- Every day in November make a thing – if you can’t do it every day then do what you can, but the idea is to push yourself to work daily and with less procrastination. Do not attempt to put your ducks in a row first.
- Try to make something extra – art, craft, code, robots, video… anything…( but not your lunch or a mess or something you’d normally make anyway) something different with methods and materials that you don’t often try. #makevemeber is not for promoting your ETSY or tindie page or your everyday work #makevember stuff shouldn’t be FOR SALE. Make something different.
- Don’t take more than a day to make it – if you only have 5 minutes that’s enough
- Use what you have to hand, limiting your choice makes it easier – if you only have some mud and a stick, what would you make? Paper and a pen, what would you make? If you only have the stuff in your waste paper basket, what could you make?
- Do it wherever you find yourself – working outside your usual space is good. If you find yourself on a train or plane, at the beach or in a hotel… what can you make?
- Share it online with a photo or video – Instagram/twitter/facebook whatever, you know what to do #makevember
- Be kind to yourself – it is more than okay to share something that is not going to change the world or that is a little bit squiffy or half-formed, even something that didn’t work.
- Done, is good enough – You’ve been locked in a room you have only what’s in your pockets and in the room and a short time to make something, ask yourself, what would MacGyver do?
So is this #inktober but making instead of ink drawing?
Yes, you got it! These daily challenges aren’t anything new and are great fun! I’ve seen it done and done well by lots of people some of whom I’ll mention later. #makevember takes heavy inspiration from Jake Parker’s #inktober, Jake wanted a challenge he says “I created Inktober in 2009 as a challenge to improve my inking skills and develop positive drawing habits.” he goes on to say that “…INKtober is about growing and improving and forming positive habits, so the more you’re consistent the better. That’s it! Now go make something beautiful*.” The same applies to #makevember. (* let’s just say subjectively beautiful as in…Yay! You did it, go you! Note this tweet.)
So where did #makevember come from?
I’m not sure there is anything new… yes, it’s been used before and even (I think) for similar work. This iteration of it and this manifesto came out of a conversation between myself and a guru of mine Richard Sewell (a maker known as Jarkman, famed for his spork making workshops, techno related projects and generally being a good egg and maker at large). Richard was telling me about our friend Libby’s Tumblr page makeathingaday.tumblr where Libby Miller (Bristol Hackspace, Radiodan, LibbyBot) has already started to challenge herself to make a thing-a-day… she told me
“I stumbled on Jason Taylor’s objects.blog and just thought – what a brilliant idea – I was really impressed that he kept on doing it for a year and that he wasn’t afraid to fail or do variations on a theme, or just bodge together something quickly, and some of them were fantastic (e.g. this and this “Spinge!”).”
Libby is our pioneer and has been going at making something every day for few weeks. She said.
“Having done it for a month or so now, the best thing about it is that you’re constantly looking at objects, thinking “what can I make out of that?”- it’s made me more observant (I’m sure this is true of Inktober, too), and more likely to notice the character of materials. I usually have a couple of possibilities in mind by the end of any day. I plan slightly bigger things for the weekend. I’m getting better at thinking of ideas and at bodging things together to see if they work. It seems to work best when I’m surrounded by my bits and pieces in my shed, but being stuck with nearly-nothing and no time is good too, constraints work well. I can’t over-emphasise that it’s ok to be crap too. Quite a few things I’ve done so far are failures, but I still learned something. People I know keep suggesting things, and I’m embracing that and crediting them!”
Richard added, one thing “…I love about these tiny, shoddy makes is that each one is playing with a single working principle or design idea. The need to make them simple and to make them quickly actually means they can be quite informative, setting up an idea in my head that might be part of a bigger thing in the future.” He went on to say that it reminded him of the pressure we (me, Richard, Libby and others) felt when exploring a daily practice of writing out 10-ideas, in the last 3 or so, you’ve run out of ideas… and when you are out there at the edge, that’s when the weird and sometimes best stuff comes to you. You are forced to think of something, anything… he said, “An effect I can’t describe very coherently – like finding the last couple of entries for a 10-ideas list, the pressure to find a simple-enough thing to make from limited supplies leads to a kind of stretching of the inventing muscles, finding not-obvious choices.” He told me that a friend of his David McGoran of RustySquids had described this sort of practice as “doing your scales” comparing how musicians run through drills and practices to improve their work. Its those sort of daily practices which help us in ways we maybe cannot imagine because at face value they don’t seem to be the sort of making we dream about.
A strong influence on me is the work of Martin Raynsford, who blogged about 365 laser cut projects for 365 days. When Martin and I worked together, I remembered how these iterations, each day took Martin from a laser cutting and CAD beginner to one of the most respected people in the hobbyist laser cutting world! It was those off days, where something new had to be thought of or something bigger was needed that really stretched Martin and made those design muscles and techniques much stronger. Literally like working a muscle, it only grows when it hurts.
For my part, I’m interested in mistakes, I’m interested in the learning that occurs at the edges of ability and what happens when we don’t have our usual, comfortable options. When giving the elevator pitch of this to makes, some say things like “Oh no, I’m away for part of November.” To me, that shows that they’ve already told themselves a story of how and what they make, what they make it with and where. #makevember is about taking ourselves out of those places, at least sometimes and seeing what develops at the edges of comfort.
So, please join me this November in pushing yourself to make things even make them badly, quickly, from whatever you have, wherever you are and then share them. Let’s #makevember.