I used to have a separate website: The Power of Making. I got confused about what would be there, and what here, so heaven knows readers must have been confused. Today the web host for PoM want me to renew: seems like a good time to move everything over!
Hi, I’m James Hardiman, and I’m passionate about how Making helps us to re-discover who we really are.
I went to the V&A to see the Industrial Revolution 2.0 exhibit, a part of the 2011 London Design festival. I hadn’t even known that the PoM exhibition was on. But I spotted the book of the exhibition, bought it, and had a “road to Damascus” experience, right there!
For some time I had been playing with various simple technologies that helped me to make stuff: Arduino, 3D printers, “Cartesian Robots” and so on. I had discovered the idea of the “Fab Lab” and Makerspaces and Hackerspaces, and was subscribed to Hack-a-Day and Instructables. But it was reading “Power of Making: The Importance of Being Skilled” edited by Daniel Charny that changed my life. It brought it all together for me. In particular, a quote from an essay by Daniel Miller brought tears to my eyes:
Because, truth be told, many of us would like to be involved in making things, but would have been quite useless at many of the tasks on display here. The only thing we might have made is complete failures. I recall endless humiliations when I couldn’t plane a piece of wood, failed to throw a pot, plucked the flowers and left the weeds, and was relegated to playing the triangle at school because I couldn’t even keep up with playing the recorder … The exhibition shows us fantastic constructions at which we gape in awe, but the reason I want a 3D printer is to make the things I would never have been able to produce otherwise, however strong my desire.
So, this website and blog is dedicated to all those, like me, who have suffered the “endless humiliations” of being “differently skilled” (read: “klutz”!) and have therefore been cut off from the delight that Making can bring. It will be a resource where I will document everything that I can find that will help people to recover their power, and to go out and make stuff.
There are plenty of other great ideas in the PoM book, but something else that means a lot to me is a simple test to help me decide whether some piece of art, or some piece of craft work that I am looking at has value, because along with failure of implementation, my personal history seemed to have left me with an inability to judge.
The simple recommendation in the book is that it has value if it can move someone to go “wow!” and “cool!” and “how did they do that?” and “I want one of those”.
So I hope to document here many things that evoke that response in me, and in others, together with cool ways that we can all produce artefacts that evoke that response in others!
Here’s one view of Making; perhaps traditional, perhaps invoking the reaction “It’s all right for them”.
and here’s another: