What makes a ‘maker’? Four makers explain

Towards a universal definition.
Adelle Lin rides an early version of Lovely, a robotic unicorn <a href=bound for Burning Man." itemprop="url">

Adelle Lin rides an early version of Lovely, a robotic unicorn bound for Burning Man.

(Courtesy photo)

The word “maker” gets thrown around pretty loosely, and, to be fair, it’s a pretty nondescript word.

Make Magazine once tried to answer this question in an article “What Is a Maker? You Are,” which, well, okay, but we’d like to see if we could drill down a little more.

Earlier this month we wrote about 10 Brooklyn makers our readers should know about. It included people making candles, making radios, making edible robotics and making an LED-lit unicorn that you can play music on while you ride. That diversity is great, but it got us back to the question of how you define what a maker is. So, we asked the people who made our list how they would define the term.

Here’s what they said.

You gotta work with your hands

Stephen Tracy, Keap

“To me, a maker is someone who creates physical things with their hands as opposed to works only using digital products; it’s a broad universe that encompasses traditional handmade things like baked goods, textiles or furniture, right through to more recent types of ‘making’ like building robots or 3D printing elements of a larger product.”

‘Maker’ as cultural signifier

Spencer Wright, The Public Radio

“More than anything else, I think ‘maker’ is a cultural signifier — something that denotes a certain sense of whimsy, combined with a bit of precociousness and craft. In the best cases, makerism is simply a gateway to something else; it’s a stepping stone that eventually leads to a product business or a manufacturing operation. [Public Radio cofounder] Zach [Dunham] and I have put a *lot* of energy into making this transition over the past few years, and most of the other people on your list have as well.”

Bring your thoughts to life

Adelle Lin

“I would define a ‘maker’ as someone who is constantly driven to realize the questions, stories and ideas in their head into tangible items and experiences. Also someone who isn’t afraid of atypical aesthetics and failed experiments in this quest.”


But don’t overthink it

Sean Auriti

“A ‘maker’ is someone who can take an idea and bring it to life. They are able to use a tool or supplies in a creative way to realize something.”

Projects: Makers Month 2017
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