TekVenture’s new location gives makers more space, options

March 13th, 2017

The nonprofit group will partner with ARCH to present a Preservation Expo on April 1.

By Kevin Kilbane | News-Sentinel

TekVenture will show off its new location at 1550 Griffin St. by teaming up with local historic preservation group ARCH to present the Preservation Expo from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 1 at the maker group's new site.

The expo will feature demonstrations and presentations on a range of historic preservation topics, including masonry repair; window, door and molding restoration; landscaping; and making use of new "green" and LEED energy efficiency practices.

The featured speaker will be David Hayles, one of the world's few experts on scagliola, an ornamental plastering technique. Hayles guided restoration of the faux marble scagliola in the Allen County Courthouse as part of a major restoration of the building during the late 1990s.

At the Preservation Expo, the British native will present two demonstrations of his work and sell and sign copies of his recent book, "Confessions of an Ornamental Plasterer."

Local contractors and businesses involved with historic preservation also will be on hand to talk with people interested in learning more about their work or services. Expo admission is $6 at the door and $5 if ordered in advance via the ARCH website, http://www.archfw.org.

TekVenture and ARCH have worked together previously to present workshops, and the Preservation Expo seems like a good way to get people more familiar with both nonprofits, said Charles Loew, who coordinates TekVenture's wood shop area.

For ARCH, the collaboration also makes sense because TekVenture has the equipment needed to restore historic buildings, said Douglas Sagstetter, ARCH program specialist. The expo also will be a good way for historic home owners to see they don't always have to hire contractors to complete work on their house, Sagstetter added.

TekVenture's new location in the former River City nightclub definitely will have a different vibe than at the organization's former home in a vacuum cleaner business building at 1800 Broadway.

Bright purple walls surround the entry doors to TekVenture's portion of the building on Griffin Street. Outdoor beach volleyball courts are only steps away, which should bring more people into TekVenture during warm weather months, said Greg Jacobs, TekVenture president.

The organization ran out of room at the Broadway location and had begun looking for larger quarters, Jacobs said. They ran across Brian Schaper, who recently had bought the River City complex, and he offered TekVenture a chance to use part of the space. TekVenture began moving its equipment there in January, Jacobs said.

"It's just another part of making downtown Fort Wayne a destination," he said.

Walls in some rooms still are being painted, and machines and supplies slowly are being moved into place, Jacobs said. But the organization went from cramming everything into about 4,500 square feet on Broadway to spreading out in about 13,000 square feet of space in a building that is in better shape than their previous site.

The extra space will allow TekVenture to finally make use of a large factory robot which was too big for use in the Broadway location, Vice President Peter Bolakowski said. Bolakowski hopes to reprogram the robot to cut large-scale items out of wood and foam.

TekVenture now also has room for ceramic artist Tom Sherbondy to set up a space where he plans to offer classes and workshops and to provide studio space for ceramic artists. Sherbondy, who has been working in ceramics for 35 years, also plans to offer a special program for clients of Turnstone, which serves with people with disabilities.

TekVenture members also will be able to use the ceramics area to make pottery or ceramic art, Jacobs said. Sherbondy still is seeking donations of more pottery wheels and kilns.

To introduce the ClayWorx studio to the public, Sherbody is offering three-session, two-hour Pottery Free Throw workshops during April. For no charge or membership, people can make a clay object either by hand-building or using a pottery wheel before firing their objects in the kiln, a news release said. At the second session, participants will glaze their object for re-firing. At the third session, they can pick up their piece and receive feedback on their project.

People attending the sessions should wear old clothes and bring a towel for cleaning their workspace and tools, the news release said.

Pottery Free Throw workshops can include up to four people in each group of three sessions. All ages are welcome. The sessions can be scheduled 10 a,m,-noon, 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. Mondays-Fridays and 10 a.m.-noon Saturdays.

For reservations, call Sherbondy at 1-260-580-1964.

Categories Quality of Life