What is the Maker Movement? Maker Culture Explained
You might have heard the term “maker movement” or “maker culture” pop up more and more over the past few years. Whether it’s attached to Pinterest projects, YouTube tutorials, or associated with a particular company’s brand, the maker movement has produced something of a renaissance in DIY creativity.
So what exactly is the maker movement?
What is the Maker Movement?
The maker movement is a growing cultural trend of DIY-style creativity focused on crafting and artisan pursuits including wood and metalworking, manufacturing, programming, cooking and homebrewing, cosmetics and fashion, auto working, and more. In short, the movement is a fusion of arts and crafts and engineering that incorporates technology, open-source learning, and community collaboration.
Maker culture exists largely because of developing technologies such as 3D printers, computer numerical controlled machines, and of course, the internet. Although many of these tools have existed for decades, they’re only now becoming accessible to hobbyists and small-time entrepreneurs.
While tools and technologies are key to helping creatives bring their ideas to life, what really makes this movement special are the makerspaces.
Makerspaces and Communities
Maker culture is, fundamentally, a community-based movement with an emphasis on collaboration and resource sharing. This allows makers to take advantage of educational resources and other opportunities through their community, which they otherwise might not have access to or be able to afford.
These communities, called makerspaces, are areas usually part of a broader (usually online) community that provides tools and educational resources for people of varying skill levels to learn and create projects of their own.
One great example of this is Inventables’ very own Easel software and community projects. Crafting enthusiasts are able to make 3-D designs on their Easel software and then use their X-Carve CNC Machine to carve their designs into wood, plastic, or other materials. They can then upload the design to Inventable’s community project section for other makers to download and carve themselves or use the design as inspiration to create something original.
The communal aspect can play a big role in the maker culture. Whether it’s lessons posted on YouTube, social media groups, university or local community clubs, there is something out there for just about any creative person looking to learn a new skill or hobby.
Access and the Maker Movement
Accessibility is the heart of the maker movement. Access to technology that was previously unaffordable like CNC machines and 3D printers, gives people the tools to create.
Access to learning resources like lessons and online project files, give them the tools to create.
And access to markets like Etsy allows people the opportunity to turn their skills and creativity into a new source of revenue.
Makers are able to sell their products online to earn a supplemental income. We are now seeing more and more people turn their creative side hustle into a full-time job.
Academic and government organizations have also encouraged the maker movement as a method of promoting STEM education. Many universities now have clubs that provide students the opportunity to dive into a hobby they love or learn something entirely new.
Many of us grew up putting together LEGOs, or Knex, or Lincoln Log sets. The childlike joy and excitement of working on such projects isn’t something that goes away in creative people. Although hectic schedules and the demand of day-to-day life may force many of us to prioritize other (less fun) things, the maker movement is allowing people to recapture that excitement and turn that creative itch into a fulfilling hobby and even a lucrative side project.
What skills you currently possess (or don’t), maker culture gives you the opportunity to expand on your abilities and create something truly unique while participating in a vibrant community of people like yourself.