Sunday, 20 November 2011

The Joy of Making



A friend who has the knack of finding the niftiest things at just the right time gave me this mug yesterday as an early birthday present.
She thought of me not only because we share an enthusiasm for knitting and such but also because I had been girning about how much I am looking forward to getting back to my own crafting.
Now you all know I love Northern Loops--it's like another child late in life, the embodiment of all the social action of the sixties, an opportunity to make a difference in my new community, and good fun on top of that. One of the ironies, however, of starting a craft-based group is that I have spent less time doing crafting, which was the genesis of all this in the first place.
You gotta love the irony of it. So I am parking up the projects swirling in my head for a month of more crafting than organising in December.
I also love this mug because my friend and I share a conviction that hands on is a good way of learning. We get smarter when we knit or crochet or make things with our hands from improvised bird scarers or basketry covers for our veg patch to new apps for our electronic toys. I can't help it: something hard wired into me gets excited about making things.
Serendipity led me to switch from the background music of Radio 3 to Radio 4 where I heard a discussion of the new Raspberry Pi computer that folks can program--not be just consumers of technology but take part in it. Following closely on the heels of Raspberry Pi was a discussion of Fab Labs http://www.fablab.co.uk--an idea born in MIT in the US to set up fabrication labs so that folks with ideas can make them real. My heart is still beating faster at the thought of that.
One of my favourite students when I taught technical writing years ago was a young man who wanted to start a small machine shop--not the lawnmower repair type shop which has its merits but a genuine using cutting edge technology but on a small scale to fabricate parts for equipment working shop. Even that long ago the world was not kind to small businesses and hands on manufactory. I dread to think what it is like in this current climate, but I believe in that ability to make things not only for the sake of what it does for us but also what it does for our economy, our cultural well being.
So, please go ahead and get excited and make something.

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