Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Maker's Manifesto

When people ask me what I do, I usually fumble for an answer. "I, uh, I make these chicken dolls. And I sell them. Online, mostly. And some other stuff." After this, people generally just say "Okay" and look at me like I'm crazy.
This is pathetic. I've been making "these chicken dolls" for four years now. I've made nearly 500 of them. And I've marketed my butt off. I've built a business around the things I make, with taxes and licenses and everything.
It's time to stop fumbling for a description.
Part of the problem is labels. Am I an artist? A crafter? An entrepreneur? Sort of, yes, all that. Labels are limiting, but they're useful. People don't want a paragraph. How do you sum up what you do in a sentence?
It finally hit me today.
I am not just an artist. I am not just a crafter. I am not just a mother. I am a MAKER.
A professional maker of stuff.
Now that's a definition of what I do that feels right.
In any given day, I might sketch up new ideas for a dozen different things. I might sew up some Chickenpants, or baby toys, or a quilt, or some clothes. I might make cookies. I might write something. I might paint or sketch or photograph something. I might do some or all or none of these things.
I am a maker.

Your turn. What do you do? I'd love to hear about it.


Juli said...

I'd go for...unpublished author--so far!

Poppy Seed Cats said...

I recently got asked what my occupation was by my bank manager and I didn't know what to say, I started mumbling something about being a photographer, an artist, a sculptor, a crafter and a crazy cat lady rolled into one.

He seemed very confused and I think my overdraft application ended up just saying I was a sales woman lol. I even have my business account with them and they still don't understand what I do. Oh well!

Eerika said...

I usually hem and haw a bit when having to describe what I do. But most of the time, I say I'm a toy making elf. Sure, the elf bit isn't actually true, but I am a toy maker first and foremost.

I usually add that I also do occasional seamstressing and illustration and that I'm also a housewife/cat wrangler, because saying you're a toy maker tends to make people look at you like you must be kidding and anyways that's not a real job now is it and why don't you do real work... Needless to say, I'm a little apprehensive about labeling myself as what I actually do due to people's reaction to it.

Claire said...

I can so relate! I usually think of myself as a toy maker, but telling people that usually results in a raised eyebrow. But it's TRUE!

Claire said...

Dude, if I was your bank manager, I would have high fived you. You sound awesome!

Claire said...

I bet you won't be unpublished for long. ^_^ I love your blog! The latest post about the pug chin rest phenomenon is great! (Of course, with two pugs at home, I'm biased.)

Juli said...

How about some photos of pugs resting chins on Baby? (That is, when you have the time.)


Claire said...

I really need to get on that! I know I've taken some photos, I just need to get them posted somewhere.


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