I am so incredibly grateful for the skills that I have been able to hone by being part of the making community. My gratitude is one that runs deep, mostly because I believe this community has a higher purpose than to build wardrobes, learn the latest sewing technique, or find the most popular fabric.
Because for me, there is nothing stronger than the bond of a shared experience. Through the power of the internet, we—as a making community—have created a small pocket of the world where we can show a little bit of our vulnerability freely. At first shyly, but eventually with pride, we showcase our passionate projects, divulge our sometimes failures, and share our lessons learned from both. Through our genuine love for expressing our creativity through making, we allow more and more makers into our circles of trust, inviting them to share in our creative excitement.
We’re threads in a tapestry
We bravely decide to share our projects with our peers in hopes that they will resonate somewhere with someone. This one small act of courage is really an artist’s most authentic version of bravery: publicly showing our special gifts to the world.
But beyond that amazing moment of courage is an even more special one that falls into place right afterward. It is that beautiful instance of contact and recognition when another creative soul finds the value in what we do.
There is nothing greater than the moment you feel that a community not only wants to see your creative expressions but wants to actively lift them up and celebrate them along with you, spurring you along your creative journey. That moment is simply priceless.
We create and cultivate authentic interactions with each other through these and other shared experiences of making. In these opportunities to communicate maker-to-maker, we also learn to occupy so many roles for one another. We become more than just acquaintances on the internet; we learn to be teachers some days and students on others. We build friendships from thousands of miles away, slowly developing those same friendships into a family of our own choosing.
I like to visualize it in a way that speaks to the fabric lover in me: that through our making, each of us is an individually beautiful thread in a tapestry woven of artists, wrapping ourselves in and out of each other’s creative journeys with support, love, and connection.
As makers, coming from a common love for creative expression, each of us can see the interconnectedness of all of our artistry. Our making, this task of breathing life into something inanimate, allows you to see the humanity in me and for me to see it in you. It shows you quite clearly the maker I am and how I show up in the world. It lays bare my strengths and imperfections, blatantly demonstrating the places where the strands of our paths are quite similar, but also making it much easier to see the unique qualities amongst us, where our woven strands diverge.
Sharing authentic lived experiences
As an AfroLatina maker, my interactions with the sewing and knitting community online has done for me what, in some ways, I have been trying to do for years. It has put a face in front of each new sewer and knitter I encounter that challenges the default image of what a maker looks like. With every person that I’m able to share my story, I can see the connection and empathy to my experience growing. As we get to know one another, sharing joy, dejection, pride, or any of the other emotions that make us up, we have an opportunity—not just to share a love of making—but to share our authentic lived experiences.
And that humanization is not something trivial. To me, it is a crucial part of true sharing. Seeing the humanity in one another allows us to build foundations of trust, bringing more artists into those circles of makers amongst us. Our slow gain of mutual trust with one another has built—and continues to build —a community that has not just felt its pain points, but continues to recognize where it can be better. This sharing spurs our community into placing itself in new, uncomfortable situations, starting much-needed conversations that create real change. With these new shifts of power dynamics and intentionality across the making community, I have never been more grateful for these crafts that connect us.
Sharing as a quiet rebellion
Our sharing amongst one another is more than just a selfie of our latest make. It is an act of quiet rebellion where we, as makers, choose to create a community that reflects the personal values we each hold. We choose to share ourselves with those who understand our creativity best—in hopes that this same community will clearly see the threads of our creative journey, while also recognizing the other portions of our lives that we hold just as dear. We seek out these experiences with one another, because we have trusted our community with our vulnerability in our art and want to know that we can trust that same community with even more of ourselves.
Because quite simply, our sharing with one another is powerful.
Our sharing with one another is life-changing.
Our sharing with one another is revolutionary.
Our sharing with one another is priceless.