June Events!

Hey, folks — here’s the link with all our upcoming June tea+textile meet-ups (free!), plus productivity retreats ($5) and our Father’s Day workshops (a bit more, but remember that all our events are sliding scale)! Hope you can join us!

Registration now open for Father’s Day Workshops

Father’s Day Maram Makerspace Workshops — ticket sales open!

Make something for the father in your life or sign him up for a fun workshop! We’ve got a wide variety of great hands-on activities scheduled for Father’s Day Weekend.
(You don’t have to be a father to participate, though!)

Saturday June 15
10:00 am – 11:45 am Botanical Cards and Bookmarks
12:00 pm – 1:45 pm Floral jewelry – Prismacolor on Metal 
2:00 pm – 3:45 pm Botanical Soap making
2:00 pm – 3:45 pm Personal Essay Writing
4:00 pm – 5:45 pm Wet Felted Flowers

Sunday June 16
10:00 am – 11:45 am 3D Printing 
10:00 am – 11:45 am Writing Science Fiction that Sells
12:00 pm – 1:45 pm Building Bridges
2:00 pm – 3:45 pm Coding Alexa at Home
4:00 pm – 5:45 pm Sri Lankan Cocktails and Appetizers

COSTS: All tickets are $45 unless otherwise noted. Need-based scholarships are available; if interested, please request one by emailing admin@marammakerspace.com/ with the subject line: MARAM SCHOLARSHIP.

Maram Makerspace was created with the goal of extending the joy of making throughout our community; generous donations make it possible for us to offer several scholarships for each session. Please don’t hesitate to apply for free or discounted workshops.





Botanical Cards and Bookmarks with Mary Anne Mohanraj

We’ll used pressed flowers from the garden to design and produce laminated bookmarks and delicate botanical greeting cards. Botanical materials will be provided, but feel free to bring your own as well – ferns, leaves, pansies, and other fairly flat botanicals work well for this. Press them in a book for a few weeks before the workshop so they’re nice and dry, or speed the process up with a microwave. Ages 8 and up (children must be accompanied by an adult. One ticket purchase per adult/child pair).

Flower Power – Prismacolor on Metal with Alix Mikesell

Colored pencils are an easy way to add color to metal. In this workshop, you will learn how to color on metal using Prismacolor pencils, how to blend, how to protect your creations for lasting use, and how to turn your colorful flower drawings into earrings or pendants. Materials are provided. Each participant will create at least one piece of jewelry. Ages 16 and up.

Botanical Soap making with Cynthia Borah

Learn how to make your own soap using the melt and pour process. Students will learn to use natural colorants, essential oils, and botanicals (calendula petals, lavender buds, etc.) to make unique bars of soap for themselves, for friends, or to give away as gifts. Melt and pour soap making is a creative and fun project for all. Ages 8 and up (children must be accompanied by an adult)

Personal Essay Writing with Deborah Jian Lee

This workshop will teach the fundamentals of how to find your voice, sharpen your ideas and tell your story through cinematic scenes that keep readers hooked. Geared toward adults.

Wet-felted Flower with Pamela Penney

This workshop offers an opportunity to create a small felted object: wool flower or vessel. Students will learn how to lay out the fibers, wet them down, then add some friction and fun. Through the magic that is actually called “fulling” the fibers will come together and be shaped into the desired object. Each student will go home with their finished object as it is drying in the final shape. Materials will be provided and include the wool roving for one item per student. Additional wool can be purchased from the instructor. Ages 7 & up (children must be accompanied by an adult).

Intro to 3D Printing with TinkerCad with Kurt Hedlund

Get an introduction to 3D printing by interactively learning to design a simple keyfob/keytag/luggagetag using the internet based Tinkercad tool. Follow along with the workshop leader designing your own key tag and create a design file to be 3D printed after the workshop. This class is appropriate for a beginner to 3D printing / design, who is generally computer literate. The class requires a laptop; if you don’t have one and would like to participate, let us know (admin@marammakerspace.com) — some laptops may be available for loan during class. Ages 14 and up.

Writing Science Fiction that Sells with Alec Nevala-Lee

Science fiction offers a thriving audience for short stories, but it can be hard for beginners to break into professional markets, and even established writers can have trouble making consistent sales. We’ll discuss strategies for writing stories that are compelling from the very first page, based on the principles of effective characterization, plot structure, and worldbuilding, with examples drawn from a wide range of authors and publications. Geared towards adults.

Building Bridges – Heath Penney

Get ready to engineer your own structure to get from point A to point B-eyond! Lego, Wooden Blocks and a variety of creative materials will be provided to kids with their adult partner to explore the possibilities that come with creating an architectural span, whether your crossing an imaginary river or a deep ravine. Each pair (child and guardian) will embellish their construction with a fun variety of art materials and take it home at the end of the session. Ages 7 & up (children must be accompanied with an adult). One ticket purchase per adult/child pair.

Coding Alexa with Kamal Jackson

Create an ap for Alexa – no experience needed! We will create a simple game app for Alexa from start to finish, without writing a line of code. An Alexa account is required, and a laptop for class use. (If you don’t have access to a laptop, let us know – we have some available for loan-out during class.) Ages 8 & up can accompany a ticket-holding adult.

Sri Lankan Cocktails and Appetizers with Mary Anne Mohanraj

Learn how to make two different Sri Lankan cocktails using arrack, a bourbon-like liquor made from coconut flowers (recently become available at Whole Foods, Binny’s, etc.), along with two seafood-based appetizers (prawn vadai and mackerel cutlets). (Vegetarian versions can be made if you prefer.) Deep-frying is involved, so come prepared to deal with fire. Adults only. Learn more about Sri Lankan recipes and Mary Anne’s forthcoming cookbook at her cooking blog, Serendib Kitchen: http://serendibkitchen.com

NOTE: Additional fee when you sign up: $10 (good alcohol isn’t cheap)

Drafting the Mission Statement

So, I have to draft this for the Maram makerspace meeting tonight, but I’m also going to do it as a blog post, so let me just draft this here. Let me know if anything’s unclear?

(If you’re local and would like to come to a Maram planning meeting, this would be a good one to attend, as it’s the seasonal reset meeting. 5 – 7 p.m., my place, dinner provided, please RSVP if attending! If you need to show up at 6 because of commute or anything, that’s fine, just let me know.)


Maram Makerspace is a mission-driven Oak Park area project, created to bring together people, knowledge, and tools (physical & digital) to spark inspiration, bridge the gap between the desire and the means to create, and build a collaborative, inclusive, community hub.

We’re particularly interested in offering sliding-scale tuition and scholarships, to extend the joy of making to those who might be otherwise excluded.

Through a combination of workshops and talks, memberships in the makerspace itself, and eventually event space rental, we look forward to funding a long-term sustainable non-profit arts, tech, and writing community. We look forward to building bridges to Austin, Berwyn, Forest Park, River Forest, Elmwood Park, Galewood, and other surrounding communities.


a) What happened with the Big Idea? We put together a great presentation, we were finalists, but we didn’t win the $50K, which would’ve guaranteed two years of rent on a space. We did get about $350 in audience vote door prize money, which was nice. We’ll apply again next year!

b) How much money do we need for a space, exactly? It’s about $25K / year for rent on the kind of 1200 square foot space in the areas we want (good foot traffic, good parking, close to public transit, accessible from Austin / Berwyn), which would let us do a solid version of what we’re looking for. There’s a bigger version of the maker space that would let us do a lot more, but it would require raising a lot more money. In addition, there are insurance, etc. costs.

c) How much money do we have on hand? We have $15,000 in pledges from two big donors, plus about $1000 from the Big Idea + tuition on events. We’ve also had various items donated, such as two projectors, a printer, a Cricut, a sewing machine — we even have a line on a lasercutter. We’ve bought some stuff too — a big screen, a 3D printer, a tent for events!

d) Are we renting a space this summer? Maybe. We can put maybe $500-$1000 / a month towards rent on that, if we decide it’s a good idea. There’d also be some costs for insurance, etc.

e) What are the pluses / minuses of renting? The advantage is that we wouldn’t be working out of my living room anymore, and that we could hopefully find a fully-accessible space (I have stairs and pets). We’d also have a base of operations, could sell artisan items out of a storefront, etc. It might make more sense to wait until fall, though — a lot depends on how many active volunteers we have to work on the project over the summer. (This means you?) There’s so much we can do, but it’s all dependent on having enough capacity to do it.

f) How will we raise more money? Through tuition (workshops do bring in money, though it takes time to ramp up programming and publicity), and grants (we need people with time to work on that — no expertise needed; I’d be working with you; it’d be good training for future grant-writing work for anyone interested in development or arts administration).

g) What has Maram been doing so far? Writing workshops, days of making (3D printing, coding, cooking, jewelry, paper dying, gardening, more), creativity / productivity retreats.

g) What are we doing this summer? Presence at What’s Blooming on Harrison and Day in Our Village, more workshops and retreats (upcoming ones include adding board game jam, building jam, botanical arts), six-week writing classes, possibly a one-week summer camp. Maybe a textile arts working group for people learning to knit / crochet / etc., if there’s interest.

h) How are we on infrastructure? In the last months, we’ve put together our website (mostly Amanda Chablani‘s doing) and set up a newsletter, which should help with publicity; we’ve also hired a very part-time PR person who is doing tweets, Instagram, etc. for us. Thanks, Irene!

i) What do we need from volunteers? We need to know who can work on this over the summer:

– we desperately need help with PR. That’s our biggest weakness right now — we can put on great events, but it’s tough to get the word out. We could use volunteers to put together flyers, to print them, to walk them around to different neighborhoods (I’d love to have a point person for each neighborhood, ideally). We could use volunteers who will talk us up in various community forums. Beyond that, we can use people in any of the following

– the core admin team (currently me, Amanda ChablaniPamela PenneyAlix MikesellMeghan O’Shea) should be able to come to a weekly 1.5 hr meeting — we’re meeting weekdays right now, but that can shift if needed to accommodate others

– the space research team would be going to spaces and looking at them (that’s currently me, Pam Whitehead)

– the grantwriting team should start researching other grants and writing applications (that’s currently me, Carollina SongLaura Hsieh)

– the event staffing team should make sure that we have people working the booth at events like What’s Blooming on Harrison and Day in Our Village (that’s currently me, Pamela Penney, and Meghan O’Shea, primarily)

– the fundraising team should start thinking about when we’ll be ready to offer memberships / if we want to run a Kickstarter, etc. (that’s mostly me right now.) 🙂

j) Can people give us money now? Yes! 🙂 And if you’re in the U.S., it’s tax-deductible. 🙂

k) Finally, do we have a logo? Possibly. Check back soon. 🙂


Okay, so that’s the draft. What questions did I not answer yet?

Narrowing down workshop list for summer

Folks, I need to figure out my summer schedule, and part of that is deciding what classes or workshops I might teach for Maram. Can I poll you? I’ll figure out pricing once I know what I’m doing, but per usual, figure roughly $25 / class, with sliding-scale and scholarships available. $5 for the retreats!

Please select all you’d potentially take — I won’t be teaching ALL of these, and this will help me narrow it down. 🙂



1) Creative Writing Camp – kids 6th – 12th grade (one week, mornings)

2) Speculative Fiction Worldbuilding (one Saturday afternoon)

3) Writing Speculative Fiction Class (six weekday evenings)


4) Board Game Jam – mixed age (little kids ages 5- 10 free, but each little kid must be accompanied by an adult who is registered) (one Saturday afternoon)

5) Board Game Jam Camp – kids 8-16 (one week, afternoons)

6) Creativity / Productivity Retreat (10 – 4, weekday)

7) Creativity / Productivity Retreat (10 – 4, weekend)


8) Sri Lankan Cooking Workshop (one weekend afternoon)

9) Sri Lankan Cooking Class (six weekend afternoons)


10) Botanical Art Workshops (soap-making, bookmarks, jewelry, pressed flower cards (one weekend day, can sign up for individual workshops or whole day)

Day of Art and Cooking, last chance to register!

Hey, folks — we have just a few spots left for tomorrow’s Day of Cooking and Art. Register now, please, if you plan to attend! We’ll be closing registration this evening, so the instructors have a little time to plan. (Also, most of the classes are almost full!)

10:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.: Sourdough Bread Workshop with Lali Puig Abril and Petia Kostadinova

12:00 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.: Nepali Cooking Class with Ajapa Sharma

2:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.: Orizomegami (paper folding and dying) with Pamela Martinez

4:00 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.: Jewelry – Prismacolor on Metal with Alix Mikesell

All classes are $45, but are sliding scale — just let us know if a discount would be helpful. Part of our mission is giving people the opportunity to learn to make things, and we have scholarship funds available to help with costs!
(Registration link in comments.)



10:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.: Sourdough Bread Workshop with Eulàlia Puig and Petia Kostadinova

Learn how to make sourdough bread two different ways. Participants will learn how to maintain a starter at home, and how to use it for breads, ranging from simple to more sophisticated, as well as other baked goods. We will demonstrate some of the steps and partake in kneading and shaping dough. Participants will receive active sourdough starter to make their own bread, dough to cook a small loaf of bread at home, and recipes recommended by the instructors. Participants will sample bread made by the instructors. No previous experience required.

12:00 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.: Nepali Cooking Class with Ajapa Sharma

Learn to make scrumptious momos (South Asian dumplings) with a tangy tomato dip! Drawing on the long connections with Tibetans, Newari merchants of the Kathmandu valley in Nepal improvised to make their own distinctly spiced meat filled dumplings called momo. Momo is now a traditional delicacy in Nepal, served with a sauce (achaar) made with tomato.

Participants will learn to make the chicken-based filling for the momo. They will also learn to fill and fold readymade wonton wrappers into boat shaped dumplings. Participants will learn to make the accompanying sauce (achaar) for the momo. Materials will be provided. At the end of the workshop participants will have taste their own handmade momos. They will take home recipes to make momos for friends and family.

2:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.: Orizomegami (paper folding and dying) with Pamela Martinez

Absorbent paper is folded and then dyed to produce interesting geometric patterns when the paper is unfolded, as practiced in Japan and around the world for centuries. Zen-like in its folding, the ancient technique reminds us to be present in the moment.

This exciting 1.75 hour workshop will introduce 4 basic paper folds. We will then experiment with nontoxic dye solutions resulting in beautiful papers that can be used for future art projects, gift wrapping, card making, envelope lining, or book binding. All supplies included.

4:00 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.: Jewelry – Prismacolor on Metal with Alix Mikesell

Make your own colorful unique jewelry! Colored pencils are an easy way to add color to metal. In this workshop, you will learn how to color on copper using Prismacolor pencils, how to blend, how to protect your creations for lasting use, and how to turn your small artworks into earrings or pendants.

Materials are provided. Each participant will create at least one piece of jewelry. This class will offer 4 free seats as a donation from the instructor in support of Maram. Please feel free to contact us at admin@marammakerspace.com for free access to this class

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial