Tuesday, April 13, 2010
DIY // MMM-L
When you're really into something, a movement built around a set of values, say, that totally jives with you, it can be easy to forget what it's like for people outside that circle. Take DIY. I've been participating in the DIY/craft online community, in one form or another, since late 2006, so that by now, so much of this stuff is second nature to me. And while I'm perfectly aware that the graduate students around me don't share this ethos, sometimes I forget how deeply ingrained my appreciation for DIY has become.
In Anthro class, for example, we spent a lecture discussing how people from other cultures don't always use their personal life stories as subject in daily conversation. Instead, they might bring up a myth like an Indonesian version of the Cinderella story [this one has a cow for a mother ... long story], and through the myth, or through talking about specific objects or animals in their life, obliquely be referring to themselves, their life histories, or their current circumstances. Afterward we had a discussion about how we might do this in our own lives without realizing it [using objects to tell a story about ourselves], which immediately got me thinking about DIY and how this question takes on a whole new level of significance when you think about the objects that you, yourself, have made, and how a handmade object can be revealing about ourselves, our life histories, and the stories or images we choose to present to the world.
And I realized how foreign that idea would probably seem to most people in the room. The very idea of "making" feels really far off the radar. Just like many counterparts in the working world, a number of my classmates gladly make the economic/time tradeoff between buying food and making food, for example, and while I'm not judging that decision because I definitely make that tradeoff as well, just on a lesser scale, I think it also overlooks the "process" part of the equation.
Sure, handmade takes time and may not save much money, depending on what you're doing. From a strict "outcomes" perspective, there's a strong economic incentive to just outsource every aspect of your life and consume your way to fulfilling your needs. On the other hand, the rewards that come from the process - creativity, relaxation, the joy of doing something you believe in, learning new skills, becoming more self-sufficient - really cannot be overlooked. I think our society needs to stop giving short shrift to these 'intangibles'!
When I read about the "Me-Made-May" challenge, I knew I couldn't take on the full-blown challenge ... because I've only ever refashioned one blouse in my life, and there's no way I'd manage another couple in the days we have until May! But I can definitely do a Me-Made-May-Lite and wear one handmade or refashioned item daily [and I'm expanding this to include handmade-by-others, because there are a couple items that I love and want to be able to wear in May]. I kind of already do this, maybe 4 days out of the week? I definitely wear something thrifted or handmade almost daily.
So up there, you're looking at the basis for my wardrobe in May. I'm pretty excited. I don't know that I'll get my act together to make anything else before then, although I'd like to [and this tutorial is awfully tempting ...]. If I do, I'll definitely keep you posted.
Anybody else up for the challenge? A Lite version, in terms of your own choosing?