1- Take up space.

Hello! I'm Andrea Alcaraz and I'm and illustrator and designer based in Vancouver. I work full time in the animation industry as a color stylist and background painter. As most of my time is spent in front of a screen working digitally, I constantly have a craving to create things with my own hands to balance it out. I have been a big fan of Makerlabs since moving to Vancouver, so having the opportunity to be part of the residency with such an amazing group of women has been a very motivating experience that has brought new life into my work.

Growing up in Mexico, I was always surrounded by beautiful folk art made by artisans. I wanted to make that a focus during the residency and explore ways to incorporate my own art with different materials, and create pieces that are reminiscent of home. I started the residency with an vague idea of a project that included creating toys out of cardboard and paper, but after going trough all of our workshops the idea has evolved as the possibilities of working with different mediums and processes have expanded.

One of the projects I hope to develop more during the second month of the residency is my wooden block houses. They are inspired by a town en Mexico called Guanajuato. Every house has bright colours and from a distance, they seem to be piled up on top of each other. The idea came after our woodworking class. Since my skills are still developing, I could only cut very basic shapes. This sparked the idea of creating the houses and I later experimented with some of my designs and the laser cutter.


There's been two very valuable reminders for me during this past month. 1- Take up space. 2- Fail, make mistakes, focus on process and there will be progress. There's definitely been a learning curve for every workshop we have taken, but the oddly enough, the most challenging part for me has been feeling comfortable taking up space in an environment dominated by men. Everyone at Makerlabs has been so helpful and supportive always offering help, so it is a lot easier to feel welcomed in such a space, but it is still a personal struggle that I'm sure a lot of us can identify with. The awesome women in my group have also been a great support as we motivate each other to overcome the fears and obstacles of new and scary tools.


I'm looking forward to creating more this second month, and being able to help other women during their residency!

A place to try new things and make mistakes

Hello, I'm Arianne, one of the April residents. I am a software developer and educator who feels bored when she's not learning new things.

As a kid, I knew I wanted to learn how to woodwork. I used to marvel at the tree houses that some of my cousins had in their backyards in our childhoods. But the high school I went to didn't offer woodworking, so I put those dreams on hold.

In the interim, I learned how to sew, rock climb, and program. I also made friends with a cactus.


When I turned 30, I realized that I finally had enough resources to pursue my dream of woodworking. After taking the Woodshop 101, 102 and Metalshop 101 classes at Makerlabs, I still didn't understand how to use the tools to actually make something. So I signed up for a woodworking course at Yaletown Roundhouse and got accepted into the Tools for Women residency.

Here is a side table I made in the Level 1 woodworking class.


The residency has given me a chance to learn the way that I like best, which is through experimentation and un-guided practice. At the beginning, I relied on help from the other makers in the space, which helped me get started on tools I hadn't used in a while. Now I feel comfortable with most of the tools in the wood-shop and the metal-shop, and have also gotten to try new things that were not even on the bucket list, like welding, wood turning, and CNC. Everybody has been very supportive (shoutout to Theunis, Ken, and Randy) and it has been great to learn alongside some really creative and kick-ass women (Crissy, Andrea, and Chris <3).

My focus for the first month was to become familiar with the tools I had used before, practise the ones that are new to me, and be okay with making mistakes. So far I have made plenty of mistakes, but there have been a few highlights. In the next month, I am going to plan one or two larger projects and try to work on them until completion.

A stool prototype from scrap wood. I tried making plugs to cover the dowels, but it turns out drilling a larger hole on top of a smaller one does not work well.


My first time using the metal-shop, a year after taking the 101 class. I used the drill press, bandsaw, and bender, with lots of help from Randy.


The lathe is very fun and meditative. This is the sample project that you get to make in the intro class.


Some wooden beads I made when practicing the lathe.


Space to make a big mess

Hi !

I'm Roxanne Nesbitt. I am a musician/composer, designer/sound artist and one of the 1st batch of artists doing the "Tools for Women" residency at Maker labs. I'm working on a variety of projects at the studio from musical instruments to furniture to music videos.



It's been about a month and a bit now... And it has been so healthy and productive for me to have daily access to focused studio space and such well-equipped workshops. One of the most useful things that I have made here so far, is a light box to help me make animations. I have been making animated collage videos for my band graftician for a few years now. I've always used janky temporary light boxes but having a custom light box is a game-changer.


I am also working on a couple new videos here. IT"S SOOOO AMAZING TO HAVE SO MUCH SPACE TO MAKE A BIG MESS IN! (and then clean-up after).

This is a excerpt from my new song/video cities: 

-made in part at maker labs on my new light box.

If you want to see / hear the whole video come by the Sunset Terrace on April 21st at 9 pm https://www.facebook.com/events/352794325127367/

All the best,


Josephine Lee - "Challenging yourself to stand outside your comfort zone"

Greetings, my name is Josephine Lee. I primarily create installation, sculpture, printed matter, and performance. My conceptual practice is informed by my research interest in traditional material craft processes in relation to historical North American migration patterns of immigrant communities and the role of the place and the home. Through my work, I like to play with improbable gestures (i.e., breaking a wall with sound, making a leaf fall from thin air, etc) in order to reveal moments of violence, resistance, trauma, and potential. My aim is to traverse the width of a particular moment and place in time as an antecedent to a deeper examination of the inadequacy of representation, the complications of overlapping racial histories, and the complexity of unfolding spaces of unknowing and unlearning.  


The month of March flew by in a hurry, and between finishing up my degree at UBC, interviewing for master’s programs, working, and spending time familiarizing myself with the spaces and tools of Makerlabs, I feel as though there is still so much to be worked on before I can feel that I am fully flexing the potentials of this residency. I think that is how it goes for most things; the first few weeks of learning something new or being in a different place is mostly about challenging yourself to stand outside your comfort zone and to grow.

  Test carving basswood

Test carving basswood

This month has certainly been an education; from the workshops on using the Laser cutter, CNC Router, Woodshop, and Metal lab, to the impromptu discussions with members about tools and techniques, to the calm weekend mornings punctuated by the whirring of saw blades and weaving looms, Makerlabs seems to be in perpetual motion, which in a way influences my own body into action and inspiration.

  Prototype of a leaf shooter, installation

Prototype of a leaf shooter, installation

Through the coming month of April, I will write about works that I am currently fixed on. Or perhaps more broadly, the thoughts have been percolating in my noodle in relation to the works I am creating. A number of these projects will still require a few more workshops (i.e., 3D printing, Woodshop 102 and Lathe, etc) before I feel that they are ready, so I am looking forward to seeing what is possible and what else might develop in the coming weeks.

  Prototype plaster cast for a sound installation

Prototype plaster cast for a sound installation