Makers: take this survey and help with a master's thesis on making

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I thought about joining in, but none of the categories fit my projects, for example, a giant electromagnet that can drag airplanes from the sky.


Thinking of sending this to my Dad, who is totally a maker but objects to the label. He was raised in an environment where bodging things together out of plywood and discarded appliances was just what you did, and seems to view the “maker movement” as hipster johnny-come-latelies.

He once passed by a dentist’s office as they were taking an old dentist chair out to the garbage, and promptly loaded it into his truck and turned it into a highly adjustable living room recliner. It was nice.


There was no answer in question #7 that worked for me, at all. I had to leave it blank.


What answer were you looking for?

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Creating or increasing the utility and/or aesthetic qualities of physical and conceptual objects is a pleasure in and of itself. I don’t do it for social reasons, I do it because I enjoy doing it.

Imagine I asked you why you eat chocolate, but I didn’t allow the answer “because I enjoy it” or “because it tastes good” - you have to choose only from “because I have issues with the color brown” and “because it helps me fit in with the crowd” and “because fish are so scaly.”


Yeah, I thought at first that I would be helpful and participate, because I’ve always been a person who makes things.

I was confused about the survey at first. The title of the survey is Understanding the Motivation of Makers, and it says the overall purpose for the study is determining the motivation behind making. (I can tell you lots of reasons why I make things!) ** But the survey is actually about understanding the motivation behind involvement in the DIY or Maker community, which I’m not involved with.

Cool study, though, I hope he does well with it!

** Edit—and the title on this discussion thread is “Makers: take this survey and help with a master’s thesis on making” which was the first thing I saw about it–so that’s probably why I thought it was about making itself, rather than about participation in a community.


The survey seems uninterested in the enormous number of people who actually make their livings creating things. Just in the film & theater world are many thousands building sets, props, costumes and technical gear. I would not call them “makers” or DIY, they’re both a little demeaning to professionals. They’re fucking CRAFTSPEOPLE!! It’s a long and honorable trade, not “arts & crafts”. Just because trendy people just discovered “making” doesn’t mean there haven’t been people “making” all along.

My favorite ever HGTV show was called Modern Masters. 3 profiles per 1/2 hr episode of craftsmen making unique objects, mostly for the architectural trade. There was a guy carving 20’ roped columns out of trees with a chainsaw, and woman making exquisite stained glass. Craftsmen, not Makers.

I’ve always preferred the label “artisan” myself.


I felt Self Improvement was closest for me. I do derive satisfaction from doing something slightly better than the time before.

But even when I was absolute garbage I still created, so it isn’t a great reason. It’s almost like the third or fourth reason, not the primary one. (Why do you make? TO MAKE! :D)


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