July 2015

What is a Maker

There has been an ongoing discussion about what a maker is. In a very generic sense, a maker is anyone who makes something- well, that applies to most of us- whether it is making wood related items, art, writing, performance, or even dinner- we all create in one way or another. So, should this term be used this generically? No, it shouldn’t.

The Spirit of the Make Movement

The maker movement, which was arguably launched with Make Magazine and supported and perpetuated by organizations like by organizations like Maker Faire and has instilled the idea of making things for education, improvement and self discovery. It is these values and the people that embody them that really deserve the term “makers”. ( Time Magazine featured an article in 2014 that lists some of the stats and numbers to provide some more context for the movement)

Why does it Matter?

This topic has been written about nearly ad naseum, but it needs to be reeled back in every once in a while to remind everyone what it’s purpose and goal is. It seems that buzz terms like” maker” evolve towards generic applications as they grow in popularity, although it seems to occur at a more rapid pace due to social networking, similar to the design term “rustic”, that now seems to apply to anything that has intentional nail holes and looks a little rough. And it should not be surprising that this has occurred because who does not want to be part of such a cool and powerful movement.

This movement should be a constant [and needed] reminder that we can do these things on our own, without depending on a factory to created, a retail store to sell, or someone else to invent- that is a powerful concept.

The 20th and 21st century has brought such luxury and convenience to that masses, that we do not often question, “How was this done?” The machine and manufacturing wizardary that creates most of the items that we use on a daily basis is nothing short of astounding, but rarely question if it is the best and most long lasting way and corporations have embraced the notion of “planned obsolescence” but thanks to the movement, this practice is being questioned and challenged more often now than it has in the last 40-50 years.

The Maker Movement has reminded us of the powers we have to create on our own and inspired us to want to do so. It is the rekindling of skills [as a society] that use to only be on display at renaissance festivals and county fairs. This movement has vicariously reconnected us with a particular heritage that many of us have never had a connection with and it has probably done more for education than computers in a classroom ever could. (I am a public high school teacher)

A Personal Note

I found my way into this community by way of YouTube and its host of makers. When this started [roughly 2 and half years ago], I was going through a fairly major change in lifestyle (that I will discuss in detail in a future post) and certain YouTube shows were offering a fair bit of entertainment and inspiration during a time of need and what I witnessed was that some “ordinary people” were creating some pretty amazing things.

I use ordinary simply because I know that they are hardworking individuals that have huge followings and they somehow have remained accessible and endlessly gracious to all of their followers- that is beyond ordianry in my eyes.

They have made a huge difference in my life and have inspired me to also try and share my creations with the community.

I would like to specifically thank those three people here:

. Please check out their sites in channels if you are not already familiar… and if you are… check back again!

Jimmy Diresta – Creator, Inventor, Maker, Fabricator, Entrepreneur, Inspiration to over 260,000 Subscribers and countless others.
Jimmy Diresta on YouTube

Steve Ramsey – Maker, Entrepreneur, YouTube Pioneer, Godfather to almost all woodworkers on YouTube
Steve Ramsey on YouTube

Ben Heckendorn (Ben Heck) – Inventor, Prototyping, Hacking (Physical), Pinball Maker, Creator of Cheesy Skits
BenHeck on YouTube

***And Lastly a huge thank you to my wife and kids for supporting me through all of this craziness.

And if you’ve read to this point, a huge thank you for taking the time to read this in its entirety. Connect with me @geekbuilders on Twitter and Instagram and follow this link to the YouTube Channel


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