The Maker Series was meant to demonstrate how people in Revelstoke are connected to a global movement of consumer awareness around ethically made products.
From the beginning
DIY (do it yourself) aesthetic has been popular in several subcultures, including punks and anarchists, since the ‘80s. These groups share information with ‘zines and buttons. As the DIY idea moved on to other items like jewelry and furniture, what was once an underground signifier was pushed into the mainstream with an indie edge. Now we find ourselves in a full blown makers revolution. Different kinds of retail outlets like craft fairs, makers markets and pop up shops, are opening to support the Maker trend that has extended to clothes, furniture, food items, books and more.
What is it called when once you’ve learned about something, it creeps into your reality constantly and you notice it everywhere? The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon. Once I started talking to people about their interests and projects, I started seeing events all over the Internet in support of Makers. Like the Renegade Craft Fair that happens in several UK and US cities. They’ve been doing their thing since 2003. Then I came across Make It Productions who have been hosting Make It! in Vancouver and Edmonton since 2008. Selkirk College in Castlegar even had a workshop to teach people how to engage kids to learn by making things with their hands. My mom tells me she’s going to the One of a Kind show in Toronto. Then I watched this video where Mark Hatch says Etsy (an online store many of the Makers I interviewed sell their wares on) makes over $1 billion in revenue a year and today the industrial revolution is being driven by Makers. Whoa.
Get down with Makers
The Modern Maker is someone who controls the vertical modes of production, from sourcing material, construction by hand to branding and marketing. Business on a small, local scale is about having a diversity of skills.
The Makers I interviewed make stained glass art, jewelry, hoodies and kombucha and worked with materials like leather, wood, metal and yarn. These are only a fraction of the people making cool things in Revelstoke. There was one main common challenge in their stories. Each maker understands the inherent value of their products — longevity, uniqueness, quality, story — and price their items accordingly. But are all consumers on the same page? Be empathetic to higher price points, think of a handmade item like functional art. Supporting makers at fairs, markets, online or face-to-face is a mutually beneficial relationship and lends to a healthy (meaning no slave labor or environmental destruction occurs), engaged economy.
Anyone can be a maker and it means something to support a maker.
Mark Hatch from the video I mentioned before says, “I want you to make something for somebody special and give it to them and evaluate how that changed your relationship and changed the way you felt. And then you will join the revolution.”