I’m a big fan of DIY. A couple of years ago I renovated my house: new carpets, tile, countertops. That stuff I had the professionals do, but I did all the rest: painted the walls, painted and sealed the cabinets, installed the sinks and new plumbing, updated the electrical outlets, and installed mosaic wall tile. I really enjoyed it. It allowed me to turn my house into MY HOME exactly the way I wanted it. I never had that before. My readings this week gave me a new perspective of what I was doing and why I enjoy it so much.
In our Lankshear and Knobel reading, I was struck by the discussion around the origins of DIY in the UK and US. Not being someone who has ever researched the history of DIY, I was surprised that it came out of a “counterculture” movement. The average person being told your housr/car/yard has to look like this and you have to hire someone to tell you what it should look like and then they do it for you. Your investment is not needed or wanted outside of payment for the work and we will tell you how much it will cost. Hello, square peg and round hole. Humans have a natural creative
In the same vein, my personal interest readings led me to explore the link between creativity and eccentricity. I live in a family of very creative people who also happen to be extraordinarily quirky. One thing we’ve always had in common is how surprised people are about all the details and nuances that we notice. According to The Unleashed Mind: Why Creative People Are Eccentric, it’s because our brains our wired without certain cognitive filters that would discard some of the information we receive as “irrelevant.” I’ve never seen the information as irrelevant. It’s funny. Our brains are performing a kind of DIY what is happening around us and building an entirely different structure because we’re receiving different materials to work with.
The theme of applying creativity carried into my chose recommended reading, Openness and Ownership: Who Owns School Work? I found this reading extremely upsetting. For anyone who creates independent content, it should be upsetting. It’s a government organization telling people that even though they, as the employer, aren’t giving them the correct tools to do their job they’re going to claim ownership of what their workers spent their own time putting together to supplement the inadequate tools. Not only that, but little Timmy’s adorable drawing of fighter jets blowing up the Easter Bunny now belongs to the school district as well. And they think that this will encourage their teachers to produce independent, open license content?
The whole purpose of DIY content is to allow the people who have the passion (and sometimes the skills but those can be learned) to fill an existing gap, whether it be for an educational need, a favorite show or video game, or that annoying gap in the doorframe above my spare bedroom. Take away the ability of a creator to own their creation and you take away driving force behind the desire to create.
P.S. This is another DIY project. I couldn’t find the quilt for my bed that I wanted in a store so I made it myself!