SNAP! Blogger conference is a very special event for me but, not in the obvious way perhaps... SNAP! is a DIY/Lifestyle Blogger event held in Salt Lake City. On the surface, as a person who contributes to many blogs in a variety of capacities, one may think an event such as this would speak to that facet of my persona... it does, BUT... only on the surface.
As Designer for the Arts and Crafting Industry, my studio produces not only art, tools, and machines utilized by those who consume art and crafting materials, we also create content- volumes and volumes of useable, "pin-able", shareable, reteachable, retweetable, and filtery instagrammable goodness that, incidentally, finds its way into the hands of bloggers, and other amplified media channels. Truth be told, almost everything we create in our teaching makerspace is "ghostwritten" and/or what our industry calls "courtesy of" content... its a fancy way of saying, heard but not seen. Technically, if I do my job correctly, the only things you see are my clients and the crazy amazing products they have manufactured. This leads me to why SNAP! is SO very dear to me and why I love attending every year... I get to see first hand all the vibrant and bold folks who use the "stuff" I spend the wee hours creating in person. The crazy thing is, most of the bloggers I meet have NO idea that the content they amplify via their blog channels or the machines or art they have used in one project or another of theirs, were conceived in my studio. AND, because of the confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements I am bound to, I can never say a single word about it...
Watching something you've made in the hands of strangers and being used in purposeful and meaningful ways is a profound experience. It is a cosmic Pay It Forward and one of the greatest gifts any maker can have. The chance to use one's talents to make something another fellow human will in turn take up and make their own is like watching the tapestry of humanity being woven right in front of one's very eyes. I get misty Every*Single*Time too, I am completely gobsmacked by the absolutely unexpected and incredible things folks make when they set their mind to it... It is that magic moment when they choose to create for no other reason than because they can... like a bird that sings, there is no apology for the bold and vibrant use of a natural talent shared with the world... beautiful.
*Cues Bob Marley's Legend Album... Three Little Birds*
As an instructor, I watch those during the creative process from the cheap seats... one, because I am insanely curious and two, because it helps me learn how to be a better instructor and student myself. The hardest part of my job is watching beautiful spirits be crushed by the weight of their own insecurity, self doubt and proclamation that they are ill equipped or not talented "enough" to build something meanigful. It breaks my heart. I only wish that those folks could see what I see, that incredible brave that it took to walk in the door in the first place, the desire to be something more, the aspirational thought of a better self somehow extracting itself via the process... It is a death by a thousand self-inflicted cuts every time folks allow themselves to sit silent and believe the "why-nots and can't dos naysayers living in their heads" rather than sing... sharing that perspective, that voice, that crazy amazing talent that is SO incredibly uniquely theirs alone with the rest of the world.