A bustling hub for artists and entrepreneurs, Portland is proudly leading the maker movement in America. Behind the doors of warehouses and studios across the city, highly skilled locals craft everything from candles to clothing to custom furniture. The best part? These makers not only create and sell their goods, but also offer workshops and tours. Discover your inner DIY-er and see the creative process up close at the city’s most celebrated makerspaces.
Classes and Workshops
At art and design facility ADX, aspiring makers learn from local experts. Cultivate your skills in such areas as welding, upholstery, metalsmithing, 3-D printing and Photoshop through a range of introductory to advanced classes. Featuring a 14,000-square foot space (1300 sq m) complete with a wood shop, metal shop and design lab, this is one of the largest and most innovative makerspaces in the city.
Part botanical gift shop, part workspace, work/shop is a charming Northwest Portland boutique with an array of workshops for the beginner or skilled crafter. Owner Heather Smith says the most popular options are yarn macrame, candle making and weaving— the last of which even includes a take-home loom.
Settle in at one of the premium sewing machines at Northeast Alberta sewing studio Modern Domestic and take part in classes of all levels for crafting apparel, quilts, bags and accessories. This sewing studio is also a retail store, so if you run out of buttons or batting mid-project, they’ve got you covered.
“My biggest joy is hand forging,” says Arnon Kartmazov, founder of North Portland’s Bridgetown Forge. Trained in Israel and Japan, the blacksmith shares his joy — and his exemplary skills — by teaching classes such as basic smithing, tool making and knife making. Beginners welcome.
Independent Publishing Resource Center
Offering classes on letterpress printing, bookbinding, screen printing and graphic design, the Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC) is geared to lovers of books and creative expression. A mix of workshops, kids’ classes and free events like Open Collage Night make this Southeast Division resource center a progressive space for literary crafters of all stripes.
ADX founder Kelley Roy describes makerspaces as “alive with sounds and smells and visual stimulation.” See for yourself on a tour of this large-scale Central Eastside facility, where ADX members from guitar makers to screenprinters (and every maker in between) craft their projects in wood and metal shops and design and craft labs. Designated drop-in and private tours available.
Get behind the scenes at sewing factory Spooltown, the production force behind handbags and accessories for brands big and small. Book a tour for up to 25 people at firstname.lastname@example.org to check out this Central Eastside makerspace, their robotic cutting table and their team at work cutting leather, skiving (slicing fabric) and sewing.
Crafting wood and leather accessories for home, office and lifestyle (think planters, laptop stands and minimalist wallets), Grovemade does everything from product conception, design and manufacturing to photography and marketing at their Southeast Portland headquarters. See their production process, milling machines, industrial lasers and woodshop; tours for up to seven people can be booked at email@example.com.
A studio collective in North Portland, The Makery is a bright, spacious 7000-square foot (650-sq m) warehouse with several artist workspaces, communal areas and a showroom. Book a tour to get a glimpse into the worlds of ceramics, jewelry, textiles and other crafts.