The Renegade Craft Fair, and indeed the entire Crafter/Maker/DIY community (I recognize I'm making a horrible overgeneralization. Deal with it.) challenges my ideas of what I'm doing here, particularly my very conscious decision not to try to integrate into one of the many DIY/Maker/Crafter communities out there. I see many examples of what I might consider Making, but not labeled as such by the creators. (Well, naturally, this is language basically nobody else uses.) Yet Making is more than at tool for separating the cute but stupid gimmicks from the work which is truly beautiful and useful.
The copout here is to call Making a "Design and Production Philosophy." This would be easy, and I could delineate many ways in which Making can be differentiated from other forms of creating. I don't need the exercise in ego gratification and I don't need to justify myself to whoever reads this blog. It might even be true to consider Making a kind of philosophy, but it allows, or even encourages, the positioning of Making in the familiar, and overused, realm of intellectuality (different from 'intellectualism' which is not only overused but becoming perverse). As a trained academic, having an intellectually defensible position is important to me. However, the intellect is not the only important tool in the pursuit of knowledge and truth. (Never mind hundreds of years of Western philosophy.)
When I am Making, the decisions and calculations that happen are not intellectual, indeed are hardly conscious. I work to tease out those decisions and the process of making them when I write here, yet the act of Making has almost nothing to do with conscious, intellect based thoughts. Though, in all fairness to my mind, once I decide what to do there is sometimes a fair amount of thought put into how to do it. This isn't the intellect deciding how to build a chair as much as it is the intellect evaluating which glues will hold the wood best after the proverbial gut has decided the design of the cain. Nevertheless, as my sainted grandfather told me, and my father has reminded me time and time again, people can rationalize anything. That is how this writing is made, as much as anything else, it is a process of rationalizing what were almost entirely irrational (here meaning without reasoning) decisions. Yet that need not imply nonsensical. Simply because my intellect was not crucial to my decision making does not mean that it was a poor decision (again, disregard popular Western epistemological beliefs).
The point here is two fold. First, Making, unlike much other work (at least, in my experience), is informed by, not lead by the mind. Second, and less obvious, is that any philosophy of Making will happen in exactly the same way that Making happens. It will emerge as if (or, for the mystic in me, literally) by divine intervention, may require some translation into what can be done, expressed and shared, but will emerge when ready. The language available to talk about our non-intellect based knowledge is impoverished. I am not sure that I do my thesis justice here.
Nevertheless, that struggle is very much of the purpose of this blog. To explore these ideas and present these thoughts as part of the process of Making an expressible understanding of Making.