Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, people standingWe had a great turnout for the Women’s Welding Workshop on Thursday, November 29. The 60 or so women that showed up enjoyed fabulous food (I’m not exaggerating) generously provided by Delicious by Shereen and great conversation with other women interested in welding at MIXXER. What we discovered is that we needed this group to help us better understand their interests and questions before we could create a useful survey. One of the attendees volunteered to create a new and improved survey that we’ll use to develop the programming to support these women welders. You can take that survey here.

These women also raised over $2500 during the event that will be used specifically to upgrade the welding resources at MIXXER. This will make it possible to have workshops and classes. The women have taken the lead on making this happen. This has prompted some of the men in our community to step up and do their part as well, and we’ve received some support by means of donated equipment and offers to support the Metal Shop Makeover as we move forward. If you would like to donate to making a fantastic resource for all the wannabe welders in our community, click here.

We want to start a conversation with anyone in the community that wants to weld and do metalworking at MIXXER. As we makeover the metal shop you can be a part of influencing the development of the shop and programming therein. Click here to be included.

I wanted to put the most important information at the top, but if you are interested in learning more, then keep reading.

When I first started scouting our city looking for common threads among the many people that talked about not having access to resources they would use to express their creativity or start a new business, I noticed a lot of women telling me that they want to learn to weld. It was clear that most of them didn’t want to become a professional welder, they just wanted another way to be creative; to make art or feel empowered, to do something that seemed outside of the norm. As the members and volunteers of MIXXER worked to build our makerspace in 2018 I noticed that women were still telling me they wanted to learn to weld, but few of them were showing up to give it a try.

Mary Jamis, a very active female leader in our city, asked me how she could support women at MIXXER. We discussed the possibilities available if we expanded our welding capacities at MIXXER. Research told us that women only welding events have been very successful in other makerspaces, and that women did not want to feel demeaned by men not taking them seriously in the metal shop. Not having space for group sessions prompted us to hold a workshop to learn more about the needs of the female community to see if our local community matched our research and tell us how we should upgrade the metal shop.

At the workshop we discovered that we need to find ways to educate everyone about how to get started welding, demystifying it, showing examples of people getting started. We discovered that women like to have the option to both work alongside other women as a social/creative thing and use the shop alongside men that have traditionally had more access to welding and metalworking. We discovered that some folks would be more comfortable starting with a class and some are willing to get a safety orientation and start figuring it out for themselves. We still need to learn a little more. We’ve created a survey that we hope you will participate in to help us develop a metal/welding shop that you will use and be comfortable in. We want everyone to enjoy welding and metalworking at MIXXER, but this survey is focused on women. Take the survey here.