If you're wandering around Somerville, MA, you might stumble across the Artisan's Asylum, a non-profit "Community Craft Studio" started in May 2010 by Gui Cavalcanti '09 and his partner Jenn Martinez. When starting the Asylum, Cavalcanti "...was looking for a culture similar to Olin and my high school robotics team, where the emphasis was on collaboration and peer learning to make cool stuff possible. While I was at Olin, we frequently used the student shops for fun personal projects, and I always loved an environment where I could make anything at any time with a cool group of people."
Family and friends put together a $40,000 loan that funded the initial tools and 1,000 square foot space, but with over 100 people accepting initial invitations, it quickly became apparent that Artisan's needed to go bigger.
"Artisan's Asylum is unique in that it combines hugely diverse shops with studio space for almost every kind of maker there is. This lends the Asylum the feeling of a vibrant, active community with a huge amount of in-house talent", says Cavalcanti. Artisan'saims to unite disparate types of creative fabricators - from "pure craftspeople" to "pure engineers", making it easier for members to get the tools they need and take their projects to completion, not just leaving a half-finished idea on a shelf.