Making It Through 2020

2020, it’s been a year, right? There have been serious hardships for many people. I don’t in any way discount the very real and difficult losses felt but so many. But also, it feels remiss to not acknowledge the examples of resilience, kindness, and bravery that this year provided. And, I’ll admit, some good news is needed. So allow me to highlight some of the positive moments to come out of MakeHaven this year.
When supply chains went down, makers stepped up
A screenshot of one of several Virtual Sewing Circles where sewists gathered to share ideas, ask questions, and encourage each other in the mask making donation effort.When the pandemic hit in March and businesses were shut down, MakeHaven stepped up to offer help to our community, illustrating just how vital makerspaces are. By the beginning of April, at a time when you couldn’t find a mask (or elastic!), our members and volunteers had sewn and distributed over 400 masks to workers in need
Socially distanced makers work in MakeHaven constructing face shields for essential workers.We kept that sprit going with twice-weekly virtual sewing circles and a porch distribution system that delivered over 3,000 reusable masks by June. We also had a team of members using laser cutters and 3D printers to make and deliver over 2,000 face shields for responders in need, again early in the pandemic.
We worked with doctors at Yale to design and produce intubation shields for immediate use in our local hospitals. We collaborated with makers around the world to work on the Ambo-Vent, a ventilator that can be made in a makerspace to supplement short supplies. These many projects were highlighted by many news stories like this one.
Kindness, compassion, and goodwill flourish within our MakeHaven community, and it makes me proud to call myself a maker.
Resilience in 2020
In these past several months, many have lost their jobs; some have suffered even greater loss. We are all struggling. But we did not, and will not, give up. 
During our closure we gathered virtually, running workshops as varied as our space, like Am I an Entrepreneur, software teaches and exploration like Blender and OBS (to really step up your video conferencing game!), learning Arduino simulation, and even got some maker kids to teach us. 
A MakeHaven member wearing her mask and other PPE weldsMakeHaven reopened in May for business use, helping local small businesses jump back into action. Some businesses that rely on MakeHaven for their success include Ontrack Rehabilitation’s feedback stability board for treating patients with concussions and World Opportunity Windows’s earth-friendly innovation.
We also witnessed many very cool projects supported by MakeHaven like building the Internet of Things New Haven Network and growing the Threads & Needles program to teach skills to those in need.
In June we reopened for all members, offering a much-needed return to the joys of creating with one’s hands. Surrounded by a whole new sort of “normal” with so much unknown, there is nothing quite like the solid and tangible satisfaction of finishing a piece of maple, slicing through some steel, or seeing your design come to life via a 3D printer.
MakeHaven members Ruby and Kate display the new large format printer that arrived at MakeHaven in the fall of 2020We found new ways to enjoy the work of so many artists and artisans, like Michael Angelis’s Disposable and Beautiful presentation (and don’t forget the dogs with jobs!), and the sculpture work of Jeffrey Meris and Julia Murphy.
Our tool offerings grew with the addition of a 64” large format Epson printer, a Evenheat Heat Treat Oven (Kiln), and a brand new Bio Room. We launched a tool lending library and piloted our year-long course, Foundations of Fabrication
Our makers persist. They regroup and adapt and help. In 2020, helping is our core. 
Every one of us deserves a round of applause for coming through this together. Continue to be there for each other, to help in any way you can, and to believe in the resilience of us.