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Would you use a local skilled trades community centre?

Work toward starting a local community centre for skilled trades, craftspersons and makers is under way in Prince Edward County.

‘Studio Barn’ proposes a hub for entrepreneurs and innovative thinkers who wish to prototype ideas and businesses. The facility, to potentially be located in Picton’s Industrial Park, would also be available to hobbyists and retirees to follow passions, or learn something new.

Studio Barn organizers Jay Elbourne and Courtney Black.

“Studio Barn is a new kind of community centre, referred to as a makerspace,” said Jay Elbourne, organizer, with Courtney Black. “We will be a large shared studio where skilled trades, craftspersons and makers have the space and freedom to work on their projects. We provide the opportunity for them to explore their creativity in a variety of skill sets and to share their knowledge and experiences with others.

Studio Barn proposes nine main studios – Woodworking, Glass, Ceramics, Textiles, Automotive, Metal, Electronics, Computers and Photography. Its mission is to provide tools, technology and education to those who wish to further their creative passions.

Elbourne said the premise also supports new business ideas where entrepreneurs could pursue research and development at a fraction of current costs.

“Our hope is that it will enable many more businesses to succeed, grow and hire employees. Studio Barn is for the local community with a focus on economic development for Prince
Edward County and neighbouring municipalities, specifically in the skilled trades and secondly in support of local artisans,” said Black. “True, sustainable economic development comes from people learning, sharing, and collaborating while producing, making products and services for their future.”

The two note they are founding Studio Barn “for people like us – skilled trades and makers who have made these passions a lifestyle.”

Elbourne has extensive building knowledge and involvement with local builders and developers. He has been involved with the Prince Edward County Economic Development Ad-Hoc Commitee and the Cold Creek Comets Girls Hockey as an executive officer.

He said he caught the maker bug in early childhood watching his grandfather, plumber, hand-shape lead sheets into custom flashing. Since those days he has been constantly learning new skills for making and tinkering with woodworking, electronics, computer programming, textiles and most recently, taking classes in ceramics.

Black is a graduate of Sheridan College’s Craft and Design furniture program and has several years of woodworking experience under her belt, building one-off furniture in her personal workshop. She is a lifelong Quinte region resident, surrounded by skilled trades in her family going back at least two generation. Over the years she has gained many woodworking and glassblowing connections as well as knowledge of woodworking machinery and shop protocols.

Black also worked in the construction industry with her father, travelling between Ontario and Alberta working on large scale hotel projects where she picked up numerous skills in project management of construction projects.

Elbourne and Black are currently in the process of collecting market research to determine direction in moving forward. He’s created a short questionnaire to get one step closer to the opening of Studio Barn.

Visit their website at and click the banner Help Bring To PEC – Fill Out Our Market Research Survey. The public is invited to participate in a short questionnaire about interests by clicking:

Filed Under: Shop Local

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  1. Thomas says:

    Wow it sounds awesome!!!

  2. Charles says:

    Sounds like a great idea to me. Something for everyone all year round. Council should get onboard with this!

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