Inspiring Works From Rural Farms, Forests, & Charming Villages on the Salish Sea

Formation Process: Charting the Course

The San Juan Islands Makers Guild is a community program serving San Juan County and was formed with a public service mission in 2019. The first public event was planned for March 28, 2019 and then canceled due to COVID. 

During the COVID pandemic, when public meetings were not feasible, the program elected to conduct research through online asset mapping and needs assessments. As a result of that research, it was determined there is a demand for integrated services not currently met by any other organization in San Juan County or the Western Washington region.

In 2022, the Makers Guild began hosting public program activities to help develop resources that benefit rural Island communities through education, cultural and economic strengthening initiatives. These proof-of-concept activities are continuing into 2023.


During this initial demonstration phase, program accomplishments have included:

  • Makers market, economic and housing need studies
  • Collaborating with shared-value community organizations
  • Hosting exhibits and demonstrations of Maker works on three islands
  • Developing a growing series of educational classes and trainings
  • Consulting with Maker enterprises on business development solutions
  • Assisting with access to education, marketing and financial resources
  • Developing this online Makers Platform for community connection, education and marketing.

VISIONING   In November of 2022, the Guild began hosting Visioning Circles with Makers in a variety of fields. This work is continuing into 2023 on Orcas, San Juan and Lopez islands. The purpose of the Circles is to listen to community needs in small group settings and to develop future programming in response to those needs. 

MEMBERSHIP   Beneficiaries of Guild programs and funding are welcome to participate as members, Each member has the option to join the Makers Hub, to create a Professional and/or a DIY Maker Directory Listing, to participate in no-fee classes and workshops, and to request participation in upcoming Maker2Maker cohorts. 


As a community service program, Basic Membership is free to San Juan County Makers. Optional fee-based services include enrollment in tuition-based classes and workshops, featuring or selling work and products in Guild-sponsored exhibits and Fairs, business development services, and advertising through the online Makers Marketplace, a service going live in 2023.  

CHAPTERS & GOVERNANCE   As an outcome of this listening process, the Guild aims to develop local island chapters that help determine its best courses of action and structural formation. Each island’s chapter leadership will then provide a minimum of one advisor to the San Juan Islands Makers Guild’s steering committee and will assist in selecting the Guild’s structural governance form (community organization, non-profit, coop etc). 


At this time, the Guild is a sponsored program of a non-profit fiscal sponsor, Heritage Ranch, Inc. a federally recognized 501c3 organization serving three western states and founded in 2004. As the Makers Guild forms a Board of Directors in the coming year, that Board will help decide the governing structure of the Guild. At that time, the decision between forming as a 501c3, 501c6, or coop structure will be decided. Until then, the Guild operates as a community program of Heritage Ranch and is not directly a grant recipient.

VOLUNTEERING   Since its founding in 2019, the Guild has been a volunteer-run program with volunteers and project-specific consultants providing services to the Maker community. Examples of those positions include: educational programming, event coordination, marketing training, client development, succession planning, market study preparation, web site development, photography, and video services. During the initial start-up development period, program organizers and supporters have donated over 5,000 hours of time to community service efforts. Program faciliation and volunteer leadership is provided by Guild founders, Stephen Shrader and Marcy Montgomery. Volunteer opportunities are available year round on all San Juan Islands.

NEAR TERM GOALS    2023-2024, the Guild’s plan is to establish three island chapters, to engage local leadership, define its governance model, and to move into 2024 with countywide leadership. Education and economic development services will continue to grow, in response to community input.



Questions about the Guild’s development and volunteer opportunities can be sent to .

Stay in Touch with San Juan Islands Makers Guild

Subscribe to our newsletter for event news and visitor invitations.