Pagoda Studios owner Joseph Budka created his design and restoration company about six years ago and has had his workshop space in West Humboldt Park for about five years. Four years ago, Budka started a residency program for craftsmen looking for a workshop where they could work without having to worry about costs of tools and space. Aaron McPherson and James Crannell, both craftsmen in the program, use the workshop daily working on projects. Both have separate brands – McPherson, the Ultimate DIY Guy; and Crannell, Gokojo.
Budka says he started the residency program because when he was starting out, he too was looking for a workspace without having to pay too much or to take classes. Budka is currently rebranding the shop as MAKE!Chicago, which he describes as “a forum for not just sharing information about the shop and the programs offer[ed], but also… a place where artists throughout the region can connect, show their work…and their techniques.” Budka plans to move the workshop to Pilsen soon, where the craftsmen will have more space.