Make@140 Vauxhall Street
By Jessica Holliland
Photo Credit Dom Moore
Two years ago, a button fanatic with a dream opened the doors to Plymouth’s only full time, dedicated makers café. I met with the proprietor, Lizzie over a pot of hot tea and a huge chunk of their salted caramel brownie to talk about how the team from Make@140 is helping to make Plymouth even more creative.
The shop and café is set in a historic stone walled building just a few steps down from the Plymouth arts centre and only a minutes walk from the historic Barbican steps. As you approach the shop, the huge glass window gives you a glimpse of bright colours and textiles but it isn’t until you open the door that you can really appreciate the impact of the rainbow wall of buttons, quirky vintage furniture and quaint counter full of home made deliciousness.
Over the past two years Lizzie has built a network of talented local textile artists and makers who work with them to offer a huge range of workshops to the creatively minded in the city. They believe in inspiring creativity but also in preserving and sharing the age-old skills through friendly short courses in things like freehand embroidery, weaving, felting, pattern cutting and even specialized interests like sewing classes for men or lampshade making. Lizzie explains how she is always looking to expand the courses they offer, she is always open to hearing from creative people who want to share their skills and there are currently plans at the to add lino cutting and fabric printing to the rota in the new year.
Workshop in swing at Make@140. Photo credit Dom Moore
Sewing workshop at Make@140. Photo credit Dom Moore
As well as the workshops Make@140 are building an ever-growing network of social making events to be held in the space. Earlier this month they held an Etsy Pop-up market night, they have regular weekly meet ups for people to come with their projects and socialize on a Wednesday night. They’ll also host their second ‘Feature Female’ meeting in December, a new networking event for young creative women. Lizzie wants Make to be more than just a shop and café, she wants it to be a safe place where people can extend their social circles and combat loneliness, she’s passionate about the fact you don’t need a friend or a making project to come to a social session, in fact if you can’t make a social session then Lizzie wants you to come down anyway.
The small team are more like a family and they’ve got everything you need to start creating right there in the shop. They’ve even recently launched their own kits for you to make in-house or take home with you. From less that £10 you can get all the materials you need to make your own fantastic project while you drink your tea; leather purses, origami, jewellery and more, and one of the team is more than happy to give you a hand getting started. In fact as we talk Lizzie is constantly popping up to chat to a customer, give a little advise, answer the phone, pop out a cheery welcome as the door opens or help someone choose the perfect button to compliment their fabric… she can’t help herself.
Kits at Make@140
Make@140 Vauxhall Street Logo
Collaborating is clearly a huge part of what Make@140 does, as well as the ever growing network of makers running workshops, there are pipeline plans for an overseas makers exchange with the USA as part of the Mayflower400 commemorations and over the next few months she will be working alongside textile design students from Plymouth College of Art, helping them design new take home kits for the venue as part of their coursework.
With so much on offer, and such a warm welcome waiting for you, why not head towards the water, be part of the community, ring the bell, pick your craft, choose your cake and come and make at Make@140.