Aren’t we Millennials a precious bunch? Putting birds on this. Pickling that. Crafting. Artisinal(-ing?). It’s all quite cute. And, sure, quite mockable.
It’s really not our fault, though. What choice did we have?
For those who entered their post-high school lives and began making inroads toward a career circa the mid-aughts—just as the real estate bubble burst and the financial markets tanked—many emerged from college, trained for careers that were either threatened with extinction, or had disappeared altogether. Millennials were shown a world during the boom times, that, after things went bust, no longer existed.
In conjunction with that false promise, we fell hard for innovative technology. In the name of convenience, Millennials invented abstract, digital things—social networks, App—to better connect us. Yet, as many have come to realize, much of that technology—and the process of creating something so inherently intangible—only created more distance between us.
Faced with a new economic reality and in desperate need of connection, many Millennials (and Gen-Xers, for that matter) shunned the conspicuous consumption of our forefathers, logged off (at least momentarily) and began seeking more tangible pleasures. Getting our hands dirty. DIY-ing. Making stuff.
Why buy a table when you can saw and hammer one out yourself? Why buy herbs from the grocery store when the Florida sun and a little soil on a neighborhood plot will yield enough spice to season your every meal? Why not take those doodles, those short stories, that roll of film, and bind them all in a magazine to share with the community? And, sure, why buy pickles when, if you’ve got an old jar, some vinegar, seasoning (from your own garden), and any random assortment of veggies, you can, yes, pickle that?
Each artisan, craftsperson, or maker in our Makers Issue (on newsstands now)—Northeast Floridians, all of them—is a testament to the redeeming qualities of this movement. Many started out as novice tinkerers. Yet, through curiosity, will power, and an enduring connection to their craft, each is creating unique, objectively beautiful, often functional, always corporeal objects. Far from being some precious, Hipster-led trend, making stuff is a deeply mortal endeavor that connects us—both those interested in distinctive, handmade products and the makers, themselves—more deeply to each other.