Making is all about materialising creativity, making something real and tangible often from imagination, or perhaps building on and leveraging the creativity of other people's imagination.
Makers that have access to digital fabrication tools such as 3D printing have an advantage over traditional making techniques, as it can also enable the maker to make things previously not possible or accessible. to that maker. For example, a relatively inexperienced maker can use simple 3D modelling tools to create jewellery, which can then be simply printed — perhaps in precious metals — even using a third-party printing service. While that maker may not be skilled as a professional jeweller, nor have the appropriate tools, this technology has effectively enabled makers. Makers can also collaborate in their creativity by sharing 3D models and pooling resources online. For many years, makers globally have been enriching the collective ecosystem for many years so that makers today need not start from first principles. Today, we explore what it is to be a ‘modern maker’, today using the digital tools available and contrasting this against what we previously categorised as “craft”, which is effectively the offline version of ‘making’, and has traditionally had a higher representation of female makers. What are the differences? We make the assertion that to some makers and crafters, the 3D printer is the sewing machine of the 21st century, and ask if the term “making” as we know it today is simply a masculine term given to what we once would have associated as craft. If consumer 3D printing technology is appropriately marketed, would we see an increase in female representation using this technology, as a technology that has already demonstrated its capability to enable its user’s creativity?
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