Makers to the Rescue

Makers, Dreamers, Builders, and Inventors, Unite:

reflections on saving our world

“Perpetual devotion to what a man calls his business, is only to be sustained by perpetual neglect of many other things. And it is by no means certain that a man’s business is the most important thing that he has to do”  Robert Louis Stevenson.

Coup_de_poing_acheléen

Humans are, by nature, makers of things.  That’s how we deal with the world…  or did, until the Industrial Revolution tore us away from our connection with the earth.  Somebody is still making all the stuff, of course, its just outsourced and corporatized,  repackaged, and branded.  Strangely, the stuff that should last, like clothes, housing, or tools are generally poorly made and often unfixable while the junk that should be disposable is made from plastics that will endure for a geologic age or poison our descendents.  But maybe, with a little effort, it doesn’t have to be this way.

TheCordwainer

Today, instead of procuring our needs directly or through someone we know, we trudge off into an abstract man-made environment to be treated as children and told to perform an obtuse task or two or twenty.  And in exchange for giving up our time, we get slips of paper (or more likely, digits only readable to a computer on a plastic card) that confirm that we have performed our work and are now in a position to gather food, shelter, clothing, heat, etc. from a middle-man where profits are almost never seen by the makers.

FullApron

Hand Crafted Apron from THOSE WHO MAKE.

Creating things like fire, rope, or cutting tools, not to mention shoes or housing will baffle most modern people.  Weaving a blanket, sewing a shirt, or butchering an animal are simply out of the question for most of us in the western world.  Many of these activities will get you strange looks at best or a call to the authorities at worst.  This mindset means that most of us can’t feed or cloth ourselves any longer even if we really want to.

tailorMakers are the hope.  We’re out there.  Doing things and making stuff.  Fending for ourselves in an hostile but lethargic world of expected and nearly enforced consumerism. Once you realize the machine doesn’t work, you can realize it doesn’t really exist.

Most of my adult life, I’ve noticed an interesting paradox.  Typical wage-slaves who proudly give 50 hours per week to a faceless and unappreciative mechanism are convinced that the dreamers and the creators are just a bunch idlers and flâneurs when it’s, in fact the lifestyle that they really envy.  If it isn’t recognized as drudgery, somehow it’s not real work.  But how much do we really need to be happy?

hammock

As a side note, many modern philosophers trace this thinking directly to the Protestant Reformation when, as they claim, much of the fun was beaten out of life and holidays were things to be frowned upon.  But here I digress.

The internet actually gives me hope, especially seeing the wonderful documentaries of real craftsmen and makers around the world that are emerging from obscurity.  Maybe to many, Makers are just a novelty.  Something to be ogled at.  But knowing there are others out there looking for a deeper purpose and a better existence makes me feel a little better about humanity.

BicycleRepair

Repairing something is a first step toward making something.

Let’s be realistic; most modern folks wouldn’t opt to live as hunter gatherers as their ancestors did, but maybe we can reach a better balance with our lives than to adopt the imposed role as absolute consumers.  And hopefully conscience people can do some good things along the way.  Maybe by thinking outside the consumer mindset and choosing to build our homes, make our own socks and shirts, ride a bike, and hunt our meat we can make a difference by both our action and our inaction.

In the words of Samuel Johnson, “To do nothing is within everyone’s power.”

san

Remember: “An idle mind is a questioning, skeptical mind. Hence it is a mind not too bound up with ephemeral things, as the minds of workers are. The idler, then, is somebody who separates himself from his occupation: there are many people scarcely conscious of living except in the exercise of some conventional occupation”

Robert Louis Stevenson, idler extraordinaire.

stillWhy not go make something?  Your great grandparents did.

P.S. Pardon the Friday late night ramblings.  My disdain for the modern world is heightened at the end of a ridiculous week at work.

Ella Jenkins Tiny House

Deek has featured another fine home with some great photos.  I particularly like this set as the house doesn’t appear to be “staged” but is actually lived in.

Jenkins

I can’t wait to see more as promised.

JenkinsinteriorSee the rest of the photos HERE or just cruise the rest of the Relaxshacks site if you have some serious time on your hands.

A Feast of Gers

I save images from around the internet to serve as references and inspirations for projects and dreams.  I have wanted to build a yurt (ger) for many years now but never quite seem to get around to it.  Other projects spring up and I’m not desperate for housing but it is still something floating out there on the edge of my mind.  While looking through images, mostly from Tumblr and Flickr, I thought I would share some traditional  images I’ve found because I’ll bet I’m not the only one interested.  Prior to the internet, I remember very few people knowing what these were unless you were into Asian culture or alternative dwellings, but now they seem to have a great following again.  To me, they are a sensible dwelling with very low impact on the earth, can pack down small enough to haul all over the country, yet provide a spacious, weatherproof habitation.  If they are constructed of all natural materials there will be little trace when they are abandoned and nothing to overflow the landfills.  All of these images are reposted from elsewhere but I have tried to link them to the source where I found them when possible.

ger500

FlickGer

sunsetyurt

chinayurt

rusger

smallyurt2 smallyurt

dryingon the roof

Between the villages of Olgi and Altai in Mongolia

Between the villages of Olgi and Altai in Mongolia

novascotiayurt

tajikyurt

More good photos at the link.

More good photos at the link.

hunter

Xinjiang

Xinjiang

gerroof

yurtinalandscapetumblr_m5by2hR4D51rq8279o1_400Herder family moving their ger by truck Bayan Olgii Mongolia

settingup-ger

More good photos at this link.

roof and liner

china

Beautiful.  I love the cart.

Beautiful. I love the cart.

kyrgyurt

I’ll add more when I get the time.  Looking at the details fires up my urge to craft a yurt of my own.