Q&A: Casey McCarty of the Columbus Idea Foundry

By Columbus Alive
From the April 4, 2013 edition
  • Photo by Meghan Ralston

Casey McCarty hasn’t even been at the Columbus Idea Foundry for an entire year, but she’s already guided a number of new developments. She’s organized more regular classes — everything from creative entrepreneurship to blacksmithing and even lock picking — and scheduled quarterly open house events so the public can see all the awesomeness that takes place there.

McCarty also has projects outside the Idea Foundry. She’s a freelance writer, contributor to Punk Torah, a national website for the indie Jewish community, and most recently authored a historical fiction piece to “Columbus: Past, Present and Future.” With all that on her plate, McCarty still finds time to work on her side business, Sine Metu Designs.

The creative community at-large has so many interests. People who’re interested in welding might also be interested in woodworking or photography or any number of different tangentially related, but creatively related things. It’s one of the organic cross-pollinations that happens here.

Our Open House and Artist Exhibit is April 7. It’s our second quarterly open house. We invited our members, our studio residents and members at-large to come show off what they’re working on. If you have stuff to sell, you can sell it. If you have stuff to exhibit, just show off what you’re working on.

Some of our instructors will be on-hand at the open house. People will be able to ask questions and see the products [since] most of our classes are project-oriented and you leave with the thing you make. We’re not just telling people what we do, but showing people what we do. We’ll have some make-and-take stations. There are some great things for people to make and get their feet wet. And people can take a tour and see what we’re all about.

My side business is Sine Metu Designs. I’m third generation small business, so I thought, ‘What can I do to monetize some of the creative things that I do?’ So I started a side business with a bit of an Etsy presence and sold to some boutiques. I don’t do it so much anymore since this is my day job, and I have specialized down. By and large what people seemed to gravitate to was Judaica.

I write a weekly column for Punk Torah. It’s a snippet of the haftorah that I summarize and then approach from a history standpoint — what else was going on in that time, or who are these people or armies they’re referencing. It’s like the History Channel on the Jewish text.

It’s hard to say which class is the most popular. The welding classes are almost always sold out and … we sell out a couple woodworking classes a month. People are always chopping at the bit to take one of the laser classes because it’s one of the most accessible tools; you don’t have to be particularly tech savvy to work with that. You can get added to an email list so when we drop a bunch of new classes we’ll email that group first.

The bladesmithing one is almost always an instant sellout. It is very time-consuming, a 12-hour class with three sessions. They make a knife from start to finish and … they look gorgeous.

The lock picking intro class — where you get your lock picking kit—is taught about once a quarter and that’s always a mad rush to get registered. We also have a meet-up for locksmiths that are free and open to the public on third Wednesday of the month.