinker, prototype or build just about anything that the heart desires. It’s the ultimate garage that would be a thing of most makers’ dreams.
This unique space-sharing platform pools membership fees and resources and has acquired a vast array of metalworking, woodworking, electronics, and prototyping tools for members to use to their hearts content. At Diyode, members share a universe of skill, resources, inspiration and a willingness to explore and play.
As Eva Bodahelyi, the president of Diyode, tours me through the space, her passion is evident. She is learning about Blender, an open-source 3D modelling software, and prepping to do a skills-sharing workshop with other Diyode members. Through this workshop, she will lead the group through a shared learning experience, where participants will figure it out together, the “instructor” included.
Photo Credit: All images © Melissa Gobeil
On our tour, Eva introduces me to Diyode members and the inner workings of the machines, devices and programs that keep Diyode ticking.One member, Steve pops by to pick up something from his over-stuffed storage area and tells us about his silk screening project and his plans to skill-share what he has learned. As we are chatting, he smiles, pulls something off of the shelf and holds up a print sample that says, “Put that in your article.” Not planned, but totally in line with how Diyode seems to operate; quick, responsive and sharp.
The Diyode Community Workshop its self functions like an organism. From the electronic key entry (a program that monitors who enters the building) to the Codeshields (electronics and programming teaching tools) with a Hall sensors that monitor the laser cutter, this place is alive and interconnected. It’s a space where hackers and makers can make a tool to fix another tool (try to wrap your head around that,) or message a group of members who are offsite and get a response to a query in matter of seconds. Eva just loves this place, “It’s like being in the Big Bang Theory every day” she says with a twinkle in her eye.
On top of the electronics and programming side of this maker space, there is a metalworking area with a lathe, a CNC mill, a Verticut saw, and a plasma-cutter. The woodworking area has a router, drill presses, table saw and all kinds of other saws and hand tools. I look up at one point and see the work of a local artist who is a member at Diyode. I recognize her work and Eva explains that the piece we were looking at was made on the router right beside us. The maker in me loves it here.
Diyode’s approach to creative-place making is remarkable. They seem to have figured out what it takes to make space-sharing at this level work. Their invitation to members to come get their hands dirty and help each other out appears to be exactly the grounded approach needed for this creative space to thrive.
If you have not had the pleasure, I’d recommend reaching out to Diyode to see how it all goes around. Perhaps it could be your new creative space too?
“Diyode is a non-profit organization with a mandate to foster an enthusiasm for DIY, to spread the idea that it’s better to build something than to buy it, and that it is better to fix something than throw it away.”
For more information contact:
Diyode Community Workshop
71 Wyndham St. S, Unit B,