To say that I ambitious is an understatement. I want to learn how to do everything. I want to make all the things. I have endless ideas and overflowing, bottled-up creativity. I also have limited time and even more limited resources. What’s a girl to do? Throw on a pair of boots and head to The Foundery, a Baltimore “maker’s space” offering industrial tool use, workshops, classes, and materials to the average person, like me!
My husband and I had a few date nights years ago in the “old” Foundery building, located on Central Avenue, just outside of Little Italy. It was a tiny Baltimore rowhome in a state of serious disrepair. There was no heat, creaky old floors, and a bathroom only a maker could love. It was glorious, and every time I left the place I couldn’t help but think about when I’d next be back.
In 2016, The Foundery officially opened the doors to its new location within City Garage, a smartly designed warehouse space that is a magnet for start-ups and hands-on entrepreneurs. Kevin Plank is a local success story who has been steadily investing in Baltimore, bringing (and retaining) business and jobs to underserved areas. He is also the creator of Under Armour, but you know, no big deal. Plank invested heavily in developing City Garage, and much of the surrounding area. Thanks in large part to his vision and the support of his investment firm, Sagamore Ventures, The Foundery is now able to offer a huge maker space, with state of-the-art equipment and specialized industrial machinery. The new space not only has real bathrooms, but it also boasts a nearly 20,000 square foot optimized (and super organized) workshop filled to the brim with cool stuff. There is also a lounge and class room area offering ’round-the-clock Zeke’s coffee, free hotdogs, and free popcorn (and it is GOOD popcorn). There are several staffers and instructors on site to teach and certify you on each piece of equipment they offer. The Foundery also stocks and sells various consumable supplies that makers may need, such as raw metals, live-edge wood slabs, paints, welding filler rods, safety equipment, etc.
You can find a list of classes on The Foundery’s website. Classes are often geared towards beginners. There are a few intermediate and advanced classes, which are required for certain machinery, such as the CNC mill. Each class will teach you the basics and safety of particular skills, such as welding, powder coating, metalworking, woodworking, and even Blacksmithing! Not impressed yet? The list doesn’t end there; you can also learn to sew, CNC embroider, silk screen, create vinyl stickers, program microcomputers, use a lathe, forge your own cookware, make some sweet throwing knives, cut 6″ thick steel with water, yada yada yada. Personally, I’ve taken the MIG welding, powder coating, and CNC laser engraving courses, and loved every minute of it. My husband and step-kids shared a bonding experience building corn hole boards together. Classes at The Foundery are something our family gets excited about. I am constantly thinking of new projects that I can complete using the resources available to me at The Foundery. Now I just need to find the time…
If you are a go-getter, or just looking to learn a thing or two, I highly recommend checking out The Foundery. Take a course with a buddy, or fly solo. You won’t be disappointed. The courses are relatively inexpensive, and once you have been instructed and certified on a particular machine, you can purchase day passes to use the machine(s) for as little as $10-20 per day!