The Bodgery on Madison’s east side has built a space for makers, creators and hackers, where those who use the space gather to share knowledge, skills and passion for making.
Beginning with a small marketplace, the Bodgery now has developed into a large warehouse with more members involved and bigger space in use. However, the main purpose remains unchanged even though the space has enlarged: to arouse creativity and create an inclusive community for everyone.
Started in 2014 with its first marketplace in the warehouse of the Evolution Arts Co-op, the Bodgery now has a large warehouse in the former Oscar Mayer campus, where it can accommodate more members working at the same time and there are more varieties of space for creating. Shop areas have expanded, and new areas for tools have been added.
What stands out in the work area is the art studio, since it includes art pieces that are made by its members and supported by painting easels.These pieces are big and eye-catching and have bright colors such as the work of a figure’s head.
Next to the art studio is a big art area. Over time, the Bodgery has become a professional workspace.
“At the first location we had a guy come through that was looking for a woodshop space,” said Timm Murray, current president of The Bodgery. “He just looked at what we had and was like, ‘This looked like a hobby shop.’ But now when he comes in, it’s like ‘Wow, this is a space to work on things.’”
Artisans have a communal space to work with wood and plastic, but they understand their responsibility to show respect to each other and the work area. It features a large storage space, for example, but storage spaces are not free for big pieces, and members need to pay for their tools and unfinished works. Therefore, a special parking permit is generated.
In the storage area, people are making wooden boats. They can store their items for a maximum of 14 days, and when they’re done, the pieces need to be removed as soon as possible, Murray said. Every member has a small free storage shelf to store their documents or works, so they don’t need to pay for small pieces.
Artisans in the plastics area can make mold, while another part of the space has tools for making jewelry and glass.
As a community, The Bodgery also organizes events at its space, which is a good way to gather its members.
“This is generally an event space,” Murray said. “So we have art shows, chill kick-offs that happen here.”
The Bodgery is currently accepting new members, and public tours are available on the 2nd and 4th Fridays of each month.
Above all else, the Bodgery is an interesting space.
“We had a firenado pretty early on,” Murray said. “One guy just kind of stopped by, he is a friend of another member and said, ‘Hi, I want to do a firenado,' which is what it sounds like, just making a big column of flame.”
This activity happened outside when they had a really small space, and it made the Bodgery community more vivid, Murray said.
“It’s basically just taking big boxes of flames and making a circular like scrolls,” Murray said. “And lighting it up with just alcohol, setting it on fire. That ended up working, I’m impressed.”