Crafting in the “Maker Culture”

Boulder-aprons-(2).gifA recent article in our local paper referred to Kevin Kelly as saying that a “third industrial revolution is stirring.” Kelly, editor of the 472-page book, Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities,” sees an increasing number of self-educateds and do-it-yourselfers who are building things in wood, metal and other materials. David Carr, who interviewed Kelly in the the New York Times, referred to the arising of a “so-called maker culture, a movement toward building real, actual things with our own two hands.”

Are they right? Of course, Waldorf education and LifeWays have always strongly valued handwork and crafting of all types: woodworking, metalworking, fiber arts, and so forth. The accompanying photo is of me helping students make aprons in the LifeWays Training. Parents and teachers in these programs have always been excited by the richness of the classes which include woodworking, doll making, felting, knitting, crocheting, to name just a few. And there is certainly a wealth of online resources for all of these activities, and more. So I would agree that there does seem to be increased interest arising in more than just “the Waldorf world.” Perhaps it is arising as a counterbalance to the virtual world of technology which takes up so much of our time? But I’d still have to call it a “subculture,” rather than a culture.

To provide a bit more background information on Kevin Kelly, he is the founding editor of the Whole Earth Review (which evolved from The Whole Earth Catalog) and also worked with the online zine, Wired. Cool Tools has been described as “a sprawling compilation of useful tool reviews that author Kevin Kelly and a thousand contributors wrote over a 10-year period on Kelly’s blog of the same name.” It is available from Amazon.

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