Why DIY?

whydiy

I was in a museum recently . This sentence was on a placard next to a row of Impressionist paintings and it stopped me in my tracks: The Industrial Revolution favored technology and materialism, and this in turn provoked a crisis of values and nostalgia for a lost ideal.

Nostalgia for a lost ideal. I walked around the museum after that, sort of looking at paintings but mostly thinking of that phrase. I feel like that a lot, don’t you? Like I’m missing something that I can’t quite put my finger on, or maybe I just want things to be a little simpler. Like if I could just rewind a few decades, I’d be in the right era. I mean, have you ever seen Midnight in Paris? If you haven’t, watch it. It’s a perfect depiction of this whole “born in the wrong era” thing.

But I digress. That sentence also got me thinking about how maybe that’s why DIY is so popular right now. The world is so stuffed full of excess and flash and trash, and maybe people just want to return to the simplicity of doing things for themselves. Being able to say I made that with my own hands. Because geez, what does anybody make any more? If I need a new fill-in-the-blank I can order it online and it will be on my doorstep in two days, free shipping (not that I don’t love my Amazon Prime). But to put time and care and effort into something, purely for the joy or the craftsmanship of doing it, is simple and special and satisfying.

All of this is to say that I’ve been wondering more about the DIY trend right now, and why you DIY. I’d love to know. Do you feel this certain nostalgia and pull for simplicity? Or do you just really enjoy working with your hands? Or is it another reason entirely? If you’re a DIY-er, do tell us why you love it. xoxo


18 comments

  1. Gracie on said:

    I’m with ya on feeling nostalgic for simplicity. Although, I am thankful for the advancements our culture has made in things like technology and medicine. The idea of “blogging” and connecting with people from around the world is amazing but can also seem oppressive. I think it’s all about balance. Thanks for sharing such fun DIYs! :)

    http://sometimesgracefully.com

    • chelsea on said:

      Absolutely! Sometimes I feel like there’s a gluttony of information out there and it almost gets stressful to try to take it all in. Balance is key.

  2. Where do I even begin? I mean I have been making things my whole LIFE. I guess I just need to express that creative side otherwise I just get DEPRESSED. And then from knowing how happy it makes me to MAKE, I decided “What better way to make a living?”
    As for buying handmade, that is just the next natural step. Something well made by 2 hands is just special and will always be unique. Every single one will be different (and special) in the teeniest way.
    Before my husband and I got married, we worked through the 7 Languages of Love book (I think 7?) and mine was “gift giving”. I show love for people through gift giving. (And the opposite is if you don’t get something from me for your birthday then you are dead to me…)
    Making something special for someone, instead of some crappy thing that anyone could get from Target, is the most love I can show for someone.

    • chelsea on said:

      I totally agree. It’s the concept that you took the time and care to put something together with such great intention. Not that Target gifts are a bad thing. ;)

  3. I find it very pleasing, the ability to create something beautiful with your own hands. It satisfies a part of me.

  4. Jennifer on said:

    Interesting post. I’ve been pondering if more people are DIYing now than in recent years or if DIYers simply have more access than before (social media platforms, blogs, Pinterest, etc.) to share their DIYs.

    I DIY because I’m a cheapo and I can usually make things cheaper than buying them :P

    • chelsea on said:

      That’s actually a really interesting point that I didn’t even think of — the blog world and the social media takeover makes it so easy to share the things that people may have just been doing all along.

  5. I DIY because I can make things that 100%, that feels like me inside and out. It’s not really to “stand out” or make myself different, rather I just like that I can recognize myself in the things that surround me. I am going to start taking a few sewing classes soon, and hoping that I can start making some clothes for myself in the next few months.

    • chelsea on said:

      I love this the best: “I can recognize myself in the things that surround me.” What a beautiful thought!

  6. Casey on said:

    In short, I’m picky. I’d much rather be able to make something exactly how I want it. A one of a kind item is also a lot more special and creating is so therapeutic.

  7. Lusine on said:

    I’d probably say all of the above. In a world where most everyone is walking around with their eyes permanently glued to a smartphone, with so much information and noise coming at you from all corners of the world…spending time away from all that, creating something beautiful with your hands feels almost like a vacation. An simple afternoon spent with my paintbrush makes me feel like I’m enjoying the simpler pleasures that life has to offer :)

    • chelsea on said:

      Definitely well said, Lusine.

  8. Karen on said:

    I think DIY is in my blood. My dad is handy, mom is crafty, and I think I got the best of both. My earliest diy memory was making a rickety table for my cabbage patch doll. Aside from the design control that DIY gives you (taking something that doesn’t work and making it the perfect piece for the puzzle), I love the connection you then have to the pieces afterward.

  9. Marlene on said:

    Awesome post. I’ve been musing over the question “why diy” myself lately. For me, it’s twofold–wanting to CREATE, and wanting to work with my hands. In college I studied photography, my first love, but I watched all of my friends make beautiful and useful vessels in their ceramics classes and became frustrated that my creations only ever ended up on the wall or in a drawer. Now I love to DIY to create or modify objects I actually use, for love of the process, and for the sense of accomplishment and pride. And I blog about it in the hopes to inspire others to diy too! Thank you for sharing.

  10. Laura on said:

    Lovely post (Indeed) – ya I had to throw that in there ;)
    Great thoughts! I feel like a part of it also has to do with making your mark on something. There’s a lot of stuff out there and a lot of people and if we can distinguish ourselves and personalize things around us that are then very “us” and made by us I think it helps get out of the mindset that we are all the same or that we won’t be remembered – ya kinda deep there.

  11. Nakea on said:

    I always feel like that. And now that I am planning our wedding, I am coming out of the shell of that feeling of nothingness (what a made up word, right?). I’ve made my centerpieces, I am currently finishing up my invitations and it feels good to say I made that. Almost takes you back to kindergarten when you made mother’s day cards and gave it to your mom. :-)

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