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The Maker/ Archetype 2

The bowl, the book, and the bird invite us to behold, become, and be heard.

The concept of archetypes arises in psychology, philosophy, and literature as a way to identify repeating patterns of behaviors, thoughts, and symbols that characterize common human experience. To be creative is a multifaceted existence. I think we live and work with three distinct artists within us: Gatherers, Makers, and Givers. These three archetypes, their symbols, and invitations have revealed themselves over time in my writing. By using the lens of archetypes, I explore not just process and product, but personhood in the midst of the creative cycle.

If you’re just joining in, read about the first archetype The Gatherer and how the artist archetypes all began.


ROLES of the Maker: The second archetype is the Maker. I chose the book as the symbol of the Maker. If you prefer, imagine the medium of your craft. The Maker's task is the alchemy that weaves raw material into something more. Working with kept observations from the Gatherer, the Maker engages in combinatory play and craft to gesture toward ideas and create. This is perhaps the most iconic of the figures when we think of the artist at work. I envision the Maker at a long wooden table emptying out the Gatherer’s bowl: stones, feathers, filled notebooks with shorthand notations and odd sketches. It is very early in the morning or perhaps very late at night when the quality of the space is undisturbed as they try to spin gold. Though the work began long before them, their task is twofold: The Maker must find forms, but also make meaning in the process.

Finding Forms Artist Marcel Duchamp argued that, “Art-making is making the invisible, visible.” Simply put, he attests to the reality that ideas need forms to be communicated. What we are reaching for is visibility on behalf of what calls for attention. Much of the notes within a notebook are pre-genre, meaning there are any number of different forms the fragments could take as the ideas are developed. A Maker is well versed in the possibilities while maintaining courage to make marks and experiment with form. It indeed takes courage to wonder, "is this poem perhaps just the beginning of a book?" "Might this memoir manuscript be better told through a work of fiction?" Are these words becoming an image or vice versa?" To wrestle with form-finding necessitates starting over repeatedly asking all the while, is what I’m making in its best possible form? Throughout this process, one of the most important faculties of the Maker is the imagination. In its simplest definition, I understand imagination as the capacity to see otherwise. While the Gatherer has a rich perception of what is, the Maker brings a perception of what is not yet, but could be.

Making Meaning This making is not only about artifacts and words. It is making as a way of knowing. The primary invitation of the Maker archetype is to become. The Maker participates in their own becoming through their labor. In other words, this figure makes and is made in the process. What it means to be human is that we are constantly making meaning by seeking to understand the relationships and connections between people, places, and ideas. One of the ways that we work out our identities and worldviews is through our making. Be it soup or sonnets, these are expressions of our values, questions, and convictions through the tactile and resonant work of our hands.

TOOLS: A Studio Refuge from the World While the Gatherer needs a portable studio out in the world, the Maker often needs to find a studio that gives them refuge and safety. It is difficult to make in the same open fields of observation. The mediums must be gathered and then given space. Studio space could be as simple as a lap board and a lit candle. Perhaps you’re lucky enough to have a corner or a whole room to yourself. The key element of this space is that it provides containment in order to process what has been gathered. With an eye toward emerging patterns, the Maker is a master of metaphor searching for the way we might understand one thing by way of another. There is no work without some element of solitude and space.

If creativity follows the cadence of the breath, then the Maker expresses the necessity of the exhale. The Maker’s exhale begins to externalize and make visible the invisible inner world.

Common Needs of the Maker: • space and time to attend to patterns in the gathered artifacts • traditions and contemporary examples of work from which to draw inspiration • other makers who can accompany through the seasons of making • capacity for mystery of ambiguity and metaphorical thinking • fluent language of forms and symbols that can communicate ideas • fortifying trust of your own intuition • discernment between raw generativity and editing phases of making

• good care for the body and opportunities for movement


Curious about the other archetypes and how they fit in with the Maker’s needs and roles? Click the links below to read on.


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Take a look inside my current notebooks to gather inspiration for your own creative rituals, studio spaces, and keeping places. 

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