There is a palatable want bubbling up throughout our culture as of late... it's this overwelming feeling that humans, as a whole, have moved away from our own humanity in a way. There simply is not enough time or space to really dig deep into the volumes of things I've heard in my classes across the country about how in this overly-connected world, how many people feel so unconnected yet, the solution can be summed up in four words... Making Together Connects Humans.
It is interesting to watch how the act of making together in a group manages to tether folks to not only the timeline but, to eachother as they share materials, ask questions, help eachother with an extra finger when a tight knot is needed on a close binding. As John Donne so lovingly wrote, "No Man is an Island..." Humans need eachother and making things by hand and transferring our skills are what keep our humanity in tact perhaps.
In thinking about this year's Maker Faire project, the idea of tying in our rural organic farm life into a skill to share project led us in the direction of leather work. We have wanted to teach this art form for many years and it seemed to be a natural progression from the metal work we did last year. As always, our project of the year connects back to our beloved Henry Ford Museum in some way...
Throughout the history of the world, the idea of mobility fueled the hopes and dreams of generations. People would pack up their everythings and set out away from what was known and familiar towards an unknown, hope-filled better. Those pioneering people used what was on hand to help them in every way imaginable on their journey and let their North Star guide them. In walking through the Henry Ford Museum, human mobility, by foot, by stagecoach, by boat, by car, by plane, by rocket... these artifacts and proofs of amazing journeys, all wear the handprints of makers. The leather work exhibited throughout the Henry Ford speaks of adventer but also of skilled craftsman who built things that were intended on lasting well beyond their own lifetimes... something that would connect to others even after they were gone.
My daughter once told her Great-Grandfather that he had a leather face... He said, "We wear our experiences on our skin child." This year, it is our hope that you will wear your experiences and use them to guide you in making and connecting with others.