Our History

From Artisan's Asylum

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Artisan’s Asylum came into existence in early 2010 as the brainchild of Gui Cavalcanti, robotics engineer, and Jenn Martinez, costume designer. Having been accustomed to having access to shops at Olin & MIT, their respective alma maters, and using them prodigiously for projects and hijinks as much as for their coursework, Gui and Jenn were disappointed by how little making they and their friends did in their free time once they graduated.

So Gui and Jenn found a 1,000 square foot industrial space they could afford on their salaries at 560 Windsor St in Somerville (the Taza Chocolate Factory building), and managed to beg and borrow $40,000 for tools (a mill, a lathe, a drill press, a cutoff saw, a bench grinder, a tablesaw, some additional basic woodworking tools, and 3 sewing machines).

At that point, they invited everyone in their extended network to come and check it out and get involved, expecting maybe a couple dozen people to show up and a handful to be interested.

100 people showed up for that first meeting. They couldn’t all fit in the room.

From that moment onward, Artisan’s Asylum belonged to those who showed up. The organization has been driven and shaped throughout its history by those members of the community of those who cared to participate -- as it continues to be.

Read more about the beginnings from Gui himself here

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