Tear Cap Workshops

At A Glance


Sarah Banks


Hiram, Maine

Primary Issue Area:

  • Environmental Health
  • Living Economies
  • Environmental Health
  • Food
  • Climate Change & Energy

Active since:


Tax Status:


Core volunteers:


Community Size:


  • Basketmaking! Finishing up the last steps
  • Volunteer crew raising our new sign frame
  • Rent-a-Benchers making an oak table
  • Our luthier tenant hard at work

Our Purpose

Our mission is to unleash creativity through hands-on learning. Our campus is a former sawmill in Western Maine that we are reinventing as part artisan collective and part craft school. Our focus is on hands-on craft, primarily in woodworking, but we are also expanding into other traditional, locally-inspired craft including stonework, basketmaking, bookmaking, and gardening. Our aim is to build community between varied creative disciplines —wood, metal, stone, food — connected by their importance to rural life in Maine.TCW purchased the 19-acre former sawmill campus in 2017, and since then, we've been slowing transforming the 11 buildings into usable workshop space. We have 13 full-time creative tenants on site, representing timberframing, woodworking, blacksmithing, gardening and guitar making. We also have an emerging hands-on workshop schedule, having offered classes in stonewall building, woodworking, and other traditional crafts.The heart of our organization is our Community Woodworking Shop. We repurposed the former planer mill building into a sunny, 40 x 80 community-use shop and educational hub. (This space is where we host our woodworking makerspace program, Rent-a-Bench.) The shop is heated by an outdoor wood boiler, fed with wood scraps and local firewood. We also converted a small ajoining room into a craft library with all kinds of skill-based books.Our big picture goal is for this former sawmill campus to be a thriving, creative hub for all.