Makers Manifesto

  • I can make anything I choose, even if I have no destination, recipient or use for it.
  • Making is a separate process from dealing with the finished, made objects.
  • I can make things from other people’s patterns, or from my own imagination, or combine them in whatever way I choose; it is still me making.
  • Making a thing is distinct from designing a thing – a design is just the beginning, it isn’t done until it exists in the world
  • I can use old or known techniques in my work without thinking I am repeating myself, or copying someone else
  • I can use new materials, media or techniques in my work and it will still be mine
  • Getting bored in the middle of the making is a thing that happens. In general, if I want the thing done, I have to find ways of working with or through boredom.

I struggle with all of these at different points. Right now the first one, the idea that the things I make have to be towards a goal of some sort, is haunting me. Banishing that thought is hard.

changing your point of view

Anyone walking over the bike path bridge this afternoon found a pair of humans with a lot of neon green parachute cord and a neon pink water proof case with a phone in it, giggling madly. My friend Matt (new to blogging, doing some interesting things with card stock construction) and I tied my phone in a pink water proof case and tossed it dropped it carefully off the bridge as close to the river as we could. We got it down near the ice, and near some open water off a different section of the bridge, and even right into the water in one place (it was dark. And not at all clear what we were looking at).

We made a couple videos too, but they have a lot of extraneous motion and are hard to parse. Also they take for.ev.er to upload.

Seeing the underside of the bridge, seeing the river up close, seeing the ice, and the surface – all those made me think about the river a little differently. Which means I can make some new art based on a different point of view.

Daily February 2022

It is two years into a global pandemic, but some traditions remain. It’s time for Daily Feb 2022. Make something every day, and post it to Instagram. Use the #dailyFeb2022 hashtag to see what others are doing. Comment on friends’ work, accept compliments on your own. It is a good time! I hope you will join me. Tell me you are participating! Friend me on Instagram (lee.thomson.art)! Hash-tag your work.

Past years have seen participants from Clever Manka and Jenny Crusie’s Argh people. People have done everything from finishing sewing projects to a daily painting (you can check the older hashtags on Instagram (#dailyFeb2021, #dailyFeb2020, etc.) to see what people have got up to.

Since we are doing something daily, picking February to start seems like a good plan since it is the shortest month. And when I say daily, I mean daily, no shirking (but also no beating yourself up) which is why we have The Rules, outlined and explained below.

In order to keep from being overwhelmed, we have Rules, and the Rules are:

  1. A Very Low Bar
  2. Very Clear Boundaries and
  3. Quantity Not Quality

Let me explain.

A Very Low Bar: The purpose of an absurdly low bar is to invite anyone and everyone to step over it, to prove, in fact, that anyone and everyone can step over it. Having stepped over it gives you a little jolt of accomplishment, which is a good thing, and encourages you to do it again. We are after that tiny jolt of encouragement that comes from doing the thing. That will propel you to do it again, and again, and again, which is practice. So choose something you have tools for. Choose something that you can set up quickly and clean up easily (or set up in a corner somewhere that won’t be disturbed). Lower the threshold for doing the thing as much as you possibly can. To that end, it is perfectly legit to lay in a stock of things before Feb 1 – like pre-cut paper, sharpened pencils, the paints for this February’s palette, or all the ends of sock yarn you have on hand. Get a little excited about this process!

Very Clear Boundaries: This is a lesson from Twyla Tharpe’s book The Creative Habit and reinforced by personal experience and even Orson Welles (“The enemy of art is the absence of limitations.” ) To this end, 1) you must put some lines around what you want to practice, and B) make that measurable. So choose a size, limit your palette, limit number of stitches you are knitting, limit yarn size, commit to buying nothing new, or using up all of a resource, do whatever you need to make the box you are creating around your project small enough to be a little constrictive, so that you can experiment with pushing at the edges without having to spend too much time finding the edges first.

Quantity Not Quality: To make that measurable, choose metrics you can see, and count, things that are strictly mathematical or true/false. Your metrics matter, a lot. “Make one nice picture” is useless because who says it is nice? “Use up all the paint I have” is a very good metric because you can tell when you’ve achieved it and also it is pushing you towards more using and making.

SO – What are you going to be working on, and showing the world? Brainstorm ideas here, and join us on Instagram Feb 1, 2022.