I rarely troll WordPress’s “Freshly Pressed” page, but for some reason jumped over there today, and I can’t even remember what I was hoping to find. What I did find was this post from The Holborn: Ten Lessons From a Maker by David Hieatt, Hiut Denim Co.  The words “lessons from a maker” immediately caught my attention, because I come from a family of makers (my sisters are writers, painters, do ink and pencil drawings, illustrations, graphic design, make books, knit, crochet—I could go on—and we inherited these interests from both parents, who are also makers). As I’ve gotten older, I’ve struggled with ideas of vocation / career, unsure about my academic choices (just got a MA in English/Poetry Writing) and work choices, because I have always preferred to work with my hands, to create something that I can see, that’s beautiful, or to work actively/physically to manage or repair something.

But I live 2013.

Now, “making” / manufacturing jobs are massive, industrial, and—often—overseas. The people I know who have somehow managed to start a business that makes things are uncertain about their futures, and that’s an understatement.

In 2009, I decided to open a shop on Etsy, a huge online marketplace that specializes in handmade products and artwork. Since I was working another job, I only had time to post the leatherbound journals that I made (and continue to make) a few times a year, but it was an outlet I needed–and still need.

I need to make things, to touch materials, feel their textures, and know that hours of my life were spent in making something beautiful. The name of my shop / business, Good Work, is a phrase taken from a collection of essays by Wendell Berry: Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community. “Good work” means (hope I’m remembering this accurately) the work that humans do that takes time, takes care, is useful as well as beautiful, and costs more, because it is outside of the ruthless (and, much of the time, shoddy) economy controlled by massive corporations, their advertising budgets, and enormous workforces. I wanted to be part of that scrappy rabble of people who do good work. Not because I can afford it, but because I must afford it. Good work ties people together, shortens the distances that technology continues to impose between people in communities, and teaches people how to care for themselves and their resources.  As Wendell Berry would have it, good work is one of the hopes of our world.

I could go on about all this–how full of gratitude I am to be employed by a family-owned organic farm, to have my hands in the soil, in the washing water, in the fresh-ground cornmeal, to be physically part of raising life from the ground—but this post is supposed to be just an introduction to this link I posted by David Hieatt. So yes: David Hieatt is a maker, too, a doer of good work, and his list advice (and encouragement!) for other makers is so needed. All that to say: if you’re a maker, or are interested in “making,” take a few minutes to read this post.

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