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Will Zeigler: A Welder with a Vision

From simply wanting to learn some more skills to successfully launching a side business with his new hobby, maker Will Zeigler is one of our members who is unleashing his creativity here at the makerspace. 

“Riding and working on mountain bikes is one of my favorite activities,” the 25-year-old explains.”I started thinking about what it would take to build my own bike frames and, naturally, a good first step is to learn to weld.”

With that, the Georgia native joined Make Nashville in August 2020 and he was off to the races. With his metal on his mind, Zeigler began honing in on fundamental welding skills and it wasn’t long before he noticed his practice was paying off. “Every project I’ve been working on at Make [Nashville] has incrementally improved my skills in working toward being able to produce custom bike frames.”

But while it may take a little more time before Zeigler makes it big in the bike business, he is already on the road to success considering his sold-out inventory of steel roses. 

Zeigler explains, “At first I was looking for projects to practice welding and metalworking. Steel roses caught my eye as something that would provide me with good practice while also being fun to make. After making a few I realized there was demand for them and with Valentine’s Day around the corner, it was perfect timing.” Selling a total of 83 steel roses, each composed of 6 layers of plasma-cut sheet metal, this welder has since decided to move on to his next welding project. 

And what might that be? “I’m currently making a few rocket stoves,” Zeigler offers. “They are wood burning stoves made from steel tubes; there is an air in-take, wood feed and exhaust. The stove creates a hot, clean burning fire from a small amount of fuel, which is ideal for camping or other off-grid cooking.” 

However, looking at the bigger picture, while massively impressive to onlookers, this project is merely another project for Zeigler in order to master the skills needed for those aforementioned bike frames. With the recent purchase of a TIG welding machine, Zeigler has plans to begin welding on bicycle tubing in the near future. 

As for the makerspace itself, in addition to the location, tools available and the “shared community of fellow creators,” Zeigler concludes, “My day job requires that I spend a lot of time in front of a computer and I most appreciate that Make Nashville provides an opportunity to do something tangible without a large investment. I’m building the skills I need to build high-quality bikes and Make Nashville is helping me realize a vision I’ve been thinking about for several years. There’s a lot of satisfaction in learning new skills and I appreciate having a facility like this as support.”

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Meet the Maker – Haley Moten

Hello, Makers!

My name is Haley Moten and I am one among many happy creatives here at Make Nashville. I’ve had the pleasure of writing our Meet the Maker pieces on a monthly basis and I wanted to take a moment this month to introduce myself. 

I became a Make Nashville member in October of last year with the intent of learning how to throw pottery on the wheel. Since then, not only have I been able to achieve that goal, I have also been able to explore the various other maker stations within the maker space. After all, how could I not?! With the open layout, I was immediately able to see the glow ignited by welders in the metal shop, hear the sound of a table saw slicing wood that was about to meet it’s destiny as a table top, and see beautiful shapes emerge from beneath the CNC machine. 

With all of this going on, my curiosity got the best of me; Before I knew it, on any given day, my hands were either covered in clay, pulling down on a miter saw, or learning how to properly use a welding gun. Additionally, I was quick to explore the music studio, the sewing room and see 3D printers at work. Simply put, for the past three months, I found the place where I belong in our bustling city… the creative bug within me finally had found its playground and I my days began to shape themselves around my time spent indulging in, well, whatever I wanted to at the shop! 

However, most of that time went into the hours I spent behind the pottery wheel. For years now, learning how to throw pottery has been at the top of my list. Why it took me so long to finally learn remains a mystery but, for whatever reason that might have been, I am constantly thankful I decided to give it a go when I did because otherwise, I may not have discovered Make Nashville. 

Since becoming a member, not only have I had the freedom to learn and grow creatively but I have been welcomed into a community of inspiring, friendly and motivating individuals whom I am lucky enough to call my friends. Being able to create within a community of like-minded individuals is truly an incredible experience. 

As for my newfound passion for pottery, it was simply the best to get right into the fun of it. Though I could have taken a class before I began my potting journey, as a learn-through-trial-and-error type of gal, the freedom I had sitting at the pottery wheel and experimenting with various methods to my satisfaction was uniquely liberating. I finally had an outlet to forget about the outside world, lose all track of time, and play with clay to my heart’s content. This hobby is some of the most fun I’ve had since moving to Nashville a little over a year ago. 

While my pottery game was nowhere near proficient when I began, by careful observation of advanced potters in the workspace and through their patience with my endless questions about their techniques, I am proud to say that I now know how to make some pretty cool pieces! Of course, I will always be learning and I am far from expert-level, but the fact that I was able to learn this new skill because of the incredible potters around me, is pretty awesome. 

Bottom line is that Make Nashville provided me with a community and a passion that now fills my soul in a special way. And now the one question I have for you is, if you aren’t already a member or if you have yet to check out this one-of-a-kind place, what the heck are you waiting for?! 

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Meet the Maker – Chris Munn

Meet Chris Munn, our Woodshop Captain here at the makerspace! 

Since becoming a member about a year and a half ago when we moved into our Davidson Street location, Chris has successfully run his business, Chris Munn Design, from his private work area within the makerspace. 

Watching Chris work on custom builds and seeing his final pieces, it is easy to think that he has been designing and building furniture since he knew how to use a hammer. However, it wasn’t until Chris needed some furniture for college that he honed in on his passion for the craft. 

“Originally, I got into woodworking because I couldn’t afford furniture for college and figured that I could just make my own,” Chris explained. “I started with that and then when I moved [to Nashville], I didn’t really know anybody so I just kept doing it. It was when I started school that I got really involved.”

Hailing from Kalamazoo, MI, Chris came to Tennessee to attend the O’More School of Design in Franklin, TN (now O’More School of Design at Belmont). Studying interior design with a focus on furniture design, it wasn’t long before Chris was hired by one of his professors to work on professional projects. While working this job, Chris learned the ins and outs of running your own design business and gained the confidence to kick off his own. 

Today, Chris successfully runs his own business with a lineup of projects ranging from custom furniture, cabinetry, kitchen remodeling, interior design, and functional space planning in addition to other services. Officially opening up his shop in 2017, Chris has undoubtedly garnered his craft for building beautiful pieces designed to specifically meet each client’s style and individual needs. With a keen attention to detail, an eye for design, and the kind of expertise desired for superior quality, Chris takes on each project as if he were making it for his own home. 

When thinking back to when Chris joined Make Nashville, he said that it came down to choosing between our makerspace and another. Ultimately, Chris explains, “There are so many more tools that are available here compared to other places and the people here are also just really cool. Make [Nashville] is a really easy going place and, because it’s open 24/7, not many people are in here at once so it feels pretty private.” 

As for us, we think Chris is pretty cool too and without him? Well, Make Nashville just wouldn’t be the same.

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Meet The Maker – Judith Kenigson

Hailing from Toronto, Canada, Judith Kenigson is a very special member of the Make Nashville community. As the mother of Make Nashville’s founder, Matt Kenigson, it is rightfully so that without Judith, our beloved non-profit wouldn’t be here today. Sitting as President on Make Nashville’s board of directors, Judith carries on her late son’s legacy. A potter since the ‘90s and the Ceramic Shop Captain since Make Nashville’s inception, Judith conjures a community within ceramics (and throughout the makerspace) and generously shares her passion for and knowledge of the craft with all interested makers. 

Learning herself from Master Potter Lena Lucas, Judith explains that she was drawn to the art because, “I love the tactile part of it, I love having my hands in mud; it brings out something playful in you and at the same time you can be very creative. Also, clay is very forgiving so you can make one thing with it and then you can squish that and make something else. You can just keep playing and inventing with it until you make something that sort of captures your spirit.” 

That, Judith explains, is one side of the making pottery and, as for the other side, she explains that it is also very useful. From kitchenware and pots to decor, Judith has made countless pieces that serve a purpose in her everyday life as well as for those who have been gifted with (or purchased) her pieces over the years. 

Interested in seeing her incredible talent for yourself? Take a look at a selection of her pieces on display in Make Nashville’s meeting room. The pots you’ll see were thrown on the wheen and fired using a 16th century method called Raku. During the Raku process, pottery is fired in a scorching kiln that reaches up to 1,830 °F. This is a unique form of firing for the fact that it is incredibly meticulous and yet the extraordinary results of the finish are up to the laws of nature and how a combination of elements painted or placed onto the clay will react together in the kiln. 

As with anything that brings you joy, it is only natural to want more of that thing. For Judith, that quickly became ceramics. Having a hobby you’re passionate about “…gives you a reason to get up in the morning,” Judith reveals. “If you’re thinking about something you’d like to do, you’re just going to jump out of bed and think ‘I really want to try that!’”

On the same not of inspiration, Judith continues, “Pottery keeps my mind thinking things like, ‘I wonder what would happen if I did this,’ ‘I wonder what would happen if I tried that,’ ‘what if I fired it at a different temperature,’ ‘I wonder if I can make Raku waterproof,’ ‘how can I figure that out?’” What may seem overwhelming to some is the fuel for what Judith refers to as a “tantalizing adventure.”  

Knowing that time is not only being well-enjoyed but is also standing still when she is at the wheel, Judith concludes, “If I would stop working so damn hard and take more time to have fun, I would be a lot more present in my life.” With that, we’ll say that it’s a great thing when we see Judith in her studio. It is in those moments we know that her heart and soul are full. 

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Meet the Maker – Ben Ringel

When Ben Ringel, lead guitarist in rock band Boy Orbison, had to put his touring life on hold due to the Corona Virus pandemic, he wasted no time in pursuing a new creative venture as Make Nashville’s newest welder. 

“I’ve been smoking barbecue my whole life and have been a professional cook for about 10 years,” the musician explains.”I was ready to get a really nice smoker but they are all wildly expensive, generally starting around $2,500 or more and I figured I could spend a little less than half of that [in addition to] learning a trade, if I built it on my own.”

A newcomer to the world of welding, the Louisiana native states that he learned the trade through “YouTube University.” “I severely underestimated, like most people do, just how difficult blue collared trades are to learn,” he admits. But once the basics were established and Ringel gained the confidence to wrap his hands around the welding gun, he took his barbecue smoker plans to Make Nashville’s welding workshop and got to work.

Going big, Ringel purchased a propane tank in Alabama, which would soon be transformed into a Texas-style smoke chamber. “This is type of smoker is called an offset smoker. It’s very traditional in Texas,” Ringel explains. “In this style, either propane tanks or oilfield pipes are the perfect size and shape ergonomically and it’s a cheap way to get your cooking chamber. I got this [tank] for about $123 whereas buying a new steel pipe this size would be $500 to $600. It’s also always nice to be able to recycle or reuse something.” 

A workshop romance, it took no time for sparks to fly (literally!) as the welder sliced into the tank’s belly with angle grinders and plasma cutters in order to create hinged chamber doors and various other cuts to enable optimal performance of the smoker’s smokestack and log-burning firebox. 

A steel beast, Ringel laughs about it’s size. “My wife is nervous! I’m still figuring out where it will go. It wasn’t until I got [the tank] mounted that I realized it was much bigger than I thought it would be.” Weighing in at about 1,200lbs with the capacity to smoke 10 pork butts, eight briskets or 12 racks of ribs at max, this smoker is no joke. But, that’s not to say that Ringel hasn’t enjoyed his time making it. “A really fun part of this project has been the critical thinking,” Ringel expresses. “An interesting part has been figuring out how to problem solve and the cool part about this shop is that for every major hurdle, there is always someone around to bounce ideas off and that’s been quite helpful. It’s pretty awesome to have a place like this where you pay a pretty reasonable monthly due and you get to create.”

Nearing the end of his project, it took the new welder just under three months to bring his smoker from conception to completion. And for his first smoke? A bunch of turkey legs for a covid-style renaissance fair with friends. As for the future, Ringel is cooking up ideas for BBQ pop-ups and perhaps one day, an even bigger smoker. As for now, we can only imagine that he is mostly looking forward to a well-earned smoky feast. 

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Make Masks Make PPE

Thank You

Fabric Mask Update:

Thanks to volunteers and supporters like you, we have completed our second full week of mask making for first responders and health care professionals!!! The past few days we have really honed in on our sterilization and organization efforts; allowing us to confidently distribute masks to people in need.

In the last week we have given masks to Nashville’s Magistrate offices, Sumner County nursing homes, various nurses at St. Thomas and Vanderbilt, as well as EMTs and are collaborating with Vanderbilt and Ft. Houston to meet their even more of our community’s needs. We are compiling a detailed list of where the masks and faceshields are going and who all is working on them; stay tuned for more or check our new website.

A big, special thank you to Jenna and Jennifer among our other volunteers for keeping this stuff going and in order.

Thanks to Hands on Nashville for getting us so many awesome volunteers and thank you to Pennington Distillery Co. for providing us with a fresh supply of hand sanitizer!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

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Updates

Our New Location’s Map

Make Nashville’s makerspace is located at 620 Davidson St, Nashville, TN 37213. Our facility sits upon the north bank of the Cumberland River, across the street from Beaman Automotive. We are centrally located down the street from the pedestrian walking bridge, Nissan Stadium, and Shelby Bottoms Park.

https://goo.gl/maps/u5JixQDadHdEJHU18