"What do you do when you can't find something you need? Well you go out and create it."
This was the thinking of Canberra's first Women's Shed founder Sunita Kotnala and sidekick Robby McGarvey. Frustrated with a lack of resources to further their handy-woman skills, the pair approached Thor Diesendorf of Thor's Hammer in Griffith with a proposition; to provide a workspace.
As the trio tells it, the owner of the furniture design workshop accepted the unannounced duo's pitch, despite being run off his feet that day.
Through his generosity, alongside Ms Kotnala and Ms McGarvey's tenacity, a group of women met at Thor's on Saturday for a workshop induction. They will meet each week from October 3 to begin woodwork projects and build confidence with tools.
Ms Kotnala said the founding women met as humble volunteers of the Kingston Organic Community Market, from where they diverted their skills into bringing Floriade to the southside lakefront.
"We really bonded and started talking about a number of women who were really feeling quite isolated, left out and experiencing a loss of community and a loss of connection," she said.
Having taken part in a Women's Shed workshop in Sydney which gave her the confidence to pursue her up-cycling projects, Ms Kotnala got to work finding a place for those women to get together and develop their own skills.
Ms Kotnala said when she asked her now vice-president if she'd like to be involved in the Women's Shed, she didn't hesitate.
"I said 'yeah, I really need to learn so then I can teach my husband'," Ms McGarvey said.
The group has since been given access to an education centre at the Jerrabomberra Wetlands Nature Reserve where they will run workshops to support women's mental health once a month.
"So how is this different to a men's shed?" Ms Kotnala asked the crowd gathered at Thor's for the launch event on Friday.
"When we were growing up a lot of us weren't exposed to many of the skills in the management of tools, which sometimes can be quite debilitating."
Ms Kotnala said never was this more evident than for women who had recently become widowed or divorced and were used to relying on a partner for household tasks.
"What we really want to do is help women learn those basic trade skills," Ms Kotnala said.
At the launch on Friday, Ms McGarvey said she was delighted to say 'we are here'.
"When you talk to Sunita, she quickly demonstrates her passion and commitment to whatever project," Ms McGarvey said.
"And as everyone knows, passion is a powerful force when it comes to achieving anything you set your mind to.
"In setting up Women's Shed Canberra, Sunita has proven she [has] not only the business acumen but also the drive and the passion."