By Patrick Hayes, Bespoke Theatre Company
What constitutes a “maker?” What inspires one to become a “maker?” A builder? A constructor of things? I would say the impulse to “make” is a basic human trait. The most important step in “making” anything is simply making up your mind to do it; ultimately, figure out a way to make it happen. That’s where creativity comes along.
If you can’t afford materials, you find them.
If you run into obstacles you overcome them.
Sometimes you have to take a step back and learn the necessary skills first. You may have to take a class, read a book, or watch a video. The most important part of the process is really committing to completing the task no matter what.
Assembling your tools is the next step. Information is a tool. Experience is a tool. Tools are more than just material objects.
A lot of the things I make are items to be used. I make masks, puppets, costumes, prosthetic makeup appliances, as well as home construction projects. The first question I ask is, “What does it need to do?” What is its function? What is its use? The answers to these questions influence its design and help give it form.
When being creative I’ve learned that you have to allow the project to guide you as much, if not more than, you guide it. You must learn to let go of control. Sometimes overthinking things shuts down production and stifles innovation. Knowing when to stop and move on is also very important. You can nitpick something to death.
How did I become a maker, you ask?
Boredom helped me be a maker. I can remember being curious as to how things worked. I’ve always liked doing things with my hands and am naturally inquisitive. I didn’t always have money or materials so I would scrounge around for things. I’ve always felt confident that I could learn a task and always try and challenge myself.
The biggest challenge can be your own laziness — there are too many distractions. Impatience with doing the work is a killer. You must allow yourself to enjoy the process — the process is more important than the finished product because once you’re done, it is time to move on to the next project. You must understand that the work is what is fun/important. Everything is work no matter what it is.
The biggest challenges are always time & money.
Sometimes when casting a mask the mold breaks. Learning how to roll with the setbacks and make it work is important. You can’t go backward, you have to go forward and do what it takes to get it done.
If I make something for performance the “making” isn’t done until the actor creates a character. The aim of making anything is for it to come alive. The goal is not for it to be just a mask, a puppet or a painting, but for it to be a living entity.
Encouragement for makers: Start big, start small, just start. Don’t get too absorbed in the “idea phase.” Starting something is the most important thing. Once you get it rolling it takes on a life of its own and begins to propel itself forward. Even if you work on it bit by bit, at least you are making progress.
Don’t become absorbed in perfection, so much that, after weeks, you have absolutely nothing to show for it. It’s a numbers game. One out of 100 will be great. You have to make the 100 to get the 1, though. Failure is a teaching moment. What you know NOT to do is as important as knowing what TO do. Don’t think too much. Know that there is only so much that is in your control. The picture in your head is a starting point, and reality will rarely mirror your ideal. If you don’t allow your ideas to change and evolve through the process of work you will smother your creativity.