I enjoy handcrafted items and am always looking for unique locally-made goods. So I found my way to The Foundry at 298 Northampton Street. Nestled between Michigan and Jefferson Avenues on Buffalo’s East Side, the Foundry features some of Buffalo’s rising artisans and innovative minds.
Housed in a 25,000 square foot warehouse, this community-based creative space began with a desire to incubate emerging businesses and bring production back to Buffalo. It has grown from two founding members, Rusted Grain and ReUse Action to 22 makers and counting. The Foundry provides workspace for those that like to design, fabricate, engineer and build.
Recently I was given a behind-the-scenes tour by Megan McNally of Rusted Grain. The first thing I noticed when walking into the space is the industrial chic feel. The Foundry is divided into workspaces by wonderfully structured wood partitions made on-site with aged and reclaimed wood. And although the bones of the space are very neutral, some of the individual spaces are teeming with bright color and texture. In the background you can hear the perpetual humming of machinery – table saws and drill presses – as well as the constant chatter of residents discussing new concepts and business strategy.
Megan explained to me that the Foundry goes beyond providing a workspace for its residents. It offers business development classes and collaborative environment for its residents to thrive. The ultimate goal is for the residents to eventually move out and expand.
The Foundry also serves as venue for workshops and performing arts. The creative hub routinely holds workshops on woodworking, metalworking and fiber arts. The Foundry hosts theater troupes, open-mic poetry, dance performances and other means of creative expression. See their events page for more information.
One of the best days to go treasure hunting is Second Saturday. Once a month the Foundry opens its doors to the public and the resident artisans are joined by other local vendors. Think street market meets craft fair. Live music and demonstrations makes the Foundry a must see for anyone seeking hand finished items with local color.