Why is Making by Hand Important to You? Join the Conversation

Why is Making by Hand Important to You? Join the Conversation

Shortly after I started working on Making a Life, I attended a maker weekend co-hosted by the Makerie  and Sweet Paul magazine. During spoon-carving class, I met Barbara, a Wall Street financier, who explained she had been attending this annual event for several years. The gathering and the friends she made there were, she said, her creative lifeline. A few weeks later, via email, I asked Barbara why making by hand is important to her. She responded quickly:

“I create with my hands because I’m afraid if I don’t, I’ll lose my true self. Creating helps me deal with the injustices of life, both the factual and the ones made by my own insecurities. I create with my hands because I need to see and smell (yes, smell!) loveliness, color, texture, aroma. I need to run  my hands in wool; smell colored pencils, oil paints and linseed; prick my fingers with pins; thread a needle time and time and time again; rip back; cast on; erase; trace; doodle; and sketch. My crafting teaches me patience, to see the beauty in everything, to look at people, to look at myself, enjoy every line and crevice. I believe patience is perseverance and there is something extraordinary in the ordinary.”

Struck by Barbara’s thoughtfulness, I immediately reached out to the online maker community and posed the same question. I received about a hundred responses in a few weeks, and that enthusiasm and interest gave me the boost I needed to move on with my project confidently. Please check out many of the responses below. And, if you like, add your own. This is such a fascinating conversation. Note: It’s also happening on Instagram with the hashtag #makingalife.

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  • May 20th, 2016
    Michael Cook says:

    I make things because I feel whole and engaged while I do it. That’s the process part – I love doing it. I also like the product part – the fact that I can make things that express in some way a unique aspect of my personal experience – something that I noticed, a thing I dreamed, a feeling, an imagination. I weave, and draw, and embroider, and make silk from cocoons; underneath, they all seem to me to be connected to one another, just different expressions of the mind coming through the hands. I can look back, and not only do I see a drawing or a ribbon or an embroidered image, but I also see a moment in my life, crystallized and expressed in physical form.

    reply
  • May 20th, 2016
    Lise Wilson says:

    I make with my hands because I must. I feel more satisfied and happy when I am creating things. I knit, play the piano, cook, draw…. I have to be creating something in order to feel ‘right’. If I am idle, I am unhappy or pensive. I have to feel productive. I don’t like to just sit and do nothing. Even when I was just watching my kids play at the park, I felt that I needed to ‘do’ something. For me, I want to make something useful and beautiful. Knitting fits that bill for me. I also love molding things with my hands, cooking, playing the piano – anything that creates (even if it just sound). I just need to use my hands to make something. It is more of an inner need than anything else. I am happier and more satisfied if I am creating. Even at the beach, when sitting on the sand, I will build sand sculptures (albeit poor ones) and castles, just so I can Make something or change something around me. I am in my 50s and have been this way ever since I was a young girl. I used to be the one to get into trouble for making mud pies (or sculptures) when I should have been sitting waiting…

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  • May 20th, 2016
    Yuvinia Yuhadi says:

    I make things with my hands because I can’t bear not to. My life feels empty when I’m not creating things, like there’s something missing. I’ve been this way my whole life, always trying out new ways to make things, from painting to cross-stitch to baking and paper craft. It wasn’t until I discovered knitting when I was 16 than I truly relaxed because my hands were always occupied with needles and yarn. Sadly around 4 years ago I moved back home to a tropical country, so there’s not much use for knitting here and I do hate to make things that aren’t useful. After a bout of period filled with playing with makeup, I discovered leathercraft and haven’t looked back. Unfortunately leathercraft is nowhere as portable as knitting, and it feels wrong for my hands to be idle when I’m watching a show, so I cast on for a scarf last night which will be put to good use when I visit Australia in a few months. I’m in my late 20s, and time seems to past quicker than ever. I make things with my hands, beautiful and useful things, because they feel like a legacy to me, something to mark my time on earth, no matter how insignificant.

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  • May 20th, 2016
    Donna Druchunas says:

    I make things because I don’t know how not to. I can’t imagine a life without making things. What do people who don’t make things do? I make things because that’s how I change the world in a real, physical, observable way. I can take a thought and magically turn it into an object in the world. I make things because I come from a family of makers. To not be making things is to be dead.

    Donna Druchunas
    Knit, write, draw, cook, spin, dye
    50s
    Barton, VT
    http://www.sheeptoshawl.com

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  • May 20th, 2016
    Martha says:

    My name is Martha and I live on Vancouver Island, BC Canada. I have made things by hand my whole life. As a young child it was mud pies and forts. In my teens I made my clothes, bread, knitt (from my Mother) and learned to spin and weave and dye, and have continued these ever since. I helped built my house, grow food. Most of the food I eat is from scratch. Why do I do it. Well the first part is it was ingrained into me as a child. However my sister did non of this. The reason I do it .. I am connected to the earth, I know where and how things are made. I have a curious mind. Time shifts when I do something myself. The pace I go allows me to examine and think about the project at hand and really become part of that. I become in the moment. Slow and steady. Marvel at what can be created.

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  • May 20th, 2016
    Dara says:

    I make things to fuel myself, it is as important as breathing to me. I do tend to give my creations away, and I like to think they give the recipient a little piece of my heart. My job is very non creative, and if I did not have somewhere to express myself I fear it would pull me under.
    Dara Bell
    Knit, Crochet, cook, sew
    49
    Collegeville, PA
    hotpnk67@gmail.com

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  • May 20th, 2016
    Chris says:

    I make with my hands because I believe that you can’t step into the future without knowing what was in the past. It makes me appreciate things more because I know what it takes to make a yarn, bolt of cloth, etc. Whether the item turns out fantastic or just good, I know I’ve put my own effort in it and take pride in that. Out of 9 children, I am the only one making things by hand, like my mother did. She baked, sewed our clothes, knit our mittens, crocheted, quilted, etc. She was always curious and willing to try new handcrafts, so am I. I like that. Chris, Age 62, in Hilbert, WI

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  • May 20th, 2016
    Charlotte Haas says:

    I make by hand because it gives the complete control over a project from beginning to end. I’m a fiber artist. I start by choosing the fleece of sheep that I know were raised ethically, and control every step of the process from the chemicals used to clean it and dye it to the thickness of the yarns spun.By the time my project is knitted or woven, I’ve had my hands on every step. I know exactly what’s in that garment, sometimes including the name of the animal it came from. It makes me happy.

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  • May 20th, 2016
    Maja Siska says:

    "As I am spinning wool into yarn, making a spiral, I connect with the raw material, with my environment and I connect with 30.000 years of spinning history.
    Grasping the yarn with my hands I am also grasping it with my mind. A deep level of understanding and connectedness is reached. I am but a small part in a big whole. This connection automatically leads to caring, it creates empathy for the surrounding, the planet, the universe.

    Living in big cities, in manmade surroundings, consuming processed goods, growing up indoors, in artificial landscape, in front of computers and TVs, we are no longer “in touch” with the natural environment. The connection is lost. When this connection of the individual is lost, there is no understanding, no respect, and no empathy: nothing to stop the pillaging and destruction of nature. "
    (part of a statement I wrote for an exhibition)
    Maja Siska
    Iceland
    40s
    spinning, knitting, felting, painting, basket weaving, gardening, cooking
    http://www.skinnhufa.is

    reply
  • May 20th, 2016
    Anett Vég says:

    I create with my hands because it keeps me sane…Seriously, though, it keeps me connected… to the future and just as well, or even more to the past. Not only to my mother and granmother, but to those before her probably up to the first neolitic woman, who figured out that if she twists the hairs of an animal together it becomes stronger, and then started to make yarn…In all its spiritualism, representing the twists and turns of life, the spinning of the thread of life, the weaving of the fabric of our faith, it all goes back to one central point,
    Moreover it offers a point in my life that is certain, where I can co back no matter what. That keeps me grounded.

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  • May 20th, 2016
    Anna Walker says:

    I make things with my hands because I was created to create, and NOT creating is wasting my time, talents, and purpose.

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  • May 20th, 2016
    virginia scholz@gmail.com says:

    I am a person who likes to understand the mechanics of things-how they work, how they go together. As a child, I was taught many crafts and encouraged to explore them-more guidance then exact instruction. I learned to help my parents build things with power tools when I was in grade school. As a teen, then adult,I created for fun, thrift and the ability to have unique items. My grandmother took woodshop in her 70’s and made me (then in grade school) a rocking stool-turned legs, shaped seat and rocker, which I still have and treasure. When I inherited a beautiful quilt that my great grandmother made that included scraps from clothing made for my mom when she was a tyke. As an adult, I am now in possession of family treasures, both textile and furniture, including a spinning wheel that has been in the family since at least the early 1800’s. Yes, I am a multicrafter. It brings me enjoyment and makes me feel a connectedness with my forbears. I make to gift. Sometimes I make because it fills my need to be thrifty. I have rebuilt stairs and re-upholstered furniture and cars. I’ve made hats (sewn, crocheted & knit) for the homeless. I’ve sewn bathing suits and formal gowns. I’ve done alterations in order to bridge the gap between paychecks. I spent 25 years working in the tech sector, supporting and testing hardware and software. My brain would deal with numbers, facts, standards, and deadlines. While I work in a different field now, it is still thought intensive, with very little opportunity for creativity. I think making gives me balance. I know it brings me joy and serenity.

    virginia
    50’s
    build, garden, fiber and needlearts, beading, upholstery
    caleo.scholz@gmail.com

    reply
  • May 20th, 2016
    Marjie Hill says:

    Hi Melanie — my name is Marjie, and making is important to me because it is one of the very foundations of who I am. Even as a child, with nothing more than the trees, brush and empty lots around my home, I made stuff. Placemats made of eucalyptus leaves held together with little sticks; trenches dug, then covered up to create tunnels. Secret spaces cleared out of sagebrush; a purse made out of an oatmeal container. Embroidery on my jeans and drawings of my favorite animals. My grandmother was a gifted artisan who made jewelry, shoes, hats, and nearly all of her clothing, including knitted suits. My mother was a quilter, painter, and paper mache artist. It is just so ingrained in my life that I cannot function without making something with my hands, even as arthritis tries to steal my abilities.

    I am in my 50s, and I live on the beautiful central coast of California. Right now, I paint and draw. I sew and knit. I make letters and calligraphy. Always on my mind are gardening, dyeing with plants, and fermenting foods. You can see more of what I do on my Instagram feed @marjiebh, my brand new Facebook page (Marjorie Hill Art) which is still a work in process, and check out @itagstudios on Instagram for some images of collaborative work with my business partner, Ressie Fry (a gifted woodworker).

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  • May 20th, 2016
    Linda Maisonneuve Miller says:

    In the bloodline, I believe. My dad built our house, repaired cars, and built beautiful furniture. Farm kids!

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  • May 20th, 2016
    Jennifer says:

    Making things – in my case, fiber crafts like knitting and spinning – remind me that not everything has to be electronic, modern, and 21st-century. Yes, I LOVE my computer and my connections to people around the world, which I wouldn’t have without modern technology. But I love the fact that when I work with fiber – when I spin the wool that my sheep provide for me – I am connecting to my ancestors. I am practicing crafts that used to be a necessity for survival – and keeping these crafts alive for future generations. I find a great deal of peace, solace, and satisfaction in working with my hands.

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  • May 20th, 2016
    E of J&E’s Homestead says:

    I come from a long line of makers and when I read 1 Thessalonians 4: 11-12, I knew it was how I was threaded together. My husband and I began J&E’s Homestead many years ago as our answer to that call. We raise alpaca, bees, chickens and rabbits, and make what we can from what they give us. I have sewn, knitted, crocheted, scrapbooked, formed stained glass goodies, but most recently began spinning the fiber from our alpaca. I love it all. The pace is peaceful and thoughtful. The product is beyond any value. No one makes anything like I do, because they aren’t me. Each piece is as unique and special as I am, and there is a story that no one else knows to tell. Just me. No one else has seen the raw product through my eyes and known what I see, except me. Everything I make is a piece of me. E, 34 y/o, Heath Springs, SC.

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  • May 20th, 2016
    Pagan C says:

    making things by hand is important to me for many reasons, I weave, card(tablet) weave, embroider make clothes and naalbind, it connects me to my mum who taught me to sew and knit as a kid, We are a family of hands on people my brother is a carpenter by trade my grandad was a dab hand at making things. I love to make beautiful things using historic methods as these are crafts that will die out, in a world where everything is made to last for such a short period of time. I spent the last winter embroidering a project inspired by the opus anglicanum embroidery and can appreciate the value of such work all the more
    When making I find I can silence the chatter of my monkey brain and sit within a peaceful silence, important to me as I stuggle through this mad dash world

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  • May 20th, 2016
    Stacey says:

    My name is Stacey and I’m a 36 year old mother of three that is a stay at home mom and dyer of all things at thoroughlythwacked.com. I dye, knit, crochet, cook, ferment, garden and can all the things in my pacific Northwest home in a suburb of Portland, Oregon. I started making by hand because I want to teach my children exactly how much work it takes to make something. It’s OK to buy a sweater at a big box store but understand how much work went into that. We buy our vegetables from a local farmer and I take my kids to the farm to pick up the vegetables so that they can meet the farmers and understand where their food comes from. I feel that this helps us stay connected and truly value what we have in a society that can be overly wasteful and disconnected. When I sell my dyed yarns and Fibers at a festival I truly enjoy connecting with the end user. In short. I create with my hands because it makes me and the people around me happier.

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  • May 20th, 2016
    Karla Moore says:

    Why is making with my hands important to me? Because I CAN! With all the mass produced plastic junk in the world it’s nice to know that true craftsmanship still exists. If we don’t keep the crafts alive and pass them on, they will disappear. I’m a 56 year old woman from Central Iowa. I cook from scratch. Spin handspun yarn. Knit, crochet, weave a little. I can and freeze homegrown produce and make/sell handmade soap. Give me a dutch oven and wood to burn and I’ll cook you a fabulous meal.

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    1. May 25th, 2016
      Stephanie says:

      Yay, central Iowa! I’m in Des Moines 🙂

      reply
  • May 20th, 2016
    Carson says:

    I make by hand because it helps me find the eye of the storm. When I knit, I seem to fashion order out of chaos, three dimensions and texture out of a line, rhythmic progress out of anxious bits of waiting time, and a chance to choose my own tack amid life’s random demands. The chaos is still there, of course, but when I am knitting I can see that the trick is to know yourself in its midst; maybe riding a tide, maybe standing firm, maybe flexing like bamboo but still whole. My moving needles confirm: I am here, I am capable, I am whole enough.
    Carson

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  • May 20th, 2016
    Diane Garland says:

    Making by hand is important to me because it connects me…to those who came before and had to make what they needed in order to survive. It connects me to those who will continue making by hand long after I am gone. It is beauty, meditation and fulfillment.

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  • May 20th, 2016
    Sharon says:

    I taught myself as an adult to knit and crochet because I thought I should know how. Now I enjoy making things by hand because there’s always more to learn and because I appreciate seeing change take place as I work. (Not always progress; sometimes it’s better to rip back and redo.)

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  • May 21st, 2016
    Melanie says:

    I can’t recall doing things any other way.

    I grew up in a family of makers. My father was a NASA aerospace engineer, and my mother was a university-trained educator. Both of my parents appreciated a hand-made gift much more highly than one that was store-bought. Things that my sisters and I created were valued, displayed and used as a matter of course in our home. Consequently, for me, making was an especially strong statement of how much you loved or were loved. I still feel that way.

    My interests lie primarily in the field of fiber arts – spinning, dyeing, weaving, sewing with a bit of woodworking and jewelry-making thrown in. I like using color and am more courageous now that I am 64 and don’t really give a fuck about other people’s opinions much anymore.

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  • May 21st, 2016
    barbara says:

    i make because it makes me feel alive and connected. i am a painter without a studio now, so i paint with yarn. when i wear something i have made, it feels like i am part of the long history of making, of humanity.

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  • May 21st, 2016
    Steven says:

    I make with my hands because I am human. It is what we do.

    Wood, blacksmith, weaver

    Steven -50

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  • May 21st, 2016
    Veronica says:

    I make with my hands because in building my small world, I hope to affect the larger one. I can look at my hands and say, "Wow, it’s cool that I made this". I work in my head most of the day and it’s nice to have something tangible. Also it makes me a super hero ;o) I am 48 and I currently knit, spin, woodwork, sew, garden, cook, bake and I hope to add more skills in the future.

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  • May 21st, 2016
    Amelia Lily Kelly says:

    I make with my hands because it started out as something I did with my late Grandma. She taught me to spin yarn at age 10-11. It has now grown to be part of my life. It’s something that I may take a break from for lengths of time but always come back to. Even now she she is gone, I contunue to spin using her spinning wheel. It will always be her spinning wheel not mine.

    I spin yarn using a spinning wheel, dye fabric/yarn/fibre, crochet, know basic bobbin lace, contemporary dance, paint, photography (digital mainly, trained in basics of both) and basic felting. Interested in sculpture, digital painting, alternative drawing techniques, weaving, jewellery and music.

    Final year Bachelor of Visual Arts (Painting) at University of South Australia.

    22 years old.

    amelia.kelly.13@facebook.com best contact if needed as no current email for public use as of yet.

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  • May 21st, 2016
    Jen says:

    Making is a way to create memories. Making is a language that allows me to connect with others. My knitting friends (both in person and on line), my friend’s kids, and my family. Being an introvert (INFJ, which is less than 1% of the population, thank you!) having this secret language is really helpful. I do not consider myself overly creative or artistic. Most of my crafting skills are so-so (except for knitting, I guess I’m good at that) but that’s not why I craft. I’m never going to have those perfectly set Instagram shots on my feed. My feed is messy, in the moment and what I’m actually doing because that’s how I roll. In that end, that’s what making is – it’s being messy, trying new things and just letting things go. And, for us Type A people that’s probably more valuable than therapy!
    This is an excerpt from a blog post I wrote on what making means to me and the entire post can be found at https://jenknittingaround.wordpress.com/2016/03/19/the-makers-year/
    Jen, 44 years old in Cleveland, OH. I can be reached through my blog or at jenknittingaround@gmail.com

    reply
  • May 21st, 2016
    Jennifer says:

    My reasons for making have changed over my lifetime – as a girl I emulated my mother (sewist, knitter) and grandmother (a quilt maker and embroiderer). I loved playing with materials – fabric, threads, buttons, ric rac,, ribbons, et al and felt pride when I finished something – the more complex the better. As a young adult I sewed all my clothes, made household items, including quilts – practical, but still each item was one of a kind. I learned to weave and watching a fabric come into being. Now as an older maker of things (I’ve recently learned to spin yarn, and I hand dye yarn, fiber and fabric – which I use in quilt making) I enjoy the hands on creative pursuits as a balance to the more cerebral day-to-day tasks of my full time employment. Spinning and knitting require an ‘in the moment’ attention – and is my form of meditation. And I’m thrilled by each new technique I learn, and as proud as I was as a girl with what I complete.
    Jennifer, CT, 62

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  • May 22nd, 2016
    Cathy says:

    "Why is making by hand important to you?" …….. because for me it is like reaching back and shaking hands with time, history and tradition all at once.

    Cathy in Devon, Alberta, Canada – 51yrs old retired ex-army, spinner/knitter/processor of natural fibres, historical needlework reproduction, wood whittling, reach me at armydentalchick@hotmail.com, Ravelry: armydentalchick

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  • May 23rd, 2016
    Lisa Winer says:

    I make with my hands because it is a means for expressing my true self. Paint and pencil are the tools that take me on a journey that at the same time is mine alone and that connects me to the larger world. The physical act of standing in front of a canvas and using brush and oils to convey emotion nourishes me in a world that is often stressful and demanding and too cerebral. With paint and pencil I take my heart and put it out into the world.

    Lisa Winer
    San Francisco, CA
    age 49
    painting and drawing
    contact: 415/912-9921
    lisawiner@earthlink.net

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  • May 24th, 2016
    Amy C says:

    I make with my hands to connect to people, the world of ideas and dreams. I make to keep myself sane and calm the itchy restlessness that plagues me if I don’t have something in my hands. When my hands are busy, my mind can be at peace, thinking, talking, listening, exploring, learning, reading…
    I knit, sew, bake, and cook. I’m nearly 60 now, and making has been an essential part of my life as long as I can recall. I live on an island in Maine.
    Amy Calkins
    k1teach2 on Ravelry
    Amylcalkins@yahoo.com

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  • May 24th, 2016
    Laura Abrahamsen says:

    I make with my hands in order to have a tangible connection to the world around me. Much of my paid work takes place between my brain and a comouter screen, and making with my hands brings me back to my self, my body, my heart and soul. My craft joins me to the work women have done for millenia and reminds me that everything I wear or use to stay warm spent time in someone’s (or many someones’) hands before it reached me.

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  • May 25th, 2016
    Wendy Ward says:

    Making by hand is important for me because it’s how I express myself, it’s how I keep my values for the world around me and how I maintain respect for other makers. Making by hand calms me; I breathe more regularly and more deeply when I’m making, I’m more aware of my body and my posture and I think differently – things that might previously have been problems, I’m suddenly able to see from a different angle and figure out. When I make by hand I listen to the radio, podcasts and music, which relaxes and educates me and keeping my hands busy while listening somehow enables me to listen much better. Things that I make by hand are stronger and last for longer, partly because I have a greater respect for them and I want them to last longer. Making by hand enhances my experience of the made world that I live in and has made me endlessly curious about how and why things were made and who made them. I also teach sewing and dressmaking and have seen the positive effects on my students which I wrote about here: https://wendyward.wordpress.com/2016/01/28/is-sewing-good-for-you-my-qa-for-this-months-love-sewing-magazine/

    Wendy Ward
    Brighton, UK
    40’s
    Sewing – mainly clothes making
    post@wendyward.co.uk

    Good luck with your project it sounds like a wonderful thing to be working on.
    Wendyx

    reply
  • May 25th, 2016
    Barbara L says:

    HI Melanie,
    Good question and I loved reading all the other responses. Thank you! I am an art teacher at a private school in NJ. I have to laugh because the new goal of our school and many other schools across this country is to create a maker space. This new movement wants kids to learn hands on skills for how things are made. Sweaters are not made in Macy’s; the knitting was done or at least designed by someone. Now I learn that they are looking to fill our maker space with high tech machinery, like 3D printers and laser cutters. That is so against what I think of a hands-on experience. In my art room (the old fashioned maker space), we don’t use equipment to build our sculptures or paint our canvases. The art comes out of the minds and hands of my young artists. Yes, a 3D printer is cool and fun to watch, but the machine is doing the creating. Your lovingly carved spoon says it all. That picture brings us all back to our connection with the world and who we are. Working with our hands is unique to the human experience and is so satisfying to the mind, the spirit and the creative urge that exists in all of us, whether we take the time to realize it is there or not.

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  • May 25th, 2016
    Betsy says:

    I make with my hands for many reasons, but here are my top three. 1. Because I can. My hands work, so I enjoy putting them to work. I delight in knowing that they create things that bring other people joy! 2. Because it makes my heart happy. Making my little stitched affirmations has made my heart sing again, which is what it did when I first started working with fiber. 3. Because it makes me dreamy. And therefore dream up more and more things that I want to see, find, and introduce to the world.

    Betsy Greer, 40
    Durham, NC
    Embroidery, knitting
    betsy@craftivism.com

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  • May 25th, 2016
    Cheryl Kuczek says:

    I make by hand because I would not be if I did not create. It pours out of my soul from inside out, and fills me with great joy. Then I started a business with it….had & have so much to learn about making a business with your passion. And now this creating is a great source of pride as well because I believe I have something to share with the world of other creators. My heart grows when I can inspire others & even more so with the little ones.
    This opportunity to be an teacher is to grow with one’s self in so many ways, I love to celebrate that what others make too…it is the good will that grows this creator bonding network. And to answer the question of life that I ask myself everyday…."What do you choose to do with this"? That in itself gives me direction for that day.
    Cheryl
    54
    sewing, jewelry-making, painting on walls, drawing, fabric design, multi-media
    cheryl@paradisodesigns.com

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  • May 25th, 2016
    Buffy says:

    I make with my hands because making is like meditation for me. When I am doing my craft, I not only focus on thread and fabric and pattern, I focus inward and find calm and rhythm and time and space that feels harder to harness when I am not making. Making connects me to myself and to the world around me. When I am making something that will be a gift, I meditate on the person that will receive it as a way of honoring them with my time. I imagine them them enjoying it, I reflect on our relationship, who that person is to me. It feels very personal. I make as a practice, as a discipline as much as a creative outlet. Making makes me feel whole and wholly myself.

    I am in my 40s. I live in Asheville NC in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. I sew and quilt. During the day I manage a criminal defense law firm.
    buffyh_6 (AT) yahoo (DOT) com

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  • May 25th, 2016
    Kate G says:

    I make with my hands to be human with all the flaws that state of being entails. When I knit, or sew, or bind a book, I am in and of the world. I am not tethered to a machine. I am not a thing in a row of things. I am just me. In my 60s, living in the valley of the Silicon revolution, I am following thread attaching me to life and life to me. Let’s call this making Resistance. personal(at)okaykate.com

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  • May 25th, 2016
    Jane says:

    I make with my hands because I always have. Because it has become part of my identity, keeps me sane when life is.. well, being life… and because I become tetchy and restless if I don’t. Making with my hands provides balance and calm, an outlet for my busy brain, a rhythm by which to create order and have control. Making with my hands connects me with my past, with my mother and grandmothers especially and my memories of them and so helps to keep them alive. Making with my hands was a long neglected need and one so precious that even now I sometimes forget that it is a necessity, start to see it as a luxury and neglect it again. But without it I am quite simply unhappy and so much less able to deal with everything else. It is not what I make, but that I make that matters. Jane, mid forties, sewing/textiles pollywhistle(at)gmail(dot)com

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  • May 25th, 2016
    Stephanie says:

    I make with my hands for 3 main reasons: 1. It gives me purpose. I love staying at home with my 2 young kids but it is easy to feel stuck a la Groundhog Day in the rhythm of eat, clean up, eat, nap, referee, eat, sleep. Creating tangible goods not only gives my brain something to think about, problems to solve, and skills to learn it also leaves me with something that clearly indicates this day was productive, unique, and meaningful. 2. It gives me freedom. I am free to reject what stores offer and make exactly what I want – whether that is a shirt without any polyester fiber content or a pink monster truck shirt for my son. 3. It makes me feel good. Looking down at an embroidery project I’ve made headway on fills me with a sense of pride and happiness – the exact opposite of how I feel when I look down and realize I’ve been scrolling on Facebook for half an hour 🙂

    Stephanie – Iowa – 28 – Sewing is my favorite but I love dabbling. Both 2015 & 2016 I’ve worked on a "try something new every month" project for making, on my blog, Swoodsonsays.com, so it’s been fun having others join me in trying sashiko, block printing, needle felting, etc.

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  • May 25th, 2016
    Kat Beddoes says:

    When my hands are busy, my mind can be at peace. And this is why I make things!

    Kat Beddoes
    Doll Artist/ Sewing Rookie/ Loopy Loomer 😉

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  • May 26th, 2016
    Lauren from Molly and Mama says:

    Melanie, I LOVE this question! You just inspired a whole blog post. Thank you! http://wp.me/p694nd-K6

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  • May 26th, 2016
    susan olsen says:

    Excellent question. I just lost my Dad in January/2016 and my Mom in Dec./2013. As my siblings and I are in the process of cleaning out their house we are sharing and distributing family items. The pieces that I find appealing and desirable are the items that contain their handwriting….letters, recipes, cards, etc. Those are the items that, to me, are a part of them and they are pieces that I want to keep with me. I hope one day my children will treasure the things that I made by hand…because they really are a part of my heart and soul.
    Sue – Ohio – 60 – drawing and painting and a few pieces of counted cross stitch.
    http://www.suzenart.blogspot.com

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  • May 26th, 2016
    sharlene says:

    When babies are born, they explore the world by touch. They learn and grow because of this sense. I work with my hands because the act of making things keeps me grounded to our world. The simple act of making opens up all of my senses. By experiencing the crafting process, I think more deeply about the materials, about the value of time and resources, I appreciate the skills of the others around me, I really "see" the textures of things. To me, making things by hand is a kind of genuine superpower – you are more resilient, you see with special eyes, you think on many planes, and it comes with its own secret super hero costume and accessories. You can be the mild mannered co-worker sitting at your desk by day, but at home you can build, sew, paint, write with your "by hand" superpower something that makes the world better just a little bit.
    Sharlene from Brisbane Australia, 45, a sewer and lover of fabric, sharlenepjm@gmail.com

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  • May 26th, 2016
    Jibimol t. george says:

    Hi Melanie ,
    I am from the eastern part. I reside in UAE .But Iam an Indian citizen.I thank God for being a creative person.
    When I do , make , paint, sew,crochet (beginner), draw , arrange the room or just do something creative ICANNOT EXPRESS THE JOY AND CONTENTMENT I HAVE AT THAT TIME. It cannot be compare dto the internet searches or watching movies or something related to media. I enjoy that quiet time with myself enjoying everymoment . I believe that God created us with his hands. The same way each one of us has that creativity that flows from our hands. Some days i cannot stop doing those things. even watching a movie i will hav emy crochet needle a nd yarn in my hand completing my project. This years my goal was to learn crochet and knitting. i started knitting but iam more interested in crochet . I completed 4 projects. . I want to learn more on handi arts . all the best to your project. thank you. God bless all your efforts. my email id- jibiben@yahoo.com. my age is 38 yrs.
    jibimol t. george

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  • May 26th, 2016
    Dorothy says:

    In part, I make things as an act of rebellion. I resist being just a consumer who exists to buy the mass-produced items that are on offer. I feel contrary and counter-cultural when I make my own cleaning and beauty products, knit my own socks and sweaters, and sew my own clothes. And of course it’s immensely satisfying and mentally stimulating. It keeps me from becoming depressed. It makes me content to be who I am. How does it do this? I think it has something to do with being a physical being who is shaping physical objects for my own use and pleasure.

    Dorothy, 50’s, Canada

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  • May 26th, 2016
    Emily says:

    I create for a few reasons… one is I like the sense of control. Not that everything turns out the way I intend, but with kids and a full-time jobs, so much is beyond my control. What I make is under my control.
    I also feel like creating helps me capture the passage of time. I make a lot of quick sewing projects, but I have some big quilt projects in progress that will take a long time. And I feel that even as my days fly by, often one indistinguishable from the next, this quilt will emerge. I might only have a few minutes to work on it each day, but over the days and months those minutes add up. I will have a finished quilt one day to help me remember those days that went past.
    I also really like wearing a shirt that I made, and knowing that no one else on earth has one exactly like it. 🙂
    Emily, 30s, Wisconsin

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  • May 26th, 2016
    Chris says:

    I create with my hands because it’s second-nature to do so; I’ve been drawing & painting since around age 3. When immersed in this activity, the rest of the world falls away, time is irrelevant & peace reigns like at no other time.

    In addition to drawing & painting (various media – so many, so little time!), I enjoy embroidery, sewing by hand/machine, home improvement projects (from straight-up painting to faux finishing to finely hand-painted detail (including murals)…the prep is so gratifying!), fixing things (you name it), preparing a good meal, etc., etc.

    Also – I am one of the few (that I know of) who still hand-writes letters, although not with a quill & ink pot.

    Thank you for doing this.

    My name is Chris, I am 61 & live in Novato, California.

    My e-mail: cgrogan55@gmail.com

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  • May 26th, 2016
    Vanessa Lauria says:

    I love getting in a creative flow and the feeling of losing time. I love knowing that I’m weaving a scarf line by line, sewing something together piece by piece or creating a recipe ingredient by ingredient. There is always room for experimenting, adapting mistakes as happy accidents. I’m leaving my mark, creating something that didn’t exist before and can now be a conversation starter, provide colorful inspiration, make someone feel good about themselves.

    I’m living in upstate NY and in my 30s. My favorite types of making are weaving, knitting, quilting, gardening, cooking and playing with natural dyes. You can reach me at vanessa@hellopidgepidge.com.

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  • May 27th, 2016
    Leanne Parsons says:

    I make with my hands because it’s like a reset button for me. I work with small children all day and that demands a lot of attention and patience. Quilting allows me to replenish all that is taken out of me in the course of a day. Getting into the ‘flow’ state where I don’t really pay attention to the passing of time relaxes me and helps me stay sane. Not only that, but quilting (unlike laundry or dishes or cleaning up toys) stays done!

    38 year old mom of 3 (ages 14, 12 and 8) and daycare provider for several 1-5 year olds. I quilt and sometimes cross stitch. I’m also experimenting with garment sewing.

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  • May 27th, 2016
    Griselda says:

    When I conjure up my “creations” it feels like magic. It doesn’t matter if at the time I am painting or drawing, or if I am working with glass, metal, or polymer clay, or if I am knitting, quilting, sewing or hand embroidering. The medium is not important, I enjoy all of them and it seems that they all give me the same satisfaction. The common thread is that I am working with my hands, and that those hands take what was just an idea in my head a few days or weeks before and forms these materials into something beautiful, or useful, or both. I make with my hands because it brings balance, peace, and joy to my life. It brings order out of chaos. It takes me out of my head, where I tend to analyze all situations and to have an opinion about just everything that happens either near me or somewhere else in the world. Making with my hands dissolves worries and brings immediate calm and comfort. Stress just melts away. It connects me to a realm of life that seems otherwise inaccessible: a place without boundaries where the possibilities are infinite. Making with my hands has become an essential part of who I am. It has helped me navigate life. Making with my hands completes me.
    Griselda, from Miami, Florida, 58 years old, email: griseldaT@comcast.net

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  • May 27th, 2016
    Eileen McKenna says:

    I create with my hands because it bring me joy. Joy is the perfect word to describe the feeling I have when I finish a watercolor painting, an illustration, or fill a page in my sketchbook. Almost 10 years ago I got back into drawing by taking a class. I had my first success with a drawing of a bear and when I held it up to show my husband, I felt like a proud little kid showing my mom my picture and saying, "I made this!" Since then, I’ve tried hard to stay committed to creating. I started my blog http://www.mycreativeresolution.com to move away from classes, pursue my own inspiration, and mainly to hold myself accountable to creating regularly. I literally get a frustrated, pent up feeling inside when I haven’t created recently. Drawing and painting releases that. It makes me feel accomplished and calm. As a web and print designer, I spend a lot of time creating on the computer, and I love my work, but It isn’t the same feeling as creating by hand.
    Eileen McKenna, age 46, New York
    Watercolor painting, illustration. Current passion – surface design
    Lidesigner@yahoo.com
    http://www.mycreativeresolution.com

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  • May 28th, 2016
    Diana says:

    I began making things when I was about 11 years old. My mother had purchased a roll of 3inch wide, pink lace at a bazaar. I think she intended to use it to lenghten too short clothing for my sister and I. It laid around for quite a while. One night when the family was away I decided to cut the lace into strips and sew them together crosswise. I added elastic to the top and had made a half slip. When my mother returned she was overjoyed at what I had created. She told me I had "golden hands" and I believe that I have been trying to live up to that description ever since. In particular I love to make things from discards. I call it making something from nothing. I feel very special when, for example, small pieces of silk tie samples are sewn together as patchwork, then sewn into useful objects like carryall bags. Lately, I have been felting leftover yarn. I enjoy the magic of the colors melding in unexpected ways. Then, based on the size I hand sew the pieces into useful bags. I am in my 70’s now. I expect to be "making" as long as I am cognizant.

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  • May 31st, 2016
    Marlaine says:

    I make things by hand because its fun and I think its pretty magical to turn things like yarn, fabric, paper, thread, etc. into finished items that are beautiful, useful, and meaningful. Plus its really neat to have things that are one-of-a-kind and express your individuality and/or your love for someone else (or your home in the case of home goods!).

    Marlaine, from upstate New York, 59 years old and my favorite type of making is fibery – mostly knitting but also crochet, stitchery, quilting, weaving, and spinning.
    marlainedeschamps@gmail.com

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  • May 31st, 2016
    Robynn Weldon says:

    Oops, I posted a wordy reply on my blog and forgot to share with you! Here you go.
    http://www.studio-miranda.com/blog/2016/5/why-i-make

    TL;DR – I knit because I don’t know how not to knit.
    (Robynn from South Africa/London/Switzerland, 40, pervy yarn fancier)

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  • Jun 1st, 2016
    Anita says:

    Making by hand is important to me for so many reasons. It is carrying on a tradition – in my case, quilting. It calms me down when I am upset and cheers me up when I am sad. Quilting allows me to comfort other people, even people I have never met, when I donate a quilt to a charity. I have also given quilts to family members fighting cancer. It allows me to leave heirloom gifts to my children in the future and to wrap them in warmth and comfort in the present. My quilts will hopefully still be here when I am gone from this earth. Quilting is a skill I have taught and continue to teach to my children. My son is 11, my daughter is 7 and my youngest is 20 months and she will learn too. I hope this will become a skill that they cherish as I do and it will bring back happy memories for them. Making quilts is also an important creative outlet and source of pride for me as well. I am in my early forties. I can be emailed at anitalahay [at] shaw [dot] ca My blog is: http://www.daydreamsofquilts.blogspot.ca

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  • Jun 1st, 2016
    Anita Nelson says:

    I make things with my hands for a number of reasons, first of all it soothes and calms me. This has become more important as I get older, (I’ll be 60 years old in a week!). I also enjoy making something for others, putting time into something for them as they have contributed their time to my life. I’ve been making things all my life, I guess I come from a stubborn "I can do it myself" mindset. My mother encouraged me to learn to sew and that’s where most of my creativity has landed. I like to sew because you can get up and walk away from it. I like to sew, iron, prep and then repeat. I find this cycle of activity has the perfect balance of mindless work versus concentration. I mostly make quilts or quilty type projects because quilts like shoes and purses never let me down, when I try them on they always fit! My name is Anita Nelson, I live in Texas and at the moment I am still 59 years old! I don’t blog but I do have a website for my retail gardening business; http://www.nelsonwatergardens.com

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  • Jun 2nd, 2016
    Claudia says:

    I make things with my hands because it lets me feel creative, when I’m really not a very creative person. I work in accounting, which I enjoy, but it isn’t very tangible or creative. Making things with my hands lets me produce something that can be seen and touched. It allows me to focus on only the task at hand; it can be meditative, relaxing, challenging, exciting and sometimes frustrating. Most of what I make with my hands serves a purpose – a scarf or sweater for warmth & style, a tote bag for books or knitting supplies, a bar of soap that smells great and is good for my skin, handmade birthday cards that let the recipient know I remembered their special day. Making things with my hands lets me feel useful even when I’m watching TV or traveling. Thanks for letting me share.

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  • Jun 2nd, 2016
    Claudia says:

    Sorry – didn’t follow all the directions! I just turned 57, I live in Iowa, am married and have 3 grown sons. I’ve knit for many years, have recently gotten back into sewing and am learning how to make cold process soap.

    I also forgot to mention that making things lets me feel connected to my grandmother, who died when I was very young. She was a crafter – sewing, ceramics, home decor, knitting, crocheting – she taught my older sister who then taught me.

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  • Jun 5th, 2016
    Summer Larson says:

    Hi Melanie — Terrific question, especially as making with our hands appears to be on the rise in this age of technology. I believe that there is a type of knowing in our hands that helps connect mind, body and spirit. It is almost as if we can access a deeper part of ourselves through the touch of hands and creative activity. I have been doing things by hand my whole life, primarily with yarn, thread of fabric. Most recently, I have become a tapestry weaver, a very slow medium dependent on use of the hands. I love every aspect of tapestry weaving, including the processing of yarn into skeins, winding with the yarn running through my fingers, dyeing, and the weaving itself. The tactile component of using my hands is very important to me. I even prefer to hand sew or quilt items because it uses my hands in a way that is different than using a sewing machine. I play the piano, as well, and although the tactile sensation is different, the experience is very similar to creating with my hands. Using our hands seems to ground us in the present moment, as well. Can’t wait to read your book!

    Summer
    weavingelements.com

    Summer

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  • Jun 6th, 2016
    Stephanie says:

    Hi Melanie,
    This is such a great question and my response probably echoes what many of the other commentors had to say. I have always made things. From the time I was little I was always creating little doo-dads and projects with paper and glue, fabric, found objects, etc. I come from a family of makers so it’s either a learned thing or it’s in my DNA (I prefer the latter!). As an adult, I’ve found that the act of making is comforting and, at times, very meditative. More recently I’ve begun to see making things with my hands as a way of circumnavigating the many frustrations we face in this life. There are so many things that we can’t control and we often trudge through life feeling unseen/unheard; but making things brings a sense of satisfaction. Even if the things we make aren’t perfect, they are still tangible evidence of something we put our unique imprint on. Making things with our hands encourages us to slow down and to be mindful – something that our digital culture is frequently at odds with. Those are the finer points. Ultimately I make things with my hands because it makes me a happier and more content person!

    I am a 43-yr old quilter and mixed media artist living in Baltimore, MD. I also blog about time management, productivity and other topics that affect creative people at: http://www.creativeandmindful.com. stephanie [AT] creativeandmindful [DOT] com

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  • Jun 6th, 2016
    Bart Soutendijk says:

    I make large metal wall murals out of heavy steel wire – also known as light metal rod – about 4 mm in

    diameter. People are amazed when they find out that I bend the metal by hand. I could program my

    computer to make them using water-jet technology, or use an automated wire bending machine, or a 3-

    D printer, but I’ve chosen to do it all by hand.

    I make the art by hand because I’m lazy. Working with my hands is harder so I do less of it and the

    resulting murals are less complex. I’m sometimes amazed that I actually did something that interesting.

    An image that took up many lines when I started flows into one line that is more expressive and looks

    more like the subject I’m drawing.

    Forcing myself to do more work to complete a project – working by hand – makes me use my intuition,

    my “System 1 thinking”, and puts me “in the flow.”

    I do better work because I work by hand.

    Bart Soutendijk
    bart@wirewallart.com
    http://www.wirewallart.com

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  • Jun 7th, 2016
    Joy says:

    Thank you for making me pause to think of why I make with my hands. My making is knitting, and has been for over 45 years since I learned at my Mémé’s (grandmother’s) knee at age 9.

    It’s my love language. No one else in my family knits. I show my love in selecting the right yarn, the right pattern, and thinking of the recipient as I knit. My love to my community is in the hats and scarves I knit for refugees, children, and the homeless. Great love to my grandchildren, who appreciate getting a special "Mémé, can you make me a …?"

    I have osteoarthritis. My doctor has encouraged me to knit as long as I can to hold it back.

    And I often joke that ** it keeps me out of the bars!**. There are addictions and alcoholism in my family. That mine has only positive results makes me realize how lucky I am that I haven’t succumbed to other addictions.

    Just as I changed my name to Joy on my fortieth birthday, I’ve made some choices to make myself a better person. Knitting often and with love.

    I wouldn’t be me without knitting.

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  • Jun 10th, 2016
    Robin says:

    I am 59, newly retired from a long career as a social worker. I have been ‘making’ as long as I can remember and mostly with needles – knitting, tatting, embroidery, machine sewing, felting, etc. – with fibers and fine wire. My mother taught my first skills. When I was working as a therapist (and other social work jobs), I thought about the knots in the lives of my clients and tatting was a way to think about how to undo as well as make knots (if you have ever tatted you know what this is about!). In many ways the making made be a better social worker because I took the time to think.

    I ‘make’ now as "organized fidgeting" – to center myself, to offer a way to contemplate life, to make pretty things to give away, and to quiet the noise in my head. It also continues to challenge me to find new ways to express myself and to integrate the variety of techniques and skills I have developed. Making has also given me a community of other fiber artists with whom I share the fun of discovery and to adventure!

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  • Jun 30th, 2016
    Kelley Martin says:

    I am 51 and have been making by hand as long as I can remember. I make by hand because it connects me to the object made, the process, those that had no choice (my pioneering predecessors), and those that will benefit from the making.

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  • Jul 8th, 2016
    patricia don says:

    I make with my hands because many years ago I suddenly became very ill and was not healing and noone could figure out what was the matter with me. I had up to that point in time been very physically active and was at a loss as to how to continue living. One day in my doctor’s office the words that came out of my mouth were "I know if I would create, I would heal. That day on my way home I went into an art store for the first time in my life. I bought water colours and began painting and as I did memories from my past began to surface….then I kept getting poems calling me to the ocean to heal and I listened and moved to nova scotia. One day I walked into a store and it turned out to be a weaving studio….I was amazed and started learning to weave and to spin.I discovered how tactile i was and found the motion of weaving to be very much like rocking a cradle.. I was still very weak but this fed my soul. At that time the maritime women introduced me to knitting, rug hooking and quilting….It became a very spiritual time for me as it connected me to women in my ancestry who i had never known. When i placed my first woven shawl on my shoulders, i began to weep and weep and at first didn’t understand and suddenly i realized i was feeling all the sadness of the women in my ancestry and healing was takig place in my family line. one year i injured my shoulder and could not continue knitting so began to make dolls with all the stitching on the outside and nothing was hidden…i made a series of them and each one brought to life what was happening within me. i work intuitively by hand and it helps me to realize the beauty within me that had been untapped for a long time and the many other emotions that had been holding me back from healing. today i cannot imagine a day without using my hands to bring to life the unknown…it brings me peace.

    i design my own socks and mittens using many different textures and colours as i go along. It feels like painting with yarn. One of my dreams it to have a group of women from all different cultures come together and do handwork for the conversations among women doing this together are extraordinary.

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  • Jul 8th, 2016
    Eleanor says:

    I have always enjoyed sewing and needle work; I learned to cross stitch at 8 and in high school embellished all my bell bottoms (oh, the early 90’s…) The older I get, the more I enjoy the physical process of it, the repetition that leads to something beautiful and useful. As a mother, so many of the things I do for my children are ephemeral; when I make a doll or a blanket for them, its a tangible, long lasting statement of my care for them. My grandmother was crippled by polio, and when her legs stopped working for her, she put her creative drive into what she could do with her hands – cooking, playing bridge, doll house miniatures, and heirloom sewing. Now that she is gone, I treasure the hand smocked dresses she made for us. I make with my hands so that the gifts I give, the blankets we sleep under, the clothes I wear, and even the potholders I use are a unique expression of my personality and of my feelings for someone. As a mother, preschool teacher, and Girl Scout leader I have always tried to pass on to a generation that is used to everything being available online that there is more satisfaction in designing and creating something for yourself than there is in just purchasing it, even if your’s seems flawed. I have a small sewing business, and I count myself blessed every day that I am able to make money doing something that feeds my soul. I also love that my children see me sew (and my husband play music) and know that your hobbies, begun for your own enjoyment, can benefit others and that a creative life is not just a possibility but a necessity.

    Eleanor, 30’s, North Carolina

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  • Jul 8th, 2016
    Jennie says:

    Why do I create handmade items? I’ve made things since my children were small. Being an at home mom, which was not a popular thing 30 years ago. So I started sewing special dresses, ornaments, cross stitching, and having art project for my children to make after school. I went to work in the school where my children were once they were 10 and 7. Then 8 years later I was no longer able to work because of an illness. Art was my life saver. I started to venture out into other media, glass mosaics, carving print blocks, sculpting with polymer clay, drawing. My family and my art is truly my lifesaver.

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  • Jul 28th, 2016
    Leslie Petrovski says:

    Dear Melanie,

    I collect hands–earrings, statues, Christmas ornaments, hamsas, works of art–as a reminder that creativity lies at the heart of my life. Whether I’m typing, playing the flute, making soap, cooking, beading or designing on the needles, bringing something to bear in this world that didn’t exist before is so essential, it’s like breathing. Making is a place where I succeed and fail and fall and laugh. It’s a metaphor for life. It is life. There is no not making. So I surround myself with hands as a reminder of who I am.

    Leslie Petrovski

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  • Jul 31st, 2016
    Karen Considine says:

    I make things with my hands because it makes things special. They are unique and infused with love. In this busy world, precious time is the ultimate gift. The things I make with my hands and time are truly from me. It may be cookies I’ve baked with lemon verbena from my garden shared with volunteers building a wooden tall ship, vodka I’ve infused with pineapple and presented with a hand printed ribbon or the fruits of me & my tamale sisters at Christmas time. Knitting in the sunshine of Palm Springs with stunning mountains or on a bright summer day in Swedish archipelago, I believe some of that beauty, serenity and warmth are incorporated into the knitted piece and passed along to the recipient. Making with my hands is for me a way to explore and satisfy my curiosity. It provides me a sense of accomplishment. It’s a wonderful way to share my time when a group activity or show and share my love. It absorbs me and that focus is therapy for my mind that is always running.

    Karen, 50 something in San Francisco

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  • Aug 2nd, 2016
    Amalia Morusiewicz says:

    When I have no words, either from great joy or great pain, I return to the needle. The repetitive piercing of sharp metal through soft fabric, is much like putting one foot in front of another, a small step, but an important step. Words are Not Enough, this is why I quilt.

    These are my words above but I wrote them years ago and posted them to my website last year. The connections we make with our hands and creativity are very powerful. As you might guess, I also love creating with words. Something about the connections we make as humans, that brings great joy to me. Thanks for asking!

    Amalia "FUN from AtoZ" Morusiewicz
    Mitchellville, Maryland (nearest big city is WashingtonDC)
    Age–3dozen plus1bakersdozen
    FUNfromAtoZ.com
    AtoZ@FUNfromAtoZ.com

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  • Aug 4th, 2016
    Sue Flanders says:

    Why do I do Handwork?……..I love it! Immersing my hands into any project brings me great joy. It doesn’t matter what I am doing – pottery, woodcarving, knitting or weaving; I am happiest when I can use my hands to make something. I find satisfaction in the slow process of revealing the final product by touching; handling and working the raw materials into the desired form. I appear to have a tactile need to experience things through many different media. My day would not be complete without some type of handwork, (and a piece of chocolate). Sue Flanders, Age 55, kilnsofflanders@gmail.com

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  • Aug 4th, 2016
    Laura Vanoni says:

    Making by hand grounds me and is a wonderful way to express my creativity in so many different ways and mediums. I love solving problems during the creative process and it makes me proud that I know that when I am creating I’ll always find a solution that will please me. In creating by hand I have found the freedom that I can do things that only have to be okay with me and don’t have to work for anyone else but me. It’s kind of a regeneration from my demanding daily life where other people call the shots. And if I decide to share it in the end it’s nice when you see that other people like the product of your personal creative process.

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  • Aug 5th, 2016
    Mary Madison says:

    Making things by hand is my salvation as I retreat into a world where I manage entry and only allow in those thoughts and feelings that lift me up, remind me to whom I am connected, love and appreciate. The inspiration for my book "Plantation Slave Weavers Remember" began one morning as I was in my weaving studio and wondered if an African-american woman, a slave, had ever felt the joy I was experiencing at that moment with sunlight streaming through the window and the soothing sounds from my loom comforting me. I needed to write this book for me as much as anything else. When I am weaving, I can retreat from a world that often gives a distinct message that I, and people like me, are less valued, less important, etc. I don’t often speak of it but the constancy of racially motivated dialogue, images and attitudes is very draining and I need all my creative energy to regenerate, to leave my sanctuary and go back to the real world, armor in tact. Making things by hand is my salvation.

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  • Aug 5th, 2016
    Ellie Lively says:

    I create with my hands because I enjoy the process. I am a quilter and I love the colors of fabric and the feel of it in my hands. I find pleasure in selecting the fabric and using it to make gifts for others which are unique and are a part of myself. I’ve done many things with my hands but quilting has been the most fulfilling. I’m 75and retired., the mother of two grownchildren and grand mother to four. I’ve been married to the same man I met at 18 for 54 years. I was born on the east coast but have been living in Indianapolis IN for 36 years. Elively@indy.rr.com

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  • Aug 5th, 2016
    Julie Turjoman says:

    A passion for handwork has sustained me throughout my life in profound, essential ways. At a time when I worked in a traditional office environment, coming home at night to my handwork projects was precious and inviolable time. Time, finally, for me to restore myself with work that was pleasure rather than duty. Handwork connects me to past generations of my creative family; to my long-gone mother, a painter and quilt maker, and to my grandfather, a lace designer and manufacturer. Knitwear design and writing are both creative outlets and a self-directed career over which I have more control than I’ve ever enjoyed in any other work. Knitting for others is an act of love that expresses the depth of knowing another individual’s taste, style, and color preferences. Gardening reminds me of where our food comes from, of the miracle of watching seedlings reach for the sky, and with a bit of attention feed me into the bargain. What grows in my little patch of earth makes me appreciate the flavors of slow-ripened food that cannot be bought in a supermarket. Making jams and preserves, like cooking a meal for friends, is a way to share that bounty. Handwork, to put it simply, is who I am. Every time I make something by hand, it’s an opportunity to learn, to explore the unfamiliar, to slow down and investigate something new, to fail. Handwork is more exciting and more satisfying than anything else I’ve ever done. If I couldn’t create, I couldn’t breathe. Possibly, I couldn’t live. It’s my raison d’être, my legacy.

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  • Aug 6th, 2016
    Susan says:

    I have always done handwork since I was a child. It started with not having idle hands in front of the television. Then I was hooked. I do handwork in cars, on planes, on boats and other places. It helps me to unwind. Some types of handwork are simple and relaxing, such as simple tapestry or plain knitting, others require focus to take my mind of things such as lace knitting and quilting. Handwork can energise or relax. I feel productive when I am doing something with my hands and it helps to remove the stress.

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  • Aug 6th, 2016
    Heather Powers says:

    It’s a calling! I believe we are all intended to connect with our soul through making things with our hands. There is something so grounding and satisfying about putting hand to earth (clay, wood, plants), fiber (plant or animal based-yarns, papers or fabric) or paint (synthetic or rooted in natural materials). We are all born makers, we just need to be reminded to practice our calling!

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  • Aug 13th, 2016
    sonja says:

    i make to see what i am imagining . that tiny kernel "of what if " that starts with picking up a scrap of of painted fabric and turns into something and along the way i experience NOW ! i make because a i am curious to stretch my imagination to the fringe of what if because that make me feel alive. i love to use the things, parts, around me to make rather than go out any buy more stuff.

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  • Aug 19th, 2016
    Alejandra says:

    I create with my hands because I love to see how I can create from cotton fabric pieces a quilt, working on it day after day, stitch by stitch I see how the quilt begins to show up, I enjoy how it can ask me to work more on it, how it can change from one day to another, and one day, it can tell me it is finished, it’s time to stop working on it, Then my hands know it’s time to look for a new piece of fabric to start over again to make a new quilt.
    I work on my own designs to make quilts, lately I’ve discovered how adding some embroidery to quilts, they are more personal work of my own, I’m a Mexican quilter living in the province of Quebec , Canad.

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  • Aug 26th, 2016
    Catherine Sweetman says:

    I make with my hands because its so, so, pleasing to see what I have made, and I love making for other people, something special for someone special, Its like giving a part of you, your time, energy, thoughts, a gift. I like the thought that there is now something in the world that was not there before and would not exist if I hadn’t made it. I like the fact that I can make and I can get better at it the more I do it. I used to rush and just want to get to the finished product but now I know the process is what makes the product beautiful. I am not a patient person but making slows me down and takes all my attention. I believe creating is part of us and needs to get out. Making is natural to me, just seems right. I mostly sew but gardening is just as rewarding, like painting with plants
    Catherine

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  • Oct 30th, 2019
    Elayne says:

    Grounding. Focusing floating in a new head space. Being a maker allows a shift in realities. It takes the everyday and extraordinary sadnesses of life to an elevated place where freedom exists. Connecting to our essential nature. Hands. Heart and. Mind working so seamlessly that time suspends and joys descend. Without making my mental health would not be intact. I make to save myself.

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  • Oct 30th, 2019
    Andrea says:

    I make with my hands because at the end of the day I need something physical/tactile that says I did something. I work in tech and munging data doesn’t end with a thing per se that I made.

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  • Oct 30th, 2019
    Helen says:

    As I make I feel connected to all those who did the same thing before me and will after me. It is a kind of ‘communion’. (without the wafer and wine…unless it’s drinks night, lol)

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  • Nov 2nd, 2019
    Rebecca Cornelius says:

    I like to make things with my hands every day because it makes my life full and content. My parents still tell me stories of all my childhood “projects” including making doll houses out of shoe boxes and sawing/painting wood in the garage. I am a visual arts teacher now and am lucky to witness the pleasure and joy that comes to a teenage girl when she makes something with her hands and cannot wait to give it to a family member as a gift. I teach ceramics and photography and make most every gift I give. Teaching is one of the best ways to spread my joy for making everyday!

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  • Nov 3rd, 2019
    Judy Browning says:

    In my family, if you want something, you make it. Not everything, but making is a step in deciding if it’s worth having. If a thing breaks, can it be mended? A mended thing is possibly worth more emotionally to me than bought thing. New techniques and crafts are exciting to acquire

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