What did you make today?
Warning! This is not a polished piece (did I have to say that? Anyway… let’s just start). I always loved making things. Well at least as long as I remember myself and from what others have told me and the photographs I have seen and some of the evidence that still exists today. I love drawing and painting and writing stories and making jewellery and little boats out of old wood and Christmas and Easter decorations and little dolls but also making jam (just made some with blueberries and apples), baking and cooking and knitting scarves (used to knit even jumpers when I was a teenager – weird thing to do for a teenager, but I guess, I was a weird teenager… ) now my eldest son Nassi, who will be 10 tomorrow, has started knitting and he loves it.
The other day Nassi told me ‘I thought knitting was for grannies but after he started he couldn’t stop and I have seen him knitting in the morning in his bed and in the evening too. I love making curtains and pillow cases and little blankets for my boys and tableclothes and duvet covers etc etc. and I would love to make my own clothes (working on this at the moment!!!)
The list is probably endless and I seem to be constantly in the mood to make something… sometimes(?) I make a mess too. This is part of the fun. The stuff that I make are things for the house, for myself but also for my family and friends but it doesn’t stop there (could it?) Nobody forces me, nobody makes me make anything. Sometimes, others might think that what I do is not a good idea. But this doesn’t (usually) stop me… (I like the phrase ‘only dead fish swim with the stream’ and use it a lot – too often we see people going with the masses with whatever the majority says/wants – I find that boring!).
What I make helps me communicate and connect with myself, ideas, concepts and people but also with problems and understanding things that are difficult/impossible? to understand. This making habit (is this a bad habit?) is also present in my professional life. I can’t stop myself!!! Flashcards, games, costumes and loads of other aids for teaching are part of my ever growing toolkit. Soon, I will need a room just for all my toys… I used to have an attic to store them… now we don’t.
Of course, these days not all my creations are low- or no-tech physical creations. Some live in the digital world as well and they definitely take up less room and are not so heavy to carry around and I can share them more easily too. They help me connect with different and more people, ideas and concept and let me and us explore the world around us from different perspectives.
I haven’t mentioned yet the thousands of digital photographs I have taken so far… – another one of my passions.
Some might think/say that it is not good to have a passion… do they talk about obsessions though? Anyway, I always loved taking photographs but before DC (digital cameras), I felt so so very restricted, just 36 photographs to take on one film? What to take? And what not to? More films were an option but I had less control of the quality of the final product. First because I was an amateur photographer (and still am) and didn’t know how to operate my camera properly (who reads and follows instrucions?) so most of the images were for the bin anyway and then there was a cost involved as well. The films were not cheap (well, I guess you could get some in the Poundshop) but waiting for the photographs to be printed was sometimes (only sometimes?) a traumatic experience and one where I felt useless and creativeless (if there is such a word in the English language). Should I give up trying? I was so releaved when technology progressed and became affordable (because this is usually the big issue for the majority of people, and I am one of this part of our society) and I got my first digital camera. A whole new and exciting world opened suddenly in front of my eyes! Wow! I couldn’t stop and I am still an active (hyper-active) photographer. I love the fact that I can take loads and don’t have to worry about it (these days the SD cards can be huge and fit thousands of photographs). I can delete, if I want to, but I can also edit and do all kinds of fancy things which I was not able to do before. The middleman is gone now and I can express creatively even after the photographs have been taken and share them easily with family and friends and connect with the wider community too, thanks to the web and the user-friendly platform and tools. A the web! It is always nice to hear that people like something you have done and find out if they have been useful and in what way.
All these things that I make, give me pleasure, probably in a slightly selfish way, but I also love to give and to share what I make on my own and with others. Sharing gives me the opportunity to make somebody smile (if they like it, of course) and be useful for others. We don’t share stuff to get something in return. Well, I don’t but if somebody acknowledges your work, your contribution this is great and can be motivational too (I found this article on sharing online recently, which might useful reading for some – and I think I should revisit this and reflect on this as well).
My boys are little (or should I really say big creators? because they are). They love making things in the physical and the digital world. Ody, my youngest took the camcorder the other day and created the clip below. On his own. He was behind and in front of the camera. He thought of the story, special effects, everything on his own. A one man production team (see clip below).
What I am trying to say here, and I am not sure if I am just mumbling… but the above come straight out of my head and are unprocessed thoughts is, that since I started reading David Gauntlett’s book ‘Making is Connecting’ I have all the above in my head (and loads of other stuff that I probably didn’t include) and when I went out this afternoon with my boys and took the book with me to the playground I felt the need to scribble some of my thoughts into the book (I always read with a pencil in my hand, a habit I picked up when I was translating…) and here I am now sharing them on the web, because I want to, because I can and because I would be interested to hear your voice, what you would like to say. This is strange though, I am hoping that there is an audience out there who would have read the above and feel that they would like to add their story too and will do so because they can… humans always wanted to connect wth others. We are social beings, Aristotle said it and many others too. We enjoy being part of a community, we love to be included in what is happening and to co-shape the present and the future. To make things and to make things happen. To be and learn together (of course we need some time for ourselves as well). I am so glad that Frances (Bell) showed me this book because it does confirm to me, what I always thought. We are all makers, creators and networkers too. All the web does is provide a platform and the tools to make it happen on a massive scale. We all can do it! Finally somebody said it and wrote a book about it! I am just on page 60 and am looking forward to what is still to be discovered.
I will probably revisit this post after the sparklers in my head normalise and let me refine and rationalise my thinking a bit more… will this be possible/is this needed? Not sure at the moment… I just wanted to get all this out of my system before I say Goodnight.