I was recently asked by the LoveKnitting.com blog team The Flock, to share what being a "crafter" means to me. "Why do I love making". It seems like an easy question. I make things because I am good at it and it makes me happy. But it led me to revisit a topic I have thought about for a while... insert the word "Maker" for "Crafter" and it is a whole new ball game.
Listen guys, I struggled with this. Like A LOT.
For over a year or two since I first started hearing about the "Maker Community" shortly after joining Instagram, I was just so uncomfortable with it. I am not even sure why. Maybe because it felt exclusive rather than inclusive. Maybe because it felt limiting. I make things sure. But it is so much more than just the mechanics of making things. And I felt like it was a fluff label without any depth. It didn't grasp me and make me say hey... that is ME. So, for lots of reasons, defining myself as a "Maker" hasn't felt right. Until now.
I have decided, thanks to Mythbusters co-host, Nation of Makers Founder, and Maker extraordinaire Adam Savage and something he recently said, that I am in fact, a MAKER! And finally, for the first time since hearing that term, that word, that new definition of who I am, can I say I get it. I believe it. I am comfortable with it!
He said: "Humans do two things that make us unique from all other animals; we use tools and we tell stories. And when you make something, you’re doing both at once.”
In two sentences Savage helped me solve an identity crisis I had been struggling with for so long. I use tools and I make things. Period. Those are both who I am and what I do. I am a Maker.
It is fantastic because it is the simplest truth.
As a maker and part of the new Maker Movement, I feel we are inspired to create and explore like never before. For me, it is simply when I look at a ball of yarn, string really, I think of all the things it can become and how my hands can create that journey. How I am MAKING something and the story it is telling. My designs are often inspired by places I have been or architecture and so the story of my life is truly woven into everything I make. It is a special thing.
It is rewarding and constantly feeds more creativity. More curiosity. More exploration. And more making! I wear that label with pride now and wanted to share with you guys.
So many times we fight labels. I am a knitter. No, I am a crocheter. No, I am a fiber artist. No, I am a designer. Well you know what? I am all those things and IN all those things is the fact that I AM A MAKER!
It does not lessen my legitimacy or make my business more home-made than hand-made. It does not make me a hobby-ist or non serious. It does not make me chaotic or without focus. It in fact helps me be all the things I was afraid it would take away. It empowers me to know that with my hands and my tools I am MAKING my way forward and making my world better and making things.
I wanted to share because I know I am not alone. I know, because I have spoken to many in the community, who have had a similar challenge with a label or calling themsleves a "Maker". I want to invite you to remove the quotes. Get quiet and consider what Adam Savage said. Find the freedom I did in those two simple truths. We use tool and we make things.