Innovating. Creating. Making. They all fascinate me. Whenever I'm stressed, suffering from writer's block, or feeling overwhelmed, I make something with my hands. The problem solving and frustrations of imagining something and bringing it to life are addictive. So of course I jumped at the chance to participate in Cricut's Design Space Star Contest and put a Cricut Explore Electronic Cutting Machine with Cricut Design Space Free Online Software (*affiliate link), a personal electronic cutting machine, through its paces (and am excited to be giving one away!).
There's inherent joy in creating something from nothing. As the daughter of a mixed media fiber artist and third-generation civil engineer, making is in my soul, and I'm hoping in my daughter's as well.
Since my daughter's birth I've returned to making, in the kitchen and elsewhere, as I want her to grow up in a creative environment with lots of tools available. I like her seeing me sketch out an idea, try something, not quite get it, and then try something else until I get it. I want to fuel her inquisitiveness, her thirst for knowledge. She watched as my convertible beach tote came to life, starting first with the design on paper and then moving to fabrics and leather.
Understanding Our Need to Create
Growing up I was surrounded by books and by art supplies. Whenever I had a question, I'd reach for a book or head to our local library. I would devour multiple books on a given subject, analyzing the answers I found from all sides. This habit has continued into adulthood. Over the years, I've read and collected numerous books on entrepreneurship, architecture, and engineering. All in my attempt to know why some people create and others don't, how creativity and innovation is fostered, and more. And I used to think some of us were just born with creativity. Some of us are just natural makers. Then, I read, Makers: The New Industrial Revolution (*affiliate link), and my view changed.
"We are all Makers. We are born Makers (just watch a child's fascination with drawing, blocks, Lego, or crafts), and many of us retain that love in our hobbies and passions. ... If you love to cook, you're a kitchen Maker and your stove is your workbench (homemade food is best, right?). If you love to plant, you're a garden Maker. Knitting and sewing, scrapbooking, beading and cross-stitching--all Making."
But why do we have this desire--drive--to create, to make? That's something I've been fascinated by and trying to understand for much of my adult life. A book I picked up last Fall, for me, offers the best explanation of why we build, why we make: Rowan Moore's Why We Build: Power and Desire in Architecture (*affiliate link). In the following quote replace 'architecture' with 'making' and 'buildings' with 'art,' 'crafts,' 'food,' whatever you make:
"Architecture starts with desire on the part of its makers, whether for security, or grandeur, or shelter, or rootedness. Built, it influences the emotions of those who experience and use it, whose desires continue to shape and change it. Desire and emotion are overlapping concepts, but if 'desire' is active, directed towards real and imagined ends, and 'emotion' implies greater passivity, describing the ways in which we are moved, architecture is engaged with both. Buildings are intermediaries in the reciprocation between the hopes and intentions of people, in the present and the past. They are the mineral interval between the thoughts and actions that make and the thoughts and actions that inhibit them."
Simply put: making connects us to our world, to those around us.
"Projects shared online become inspiration for others and opportunities for collaboration. [I]deas shared turn into bigger ideas. Projects, shared, become group projects and more ambitious than any one person would attempt alone. ...
The simple act of "making in public" can become the engine of innovation, even if that was not the intent."
-Chris Anderson, Makers: The New Industrial Revolution (*affiliate link)
Credits: All layouts designed by and images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life.
DISCLOSURE: For my participation in Cricut's Design Space Star competition, Provo Craft gave me a Cricut Explore. This post contains affiliate links, followed by (*affiliate link). I feature products that I own or that I am considering purchasing. I own all of the products included in the post. All opinions presented are my own.