Periodical 14 — v DIY

While you’re here, make the world your own.

Hello from the makerspace, otherwise known as home.

Home should be a makerspace! At any level — food, art, life, clothing, and on to more difficult craft like furniture and construction — everyone should have their hands in something. Ideally, it’s unique, if not straight-up weird. Life is too short to default on your surroundings.

What Kyle Chayka calls AirSpace is not exactly new, but it has been newly invigorated by the power of Instagram (he also coined that term back in 2016!). Yes, every coffee shop looks the same, and so does every Zoom background, and every book cover, and every haircut, and so on. It’s called style. What is culture, after all, but a shared sensibility? Kyle’s point, though, is that the technology of the day spreads style especially quickly, which creates a feedback loop that radiates outward into economies and life choices. I think he’s right about that.

Because there’s a big span of something between a shared culture of images and things made in a certain way to express a certain value and images and things made to do little more than appear like something else. The problem with going much further with this critique is it really can’t be done without some kind of snobbery — espousing the notion that one preference is simply better than another. That’s not for me, so I won’t.

But I will say that while debates over culture rage on, you can always just make your own. It’s interesting; it’s fun; it’s often cheaper.

This weekend was a very DIY kind of weekend.

The first project I finished was one I’d been contemplating for years. It was High Optimization. You see, we store our CD collection on a set of built-in shelves in our den that originate with the house itself — seventy-two year-old construction, encyclopedia-deep like any good mid-century den should have. What’s bothered me for years is that even though I rebuilt the shelves to reduce the vertical space and house more rows of CDs, the depth remained the same. The discs were always getting pushed back, making them hard to retrieve without disrupting the entire row of discs and making everything look out of order. It made me very twitchy. So I built custom frames to insert at the back of the shelves, reducing their depth to about half-an inch shy of a CD. Now you can push a disc fully back, keeping the row perfectly flush, and the half-inch that hangs over the edge of the shelf is just the right amount to make retrieving a single disc very smooth. The frame also retains the space behind it, which is great for storing overflow or box sets.

I also made a set of dividers that are wrapped in very bright orange cardstock. They divide the collection by genre and pop out very nicely.

Since my tools were out and I had some extra wood, I made a quick sketch of a desk riser I’d been imagining and quickly made it a reality. The moment my daughter saw it in the office, she exclaimed “I WANT ONE TOO!” I said, let’s draw one and make one together!

One thing I hope my children learn is to nurture the balance of curiosity, creativity, and willingness to mess-up that is needed to make the world your own while you’re here.

Written by Christopher Butler on January 21, 2024,   In Log

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Periodical 13 Image ecology and my top 10 science fiction films.

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