My Dad, the Maker

You might know that one of my passions is the maker movement. I speak about makerspaces often, and I plan for my dissertation to be on the subject. Truth be told, though, I’m really not much of a maker myself. I mean, I cook, but going off-script, eschewing my cookbook collection, is actually out of my comfort zone. I’ve made baskets but it’s been more than a decade since I did that. I’ve sewn before, but I haven’t done mending in ages, let alone straight-up sewing. Oh well. That’s actually something I stress when I present on the topic – that you don’t have to be a maker yourself to have a makerspace. It’s about facilitating the work and creativity of others, and I definitely can do that. 

But the recent Make issue got me thinking. It has a piece about leathercraft. Leathercraft?!  My dad used to do that. He would order these Tandy kits and make wallets and belts and that sort of thing. It seems very 1970s-esque, so I was surprised to see it in the bible of the maker movement. 

And my dad did woodworking.  Turh be told, my dad was a little competitive and when my brother took shop class, my dad decided to take up woodworking. He made me a beautiful oak desk that I still have, and will always treasure. 

The epitome of his making was, of course, his house that he literally built with his own hands. When I became an adult and someone would tell me that they were building a house, I quickly learned that that did not mean that they were building it themselves, like my dad did with the help of his dad and sons, but they were paying someone to do so. Later, he remodeled the kitchen and made all new cabinets. Not buy, but he made them himself. Really fancy ones, too. 

You know, I still have those basketry supplies. Maybe I should get those out . . . 

RIP, Dad. The original maker in my life.