Being Human

I have to admit, I’m not really sure about this “Maker Movement” business (and it really has become big business, which is ironic, considering its origins).  All of a sudden I’m hearing the word “maker” everywhere, and reading about “maker fairs” - and I’m like “making what?”  So I Google the term, and I get this:

“The maker movement is a trend in which individuals or groups of individuals create and market products that are recreated and assembled using unused, discarded or broken electronic, plastic, silicon or virtually any raw material and/or product from a computer-related device.”

And I get it.  It’s like the Son-of-Radioshack, and all those guys (because they were mostly guys) taking apart their Ataris to make something new and, theoretically, better.  

But then I go, that can’t be right, because this person was talking about “the maker movement” and clothes - though not actually making the clothes, just kind of re-decorating them.  So then I figure that the “maker” label has been appropriated from the techies, kind of like stealing their lunch money. 

A little more searching lead to a broader definition in a Time article, which is long, but begins with:

“The maker movement, as we know, is the umbrella term for independent inventors, designers and tinkerers. A convergence of computer hackers and traditional artisans…”  

Ok, “traditional artisans” - that’s where the clothes come in.  It’s hard to get more traditional than making and wearing clothes.

But here’s my confusion: Isn’t making things just part of being human?  Ultimately, isn’t making things - lots of things, different things - something humans are just really good at?  I mean, birds can make a nest, but it’s the same nest every time.  Humans are like “if we build a room addition to this nest, then mama bird and daddy bird can have some privacy.”  And “no fur, no feathers, no problem, we’ll just take some of the fur that these sheep left lying around, and make some of our own.”

So why do we need a movement to encourage us to do what we’re naturally very good at?  Are we that far up into our heads, that we have forgotten what, I believe, is part of our biological imperative?  Can’t we turn off the TV and the computer and go make something - even if it’s just dinner?  

Do we need to have a movement to make us be human?

Some sheep and some worms left their wool and cocoons lying around, so I made this yarn. (OK, it was a bit more complicated than that.)

A sheep and some caterpillars left fur and cocoons lying around, so I made this.  (Ok, it was a little more complicated than that, but you get the gist.)