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01 Jul '16

Making-is this what we do??

Posted by Clare Parsons in crafting, crafts, maker, making, STEAM, STEM


I’m probably going to end up annoying friends, family, and neighbors about this.

Someone is a “Maker.” They “make”________________.”

They do it in some kind of maker “space” or “incubator.”

 Obviously we’ve bought into the idea, Caitlin and I. For many different reasons. Caitlin is an artist. For sure. Her plates and decoupage pieces are really masterful. They require talent and a lot of patience to make.

 I wouldn’t call myself an artist. I know my limits and I am fine with them. Doctorate holders in Comp.Lit. are often not gifted with good fine motor skills.

If you’re lucky someone will assume that you know about writing. Chances are good you have some interest, at the very least. You might even write, but I’ll leave off the argument about writing and what it actually is. I’m pretty sure it’s not making in the tactile sense where you can get dirty and wrestle with some kind of “supply.”

 But to get back to the maker thing. There seem to be two worlds that sometimes intersect and often don’t.

 Science makers have really great supplies to work with. I’ve always envied the sciency types who have chambers filled to the brim with deficient motherboards and broken wires. I have no idea what any of it is but you can be sure that soldering will take place. Lucky for them, thrift shops are filled to the ceilings with broken electronics. Not much expense. So much to gain. If they have kids, they’ll spend many evenings and weekends reverse engineering rejected appliances. It’s obviously a public service ,what they do.   

The other side is occupied by the arty and crafty makers. The most skilled may be honored by the titles artist or an artisan crafter. Those with the less impressive fine motor are welcome as well. We’re lucky to live in an age where the legacy of found object art. Almost nobody questions the work of Max Ernst’s “Fountain.” And the shadow boxes of Joseph Cornell are exquisite. Almost nobody would question his work, or his thrifting and gathering talents.

 And this brings us to the curator tribe. They curate many different objects, most of which have nothing to do with merchandise and contemporary retail. I’m ok with the label but am starting to cringe when I hear too much talk using the term.

 Is this kind of coinage the sign of decline? Will Bed Bath and Beyond soon have merchandise “For the maker in you?” Maybe it’s not such a bad thing. Or maybe it’s disastrous. The maker movement might get a little more democratic, as it’s supposed to be. But maybe snobbery is a way to lengthen the life space of a movement.





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