Located at 90 Maribyrnong St, Footscray, FAB9 is a makerspace that has been purpose-built so different kinds of makers of all skill levels can access the training, tools and prototyping equipment needed to turn ideas into physical realities. Whatever your project, FAB9 can be used according to your particular needs, with a team of highly skilled workshop technicians available to guide and assist you as you go.
With decades of experience managing workspaces and working with students, FAB9 Workshop Manager Sam Muratore is passionate about collaboration, giving new things a go, finessing details, and staying curious…
- How did you get into making, Sam? Tell us your making ‘origin story’.
It goes right back to childhood. My mum wouldn’t leave me alone because I would pull everything apart! I wanted to investigate how things were put together, and I still do. That pretty much sums up how I feel about everything — from people to objects. I’m always curious about what makes something so — whether that’s the way a product works, or the way a person thinks. I’m interested in knowing why something is the way it is, and that’s a passion that definitely grew when I was at art school. I also love discovering where things come from, which is why I have a passion for history, too. I love comparing how people thought or did things 200 years ago with how we think and do things today. In many ways, we still think, feel and question the same things, though what we do to get answers might have changed.
2. What’s your favourite thing to make?
All kinds of stuff! As long as I’m making it with other people. Working with others is what makes me love to make. If you put me in a room and told me to make stuff in isolation, I’d go crazy — it would be meaningless to me. I find collaboration so satisfying.
More specifically, I really enjoy making intricate things — pieces of furniture, etc. that have a lot of detail. When I was growing up, I had a mentor who taught me that even the stuff you never see — the hidden details — need to be right. Otherwise the end result doesn’t work. That thought really informs the way I like to work.
3. What’s something you’ve made that you’re very proud of? Why?
I loved working with Like Butter artist Laura Woodward and assisting her in making the anchor for Elwood Primary school. It was all her design, and I assisted in the fabrication and installation. I first met Laura when she was a student at the VCA, and we just clicked and stayed in touch over the years. She’s always made really fantastic work, and when asked me to come in and assist with the anchor, I really enjoyed working on that project. Laura’s the most amazing person — she just gets her head around stuff and does the impossible. And she’s fantastic at making really inclusive artwork — artwork that engages the people, and brings everyone in.
4. How did you first hear about FAB9?
Through FAB9 technician Jack Halls! I knew Jack from Like Butter studio in Kensington, and he said, ‘come and look at the FAB9 makerspace!’. So I visited, and walked out with a job! I had no intention of trying to get one here, and then I had a chat with some of the FAB9 people, and all of a sudden, I’d agreed to be the Workshop Manager! When I heard what was happening here, it reminded me of all the things I loved about working at art school — collaborating, teaching, and learning with others.
5. What is the best thing about having access to something like FAB9?
I think the main thing would be the experience and care of the technicians. We cover such a wide spectrum of expertise, but we also have a passion for collaborating with people. The tools and the machines are exceptional, but the most important thing to me is the people.
6. What’s your favourite piece of equipment to use at FAB9?
I love to use the hand tools — there’s nothing better to me than a nice hand plane and a nice chisel! Don’t get me wrong, I love the machines we have here. But there’s something so satisfying about using a beautiful hand tool. Timber’s not a dead thing, like concrete or steel. You can’t just make it do what you want it to do, you’ve got to work with it. When you use a hand tool on a piece of timber, you have to really read that timber well. And the better the hand tool, the better the reading.
7. Besides making, what are three of your favourite things to do?
Cultivating bonsais. Cycling — I love push bikes. Travelling to Japan.
8. Where do you gather your making knowledge?
You learn through doing, but you get inspired by working with others. I might pick up a book to learn a concept, but I get inspired to go and make something by working with others. And hey, I love watching YouTube videos! I go on there to watch the CNC stuff, and learn more about modern technology and modern making. I think that’s where YouTube is really useful.
Learn more about making by watching Sam’s ‘How To’ tutorials on the FAB9 YouTube channel.
Want to see FAB9 for yourself? Book a tour at fab9.com.au.