We as humans are called to create, invent and shape the world around us. We build and break things, making and remaking our environment and ourselves. We learn to use new technologies and rediscover old tools to realize the products of our imagination. This is the essential idea behind the maker movement.

All around you there are hobbyists, creatives and enthusiasts who found something they love to do, and want to share their projects and practical knowledge with others. For some it is a livelihood, and for others it is simply something they enjoy doing. I bring them together at Maker Faires around the world. It’s a way for people to meet makers and see what they do. I hope it helps people see themselves as producers, not just as consumers.

Makers in the modern world

Making is so basic and universal that we might not understand its value in our culture. One might ask why it is worth calling it out now, especially since our ancestors viewed making as a necessity of life. In today’s consumer society, making is optional. Consumerism demands our attention and promises to save us time and money. Making requires time and dedicated effort to deliver a deeper satisfaction. Despite the pervasiveness of consumerism, there has never been a better time to start making things, and more people than ever are learning how. 

The best makerspaces foster community. They are playful, engaging places with lots of ongoing experiments.

Recently, I met a knife-maker at Maker Faire Kuwait. He was showing his finished knives and the materials he starts with to fashion a knife. I was surprised when he told me that he had been making knives only one year, and that he learned from YouTube. Today, people young and old are learning to do things by sharing information through an online community. Now is a great time to find the resources you need to learn to make anything. 

Fostering creative experiences

Making is something you must choose to do based on your own interests. Making consists of many and varied projects, and one’s capabilities develop through practice and patience. It involves taking risks and experimenting. It requires you to become a self-directed learner. You begin to construct a life that has its own meaning and purpose.

Making has profound implications for our society, particularly for children. Today’s kids spend more time than any previous generation in front of screens, consuming pre-made content. The maker movement works at a grassroots level to organize meaningful creative experiences that develop technical skills along with the confidence of a can-do mindset. Any parent, teacher, community leader or librarian can help facilitate these experiences for adults and children by organizing makerspaces.

Makerspaces are a new kind of workshop that are increasingly found in schools, museums, suburban malls, universities and kindergartens. Corporations like Google, Facebook and Microsoft contain large and elaborate makerspaces as an amenity that encourages everyone in a company to innovate. But a makerspace can also be as simple as the kitchen table in your home. The best makerspaces foster community. They are playful, engaging places with lots of ongoing experiments. In time, you can start a creative journey that helps you discover your own unique talents and opens a new world for you to explore.