Sunday, April 15, 2012

Why We Make

It was a simple enough idea: get a bunch of thinkers and makers in a room and talk. Ask questions about what motivates us all to make things.

The execution of the idea was simple enough too: a batch of scones, some tea, a small white board, a facebook invite, soularium cards, an outline.

But even the best laid plans sometimes turn out unexpectedly. This time, it was the chronic problem that haunts my best ideas. This time, no one showed.

That isn't exactly true. Three people came. Elaine, my print making friend, and her two younger siblings in ninth and eighth grade. We went through my planned outline for the event as if there were ten of us there.

As discouraging as no-shows can be, it was a delightful time.

Here's what I learned:

  • I learned that everyone is a maker. In one way or another. Everyone. The word "maker" leaves an open door for more people to participate. Elaine and I think terms of "artists", but people don't think of themselves that way anymore. However, everyone has something that they make and create. Yes, even engineers. Her brother builds robots! How cool is that?
  • I learned that food covers a multitude of otherwise empty moments.
  • I learned that there is a difference between spaces that "feed" us and help us make, and the spaces where we do our best work.
  • I learned that youngest brothers have similar souls. It made me miss my brother.
  • I learned that there is no scientific distinction between streams, rivers, and creeks.
  • I learned that explaining "why" to "why we make" is a mystery and very hard to put into words.
One of my favorite moments from the event was when each of us took two pictures from the soularium cards to describe what compels us to be creatie and make things. I wrote down key words from our answers. They say a lot about how we see and understand "making", wether for good or ill!
  • Delight
  • Can't NOT make
  • expression --> can't hide self which can be frustrating, helpless
  • Communicate
  • Overflow
  • Drawn to broken things --> compassion, beauty, light
  • "Without it, I would feel useless, like I was missing part of myself."
  • "Gives meaning"
  • To copy/imitate
  • Beautiful things
  • To make things work.
  • Be useful
  • Discover good design
It was a delightful test run with a delightful room of new friends. It must be tried again soon!

PS. I love homeschoolers. I love how age just doesn't seem to matter quite as much. That you are free to discover wisdom and good company in the eighth and ninth grader just as much as in the college sophomore.

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