Groundswell’s Makers: Creating for the Greater Good

We have to create;
it is the only thing louder than destruction;
— Andrea Gibson

Did you know that your old car’s worn-out timing belt can still be made into something useful (you guessed it: a one-of-a-kind belt)? Are you considering to choose reclaimed wood for your home or office furniture? Do you need handmade bike gear to help you cycle safely from point A to point B?

Here at Groundswell, we have a community of makers who can provide you with all of the above. 

These folks are passionate not only in making things, but in creating meaningful things that reflect values of sustainability and social responsibility.  They're so awesome they transform pieces of scraps, or other excess/surplus stuff - into wonderful things.  Get to know them more!

Wood Shop Workers Co-op

Makers (aka the Wood Shop Crew): Chris, Max, Jessica, Renee

Makers (aka the Wood Shop Crew): Chris, Max, Jessica, Renee

We at the Wood Shop are more than reclaimed & sustainable wood furniture fabricators, we are Wood Working educators and passionate about making an impact through social innovation initiatives in our community. 

We provide comprehensive Custom Design, Manufacturing and Installation services for Furniture & Interiors made out of reclaimed and sustainably sourced wood.  Our goal is to create sustainable, inspired spaces that align with your values and that you can can positively engage with everyday.

How does the Wood Shop collaborate with other social ventures?

As a social impact venture we want to do the best we can for our local community. We do so by supporting other local strategic partners to achieve local Community Development Initiatives.  We are proud to name Hives for Humanity, Co-op Radio, Groundswell, Buy Social, VanCity, Strathcona BIA, Recycling Alternatives, Mattress Recycling, Hastings Urban Farm, and the BC Co-op Association among those we call partners.

Can you tell us about your business model?

Wood Shop is a for profit organization that is co-owned in a co-operative business model. Wood Shop formed as a co-op because it provided the opportunity to be a choice for an alternative way of engaging with the economy, with workers and the community. 

Gauntlit Creator Alex Kennedy makes safety tools for bikers.

Gauntlit Creator Alex Kennedy makes safety tools for bikers.

Handmade crate from reclaimed, upcycled wood. Photo from Wood Shop's FB page.

Handmade crate from reclaimed, upcycled wood. Photo from Wood Shop's FB page.

Any advice for people looking for furniture?When it comes to furnishings and interiors in your home and/or your business, you have a choice.  We believe you can be a part of something better. 


Hey Alex! Tell us about your venture.

Gauntlit is a small, local business that specializes in making bike-safety devices out of locally sourced materials.  

What’s your inspiration in creating your ‘Gauntlits’? 

In a world that is over-stimulated with noise about technological marvels (and threats), we seek to put a sense of confidence and autonomy quite literally in the hands of our customers, by providing them with life-saving “wearable tech”.

Sounds cool. Tell us more... 

Gauntlit uses locally-sourced materials and gives bike-riders the tools they need to stay safe on the road. But beyond this, Gauntlit is not just a damn cool-looking device… and we hope to use the conversation around it to poke fun at all the insecurities people have about high fallutin’ technology. 


Hello Jef!  That belt looks intriguing…

I’m glad you noticed!  This belt is made from an old car’s timing belt. I’m a mechanic and I like creating things with my hands, and thought it’d be cool if I turned this into something useful... and why not a functioning belt? 

Very cool!  Can you tell us more about MatterForms?

MatterForms creates useful, unique and beautiful products from up-cycled materials, like old car parts - which I turn into sturdy bookends, hanging planters, and visual light installations. 

MatterForms Maker: Jefery Fernando

MatterForms Maker: Jefery Fernando

What do you hope to achieve through your venture? 

Through creative manipulation, MatterForms attempts to change perceptions of how we see materials by finding possible uses for discarded materials. 

Come see the Groundswell makers' creations and chat with them about their work at the Groundswell Market, Tuesdays 11am-4pm at Granville Island.