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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 is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.


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