I have been in London for now a month and I will be leaving soon. The time has let me really think through my own mindset in life and making in particular. I have always had inklings of these thoughts that I will be sharing.
I learn the most when I am making something. This is referred to as experiential learning. I learn by doing. A project allows me to think succinctly, and I am able to continuously develop my skillset. I also become more active with a learning process when I have a project. It is important for people to have a sense of agency. A maker mindset forces you to get active with whatever work you are doing. Let’s think about 3D printing and modeling.
Digital fabrication through 3D design and printing is amazing. We can literally see ideas on a computer. Then, in a matter of minutes, we are able to replicate these designs within our physical reality. The amount of learning required to do this though is unbound. One can simply make simple shapes when they are 3D modeling, but what happens when you want to get more complex? What skills or knowledge would need to be acquired? Depending on one’s personal objectives or product objectives, learning resources will be found. One may study complex geometries and various ways to create unique shapes. This will take a certain amount of geometry understanding as well as more advanced 3D modeling skill. Now it is on the user to go and develop the requisite learning for themselves.
There lies the beauty though. When we are enabling ourselves to learn through our own means, it makes the process that much more enjoyable. Learning and developing your craft becomes less of a drag, but more of an active engagement process. Once some initial levels of learning are unpacked, there becomes an insatiable quest to learn even more. You may have started with wanting to purely create a digital product, but maybe you want to sell your product now. This will then require you to learn marketing and sales, as well as consumer psychology. To effortlessly sell you may think that aesthetic beauty is highly important. Then it leads you down a path of reading and learning about aesthetics and various design philosophies.
I try to frame my learning by asking questions. I think questions are essential for journeys of exploration and curiosity. I can start my journey by asking, “What could I create with a 3D printer?” This then leads to the handy tool of google. I can then research this exact question and find tons of inspiration. From there I may see a ring and the question now becomes, “How can I 3D design a ring?” From there the research continues. This continuous learning process is vital. For a person who has vigor and life to them, this will keep them going for years. It just matters whether or not you want to start being a maker or not.
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