Maker Movement – New or Not?

I recently went to a Maker Space workshop at The Generator in Burlington, Vermont.
My time there, and someone querying me about what a maker space is, got me thinking more deeply about the “Maker Movement”.

My response to the query was that people are now providing structured places for people to create. That is kinda’ sorta’ the truth, but it’s a bit more complicated than that. . .I think.

Many years ago, when I was a child, we made things. My grandparents were talented artisans and makers of many things and they shared their love of creating with us. They created furniture, amazing food, rugs, clothing, flowering plants, play spaces, photographs, carvings, ceramics, knit and crocheted things, and multiple other crafted works of art or functional things.

Growing up in a family that creates meant that you created too. So, always having had the experience of being in a creating family I wonder if this movement is just a new twist on something that’s been around for a very long time. Perhaps our culture has gotten away from making because there has been a greater focus on consuming in recent decades?

One definition of the Maker culture says this: ‘Maker culture’ emphasizes learning-through-doing (constructivism) in a social environment. Maker culture emphasizes informal, networked, peer-led, and shared learning motivated by fun and self-fulfillment.’ (“Maker Culture (chapter in Innovating Pedagogy 2013)”. The Open University. Retrieved 2014-01-09)

That sounds much like growing up with Lydia and Clarence as grandparents. Yet, back in the day we didn’t necessarily think of it as ‘learning-through-doing’, though we were. It was more of a social thing we did that kept us busy and entertained. I’m sure my grandparents, living through the depression and war, valued their ability to ‘make do’ with what they had. When they needed to be creative they were. Did we learn from our creative experiences? Absolutely. The difference is that it wasn’t always done in an organized fashion, gathering the culture together for group creativity. Though of course if you look at barn raisings and quilting bees I would certainly considered them part of an early maker movement.

Now there is a modern twist to this idea of social creating: Maker culture encourages novel applications of technologies, and the exploration of intersections between traditionally separate domains and ways of working including metal-working, calligraphy, film making, and computer programming. Community interaction and knowledge sharing are often mediated through networked technologies, with websites and social media tools forming the basis of knowledge repositories and a central channel for information sharing and exchange of ideas, and focused through social meetings in shared spaces such as hackspaces. Maker culture has attracted the interest of educators concerned about students’ disengagement from STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in formal educational settings. Maker culture is seen as having the potential to contribute to a more participatory approach and create new pathways into topics that will make them more alive and relevant to learners.(

It seems the modern maker movement has upped the ante by including technology as a major component of what it means to be a maker. Of course it would, as these are the creative means of the 21st century.

A part of me continues to wonder if this Maker Space phenomenon is a new name for an old idea that somehow went by the wayside. Remember the days when we used to get together with kids in the neighborhood and play games. On our own. Without them having to be organized by adults? Now it seems that kids don’t play unless they are part of an organized athletic team. I don’t think it’s a good thing that kids play is always directed by adults because then how are they learning to work out their problems? When we never have to solve our own dilemmas we never learn how to solve a dilemma.

Similarly, I wonder if kids are really being creative if all the creative outlets are organized and structured for them. Am I the only one who remembers the joy of watching children figure something out for themselves? Or the seriousness they have when they are creating their own make believe world and living in it? How wonderful is that?

I recall the time my youngest was about five years old and imagined for himself a slew of friends. It took me some time to figure out who he was talking to, but once I realized he had created friends for himself I was intrigued. I mean, imagine the possibilities! One day we were running errands and stopped at McDonald’s for lunch.

When I got out of the truck and was ready to close the door he yelled, “NO! Don’t shut the door yet!”
“Why not?” I asked.
“Because all my friends aren’t out yet,” he responded, rolling his eyes as if to say, ‘duh mom’.

“Well, okay,” I conceded while I stood in the parking lot watching him have conversations with numerous friends that only he could see.

After what seemed like forever, I said, “How many friends did you bring with you anyway?”

“Twenty-six,” he replied.

In my mind I was panicking – can you imagine the cost of 26 Happy Meals????

As if reading my mind my creative son replied, “Don’t worry mom, they already ate.”

I could not have structured something so wonderfully creative for him. For whatever reason, these friends were his and his alone. I suspect they filled a need – perhaps a social one, but certainly a creative one.

So, I say, let us go carefully into the 21st century and remember that some things come naturally to humans. . .

Best of the Week II

September 6-12, 2014
FYI – If you click on the pictures they will be enlarged in a new window! Enjoy :)

Harvest Moon

Harvest Moon

Dead Skunk

Dead Skunk

Late Summer Blooms

Late Summer Blooms

Misty Mountain View

Misty Mountain View

Grazing Fresco

Grazing Fresco

Welcome Home

Welcome Home

And finally I’m adding this last one as one to watch over the next few weeks as it changes. . .

Watch this Tree!

Watch this Tree!

What’s New in My Hooking World

Last spring I mentioned a pillow cover I was working on for the recently purchased red sofa. . .

I finished one pillow and have started the second:

poppy pillow - Copy

It kinda’ breaks up the redness, right?

Last winter I did a chair seat project that I’m not sure I ever shared:

Maple Leaf chair pad - Copy

I didn’t get to go to The Burke Hollow Rug Room to hook much last year, but have recently started going back. Suzie is gearing up to be a vendor at this year’s Hooked in the Mountains event.
I took that picture of Suzie for the website. Should I be offended that I wasn’t given credit?

Raffle Rug

If you have never been to Hooked in the Mountains and you are an adventurous sort, I would highly suggest making the trip. You can learn all about it by clicking the link above.

The most recent project I’ve been working on is one that the same Suzie of Burke Hollow Rug Room asked me to experiment with.
As a vendor at Hooked in the Mountains she was asked to bring some nylon to sell. There is a style called Grenfell mats which were hooked with silk stockings. Click on the link to read the interesting history of this unique hooking style.

Anyway, Suzie has been dying nylon stockings to have at her booth and asked me to experiment with the nylon so she would have something to display. She drew up the design and handed it to me with a basket full of multi-colored nylon stockings and ribbon.

Grenfell sort of

The blue and white is the ribbon, the leaves are dyed stockings, and the background is wool yarn that I doubled over to give it a ‘bubbly’ texture. It has a different look, but I kind of like it.
One day while I was working on it on the deck I was paid the ultimate compliment when a big fat bumblebee landed on it. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Writing Prompt #122


Today, in honor of amazing people, your task is to think about one person in your life at this moment who you view as INCREDIBLY AWESOME!

Write a little blurb describing them and what it is that makes them so amazing.

And if you’re very brave, send that blurb to them and make their day!

Have fun and keep writing!

More Awesome Beings

Quite some time ago I published a post called Awesome People, in which I gave credit to many amazing people in my life at that time.

Recognizing those people is something we probably don’t do nearly enough, so I decided to do it again today. I’m mixing it up a little, however, and including more of the animal world than just humans.

Here goes:

Tanya Sousa who gives so generously of herself.

My 14 year old cat who FINALLY caught a mouse.

My husband who has an amazing amount of patience and calm.

The team I am on at work because they are so dedicated and such positive agents for change.

Sea Cucumbers because they can turn themselves into liquid and then back again! True.

A treasured colleague who is an unbelievable wealth of knowledge and resources and is always willing to share!

The ladies in my book group because they have great ideas for reading material, and while I may not love every book we choose, I love the diversity they bring to the group.

Our local librarian who has turned the library into so much more than it ever was!

All the students who get themselves to school despite the challenges they face – like not knowing when they will eat next, not knowing where they will sleep that night, not knowing who is going to make fun of them that day.

The late Rae’s I Love Lucy for giving me 16 years of unconditional love. No one else ever waited at the door for me every single day when I came home.

Thanks to all for making the world a more interesting and better place!