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Excerpt From 'Made by Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World'

I like knowing that I can make something the way I want it to be. I'm proud of the things I make and use, despite their imperfections. When I haul my kids around in the wagon I rebuilt from scrap wood, the wagon tells me the story about the time we spent together building it — including my silly mistakes, like mounting the axles too close to the wagon, so the wheels rubbed against the wood (solved by adding spacer blocks). When the wagon acts up, I can pinpoint what's wrong with it and know how to fix it, because the construction is imprinted in my mind. It took me all afternoon to make the wagon. In that time, I could have earned enough money writing to buy two or three brand-new, factory-built wagons. But I didn't make the wagon to save time or money. Slowing down was the point. DIY is similar to the slow food movement that started in Italy twenty years ago. The planning, selection of tools and materials, creation of the workspace, method of construction, documentation, and final product of a DIY project are things to be savored, not to be thought of as hassles or expenses. The end result of what a DIY-er makes is important, but it's also a reminder of an experience that serves as its own reward. … Back to Article

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