Making an Impression: Makers All Around

I thought if I tried this, it would explode. I have three confessions to make: 1) I don’t know how to change a car tire, 2) it’s a miracle I know how to check for malware on my computer, and 3) I was exceptionally lucky to pass physics in high school (thanks, Mr. Teachworth, you really are a credit to your name). I see tinkerers and think, “It would probably explode if I tried that.” So here I am, learning about Maker Faire and the “Maker Movement” that inspired it. Maker Faire is tricky enough to describe. Making robots? Cars? Soldering circuit boards? Making sparkly things? Who on earth am I to try and participate in all that or to try and articulate what the “Maker Movement” is? But here’s the big secret I’m about to let you in on: we’re all makers. We just haven’t realized it yet.   “Making” has been integral to human kind since forever. Some of the oldest human artifacts are 100,000 years old, such these as shells used to mix paints and we certainly haven’t stopped making things since. Today, a “Maker” is an overarching term for independent inventors, DIYers, artisans, people who just like to design, and innovate. They can range from high tech tinkerers and geeky coders to traditional artisans and intricate crafters. The movement itself seems to have risen in response to shrinking practical arts and technical programs in schools, the prolific rise in accessible technology, and the massive disconnect between people and the products they use in everyday life. But Makers themselves have always been around. We are all makers. So who are makers? My grandpa was one: he could pick apart and rebuild a radio, TV, or phone without having to peek at a schematic. My mother is one: I totally had the best Halloween costumes as a kid. My friends are makers: one just knit the coolest owl toy and another is an experimental home brewer. And I guess even I’m one. I like to fiddle with recipes and improvise when I don’t have certain ingredients. I make my own birthday cards. And, taking after my mother, I make my own costumes. We’ve all got something we’re curious about, something we want to touch or make or improve, and Maker Faire is all about giving in to that curiosity. Next Maker Faire? I’m going to make something with blinky lights! facebooktwittergoogle_plusmail