From Curious Enthusiasts To Committed Learners, The Artisan’s Asylum Has A Class For Everyone

Started as a non-profit, the Artisan’s Asylum is currently one of the largest workspaces in the world. It provides a wide range of classes and workshops to the public and conducts talks and other events. By becoming a member, individuals can access the different kinds of storage spaces available at the Asylum.

The Artisan’s Asylum In A Snapshot

The Artisan’s Asylum is a non-profit, community-based workshop with the aim of spreading the teaching, learning, and practice of fabrication. Based in Somerville, Massachusetts, it was founded in 2010 by a team of an artist, an engineer, and other friends. Today, it is a 40,000 square feet fabrication space (Wikipedia). It is one of the biggest market spaces in the world, with more than 430 members, 15 workshops, and 160 studios.

According to Wikipedia, in 2013, the Artisan’s Asylum increased the number of manufacturing firms in Somerville by 50% and was home to 40-50 small manufacturing companies. Further, Artisan’s Asylum has been credited with boosting the creative economy of Somerville by attracting the Greentech incubator Greentown Labs to the town.

Shops, Classes, And Workshops At The Artisan’s Asylums

The Artisan’s Asylum shares equipment and tools, provides affordable classes to the people, offers flexible membership options and workspaces, and hosts several special events and speakers.

The shops at Artisan’s Asylum include woodworking, bicycle repair and maintenance, machining, digital fabrication, welding, robotics and electronics, fiber arts, laser cutting, casting, a digital photo studio, prop shop, CNC machines, and a design lab. Every month, the Asylum holds 30-40 classes for the public. These classes provide skill-building as well as hands-on tool training.

Tools, Equipment, And How To Access Them

The Shops and Equipment at The Artisan’s Asylum can be availed by members and day pass users. To access this, individuals have to join, test, and book the required tools through their booking system.

As stated on their website, their 52,000 SF Shop and Studio is divided between two buildings, a heavy-duty and a light-duty shop. The light-duty shop includes the member gallery, gathering space, classroom, and offices. The heavy-duty shop, located nearby, can be accessed by non-members during tours.

The heavy-duty shop includes the CNC, Bike, Machines, Metal, and Wood Shop, each with its own equipment. The light-duty shop holds the Digital Fabrication and Design Lab, Electronics and Robotics equipment, Fiber Arts, Jewelry and Small Metalsmithing, Metal Casting, Plastics, and Composites, as well as the Screen Printing Shop.

For using any of their equipment, any individual has to demonstrate competency for safe usage of the equipment to a trained instructor at the Asylum. For learning safe usage, individuals can attend one of their training classes or sessions.

Studio And Storage Spaces

To rent any space at the Asylum, you need to have an active monthly membership with them. Further, storage spaces are split into studios and project and material storage.

The Studio Workspaces have been designed for individuals interested in making the Artisan’s Asylum a long-term home base for their work. With sizes of 50, 100, and 200 square feet available, these spaces can be licensed on a month-to-month basis. One-month fees are necessary to start a lease, and the studio space costs are inclusive of the monthly membership.

Studio Workspaces are categorized based on per month costs, type of membership required, as well as dimensions.

The Project and Material Storage spaces are more readily available. The shelf and pallet storage spaces are ideal for members who do not require an entire studio, are ready to do their fabrication in shared shops, and simply need a space to drop and store personal tools and supplies post work completion. They can be purchased as an add-on to the membership and are best suited for storage requirements of short-term projects.

However, do note that storage spaces left unused for over 30 days might be disposed of. Additionally, storage space for raw materials (plywood, metal stock, etc.) is limited.

While rentals can be canceled at any time, the partial fees and balances are non-refundable.

How To Become A Member

You can easily sign up for membership online through the Artisan’s Asylum website. The form requires your personal details (including billing information) and choice of membership plan. At the end, a membership summary is provided.