Last night, my son Blake Maloof (pictured above) and I went to an annual Art Hat Party that some friends put on every year. You come, make a cool, goofy hat until the clock strikes midnight, then you parade around a bonfire outside banging pots and pans to ring in the new year (and annoy the neighbors). It’s great fun every year. Blake was party hopping, and didn’t plan to make a hat. He was basically dropping me off and saying hi to everyone. But moments before he left, he made this “hat.” While I and everyone else was cutting and gluing and shaping something showy and elaborate, he inflated a balloon and tape it to his forehead. It was an instant hit, with lots of people getting out phonecams, ewing and awing, and declaring him the winner (there is no competition at the hat party, but everyone talks smack as if there is and declaring themselves a clear winner).

There was something about the fluidity of the creation, the lack of excess effort, that really struck me. He wasn’t trying, he hadn’t pre-planned anything, he wasn’t staying. And I think there’s a lesson there for making in the new year, especially those of us in the professional realm of making where things are becoming more competitive and mainstreamed. It’s easy to forget what got us here in the first place: a love of creativity, making things, and play. Making and the maker movement is now seen as important, an engine of innovation and change. And we think that’s true. But it’s also fun.

So here’s to a new year of making, important making and innovating and educating others in hands-on technology and science. But here’s to the perhaps even more important idea of doing all of this while mindful of the fact it’s supposed to be playful and fun.

What are your ideas, plans, and maker resolutions for 2013? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy person’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

  • http://gravatar.com/roygpa roygpa

    I started off the new year by assembling a Totally Useless Machine.

  • chuck

    I spent NYE and the wee hours of New Years Day building a dual channel optical synthesizer. It consists of a box with two long flexible antennae tipped with photoresistors. The PRs control the pitch on two seperate FM oscillators (40106 hex inverter). By positioning the antennae near a changing light source (christmas tree, TV, fire, traffic) the pitch of the synth does all kinds of crazy things.
    In the new year I plan to build an analog drum machine and various autonomous noise/music machines. Come see me at the Tampa Area Mini Maker Faire in March!

  • http://gravatar.com/spiderwebby spiderwebby

    I spent new years with friends on the roof, watching other peoples fireworks and considering building a Tesla coil for next year

  • Gareth Branwyn

    This might be a good time to remind folks that we have a new community on G+, called The Make: Forum (http://bit.ly/VgDNaG) where you can show and discuss projects in process. I would love to see some of the stuff people are working on. We’ve always been interested in seeing more work in progress, but never had a good way to easily share this content. It’s been fun already to see what some of our community is working on.