Do it yourself

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Boy building a model airplane, Texas, 1942 (photograph by Arthur Rothstein for the Farm Security Administration) Arthur Rothstein, Boy building a model airplane as girl watches, FSA camp, Robstown, Texas, 1942.jpg
Boy building a model airplane, Texas, 1942 (photograph by Arthur Rothstein for the Farm Security Administration)

"Do it yourself" ("DIY") is the method of building, modifying, or repairing things by oneself without the direct aid of experts or professionals. Academic research has described DIY as behaviors where "individuals use raw and semi-raw materials and parts to produce, transform, or reconstruct material possessions, including those drawn from the natural environment (e.g., landscaping)". [1] DIY behavior can be triggered by various motivations previously categorized as marketplace motivations (economic benefits, lack of product availability, lack of product quality, need for customization), and identity enhancement (craftsmanship, empowerment, community seeking, uniqueness). [2]

Contents

The term "do-it-yourself" has been associated with consumers since at least 1912 primarily in the domain of home improvement and maintenance activities. [3] The phrase "do it yourself" had come into common usage (in standard English) by the 1950s, [4] in reference to the emergence of a trend of people undertaking home improvement and various other small craft and construction projects as both a creative-recreational and cost-saving activity.

Subsequently, the term DIY has taken on a broader meaning that covers a wide range of skill sets. DIY has been described as a "self-made-culture"; one of designing, creating, customizing and repairing items or things without any special training. DIY has grown to become a social concept with people sharing ideas, designs, techniques, methods and finished projects with one another either online or in person.

DIY can be seen as a cultural reaction in modern technological society to increasing academic specialization and economic specialization which brings people into contact with only a tiny focus area within the larger context, positioning DIY as a venue for holistic engagement. DIY ethic is the ethic of self-sufficiency through completing tasks without the aid of a paid expert. The DIY ethic promotes the idea that anyone is capable of performing a variety of tasks rather than relying on paid specialists.

History

Italian archaeologists have unearthed the ruins of a 6th-century BC Greek structure in southern Italy. The ruins appeared to come with detailed assembly instructions and are being called an "ancient IKEA building". The structure was a temple-like building discovered at Torre Satriano, near the southern city of Potenza, in Basilicata. This region was recognized as a place where local people mingled with Greeks who had settled along the southern coast known as Magna Graecia and in Sicily from the 8th century BC onwards. Professor Christopher Smith, director of the British School at Rome, said that the discovery was, "the clearest example yet found of mason's marks of the time. It looks as if someone was instructing others how to mass-produce components and put them together in this way." Much like our modern instruction booklets, various sections of the luxury building were inscribed with coded symbols showing how the pieces slotted together. The characteristics of these inscriptions indicate they date back to around the 6th century BC, which tallies with the architectural evidence suggested by the decoration. The building was built by Greek artisans coming from the Spartan colony of Taranto in Apulia. [5] [6] [7]

In North America, there was a DIY magazine publishing niche in the first half of the twentieth century. Magazines such as Popular Mechanics (founded in 1902) and Mechanix Illustrated (founded in 1928) offered a way for readers to keep current on useful practical skills, techniques, tools, and materials. As many readers lived in rural or semi-rural regions, initially much of the material related to their needs on the farm or in a small town.

By the 1950s, DIY became common usage with the emergence of people undertaking home improvement projects, construction projects and smaller crafts. Artists began to fight against mass production and mass culture by claiming to be self-made. However, DIY practices also responded to geopolitical tensions, such as in the form of home-made Cold War nuclear fallout shelters, and the dark aesthetics and nihilist discourse in punk fanzines in the 1970s and onwards in the shadow of rising unemployment and social tensions. In the 1960s and 1970s, books and TV shows about the DIY movement and techniques on building and home decoration began appearing. By the 1990s, the DIY movement felt the impact of the digital age with the rise of the internet. [8] With computers and the internet becoming mainstream, increased accessibility to the internet has led more households undertaking DIY methods. Platforms, such as YouTube or Instagram, provide people the opportunity to share their creations and instruct others on how to replicate DIY techniques in their own home. [9]

Shelves attached to a toy vehicle Movable shelves built on discarded toy vehicle.jpg
Shelves attached to a toy vehicle

The DIY movement is a re-introduction (often to urban and suburban dwellers) of the old pattern of personal involvement and use of skills in the upkeep of a house or apartment, making clothes; maintenance of cars, computers, websites; or any material aspect of living. The philosopher Alan Watts (from the "Houseboat Summit" panel discussion in a 1967 edition of the San Francisco Oracle ) reflected a growing sentiment:

Our educational system, in its entirety, does nothing to give us any kind of material competence. In other words, we don't learn how to cook, how to make clothes, how to build houses, how to make love, or to do any of the absolutely fundamental things of life. The whole education that we get for our children in school is entirely in terms of abstractions. It trains you to be an insurance salesman or a bureaucrat, or some kind of cerebral character. [10]

In the 1970s, DIY spread through the North American population of college and recent-college-graduate age groups. In part, this movement involved the renovation of affordable, rundown older homes. But, it also related to various projects expressing the social and environmental vision of the 1960s and early 1970s. The young visionary Stewart Brand, working with friends and family, and initially using the most basic of typesetting and page-layout tools, published the first edition of The Whole Earth Catalog (subtitled Access to Tools) in late 1968.

Fiberglass dome house, California, in style of the Whole Earth Catalog building techniques California-dome-house.jpg
Fiberglass dome house, California, in style of the Whole Earth Catalog building techniques

The first Catalog, and its successors, used a broad definition of the term "tools." There were informational tools, such as books (often technical in nature), professional journals, courses and classes. There were specialized, designed items, such as carpenters' and masons' tools, garden tools, welding equipment, chainsaws, fiberglass materials and so on – even early personal computers. The designer, J. Baldwin acted as editor and writing many of the reviews. The Catalog's publication both emerged from and spurred the great wave of experimentalism, convention-breaking, and do-it-yourself attitude of the late 1960s. Often copied, the Catalog appealed to a wide cross-section of people in North America and had a broad influence.

DIY home improvement books burgeoned in the 1970s, first created as collections of magazine articles. An early, extensive line of DIY how-to books were created by Sunset Books, based upon previously published articles from their magazine, Sunset , based in California. Time-Life, Better Homes and Gardens, Balcony Garden Web and other publishers soon followed suit.

Electronics World 1959, home assembled amplifier Electronics World Sep 1959.jpg
Electronics World 1959, home assembled amplifier

In the mid-1990s, DIY home-improvement content began to find its way onto the World Wide Web. HouseNet was the earliest bulletin-board style site where users could share information. HomeTips.com, established in early 1995, was among the first web-based sites to deliver free extensive DIY home-improvement content created by expert authors. [4] Since the late 1990s, DIY has exploded on the Web through thousands of sites.

In the 1970s, when home video (VCRs) came along, DIY instructors quickly grasped its potential for demonstrating processes by audio-visual means. In 1979, the PBS television series This Old House , starring Bob Vila, premiered and spurred a DIY television revolution. The show was immensely popular, educating people on how to improve their living conditions (and the value of their house) without the expense of paying someone else to do (as much of) the work. In 1994, the HGTV Network cable television channel was launched in the United States and Canada, followed in 1999 by the DIY Network cable television channel. Both were launched to appeal to the growing percentage of North Americans interested in DIY topics, from home improvement to knitting. Such channels have multiple shows revealing how to stretch one's budget to achieve professional-looking results ( Design Cents , Design on a Dime , etc.) while doing the work yourself. Toolbelt Diva specifically caters to female DIYers.

Beyond magazines and television, the scope of home improvement DIY continues to grow online where most mainstream media outlets now have extensive DIY-focused informational websites such as This Old House , Martha Stewart, Hometalk, and the DIY Network. These are often extensions of their magazine or television brand. The growth of independent online DIY resources is also spiking. [11] The number of homeowners who blog about their experiences continues to grow, along with DIY websites from smaller organizations.

Fashion

Mennonite woman dressmaking (1942) Mennonite Women Dressmaking Pennsylvania 1942.jpg
Mennonite woman dressmaking (1942)

DIY is prevalent amongst the fashion community, with ideas being shared on social media such as YouTube about clothing, jewellery, makeup and hair styles. Techniques include distressing jeans, bleaching jeans, redesigning an old shirt, and studding denim.

The concept of DIY has also emerged within the art and design community. The terms, Hacktivist, Craftivist, or maker have been used to describe creatives working within a DIY framework (Busch). Otto von Busch describes Hacktivism' as "[including] the participant in the process of making, [to give] rise to new attitudes within the ‘maker’ or collaborator" (Busch 49) [12] . Busch suggests that by engaging in participatory forms of fashion, consumers are able step away from the idea of "mass-homogenized 'Mc-Fashion'” (Lee 2003)", as fashion Hacktivism allows consumers to play a more active role in engaging with the clothes they wear (Busch 32).

Subculture

DIY vehicle at Maker Faire, San Mateo, 2016 Vehicle at Maker Faire, San Mateo, 2016.jpg
DIY vehicle at Maker Faire, San Mateo, 2016

DIY as a subculture was brought forward by the punk movement of the 1970s. [13] Instead of traditional means of bands reaching their audiences through large music labels, bands began recording, manufacturing albums and merchandise, booking their own tours, and creating opportunities for smaller bands to get wider recognition and gain cult status through repetitive low-cost DIY touring. The burgeoning zine movement took up coverage of and promotion of the underground punk scenes, and significantly altered the way fans interacted with musicians. Zines quickly branched off from being hand-made music magazines to become more personal; they quickly became one of the youth culture's gateways to DIY culture. This led to tutorial zines showing others how to make their own shirts, posters, zines, books, food, etc.

The terms "DIY" and "do-it-yourself" are also used to describe:

Zines, London Zines-fromlondonsymp07.jpg
Zines, London
Drink mixing robot NYCR Barbot.jpg
Drink mixing robot

Music

Much contemporary DIY music has its origins in the late 1970s punk rock subculture. [16] It developed as a way to circumnavigate the corporate mainstream music industry. [17] By controlling the entire production and distribution chain, DIY bands always can develop a closer relationship between artists and fans. The DIY ethic gives total control over the final product without need to compromise with record major labels. [17]

According to the punk aesthetic, one can express oneself and produce moving and serious works with limited means. [18] Arguably, the earliest example of this attitude[ failed verification ] was the punk music scene of the 1970s. [19]

Riot grrrl, associated with third-wave feminism, also adopted the core values of the DIY punk ethic by leveraging creative ways of communication through zines and other projects. [20]

Adherents of the DIY punk ethic also work collectively. For example, punk impresario David Ferguson's CD Presents was a DIY concert production, recording studio, and record label network. [21]

Film

A form of independent filmmaking characterized by low budgets, skeleton crews, and simple props using whatever is available.

By country

As a means of adaptation during the Cuban Special Period times of economic crisis, resolver ("to resolve") became an important part of Cuban culture. Resolver refers to a spirit of resourcefulness and do-it-yourself problem solving. [22]

India

Jugaad is a colloquial Hindi, Bengali , Marathi, Punjabi, Sindhi and Urdu word, which refers to a non-conventional, frugal innovation, often termed a "hack". [23] It could also refer to an innovative fix or a simple work-around, a solution that bends the rules, or a resource that can be used in such a way. It is also often used to signify creativity: to make existing things work, or to create new things with meager resources.

United States

Rasquache is the English form of the Spanish term rascuache, originally with a negative connotation in Mexico it was recontextualized by the Mexican and Chicano arts movement to describe a specific artistic aesthetic, Rasquachismo, suited to overcoming material and professional limitations faced by artists in the movement. [24]

See also

Related Research Articles

Punk subculture Large subculture

The punk subculture includes a diverse and widely known array of ideologies, fashion, and other forms of expression, visual art, dance, literature and film. It is largely characterised by anti-establishment views, the promotion of individual freedom, DIY ethics, and is centred on a loud, aggressive genre of rock music called punk rock.

Skinhead Member of a subculture that originated among working class youths in London

A skinhead is a member of a subculture which originated among working class youths in London, England, in the 1960s and soon spread to other parts of the United Kingdom, with a second working class skinhead movement emerging worldwide in the late 1970s. Motivated by social alienation and working class solidarity, skinheads are defined by their close-cropped or shaven heads and working-class clothing such as Dr. Martens and steel toe work boots, braces, high rise and varying length straight-leg jeans, and button-down collar shirts, usually slim fitting in check or plain. The movement reached a peak during the 1960s, experienced a revival in the 1980s, and, since then, has endured in multiple contexts worldwide.

Zine Collection of self-published work reproduced by photocopying

A zine is a small-circulation self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images, usually reproduced via a copy machine. Zines are the product of either a single person or of a very small group, and are popularly photocopied into physical prints for circulation. A fanzine is a non-professional and non-official publication produced by enthusiasts of a particular cultural phenomenon for the pleasure of others who share their interest. The term was coined in an October 1940 science fiction fanzine by Russ Chauvenet and popularized within science fiction fandom, entering the Oxford English Dictionary in 1949.

Cassette culture

The cassette culture refers to the practices associated with amateur production and distribution of music and sound art on compact cassette that emerged in the 1970s. Whilst the cassette was used by fine artists and poets for the independent distribution of new work, this article focuses on the independent music scene associated with the cassette that burgeoned internationally in the second half of the 1970s.

Anarcho-punk is punk rock that promotes anarchism. Some use the term broadly to refer to any punk music with anarchist lyrical content, which may figure in crust punk, hardcore punk, folk punk, and other styles.

Punk fashion Fashion of punk subculture

Punk fashion is the clothing, hairstyles, cosmetics, jewellery, and body modifications of the punk subculture. Punk fashion varies widely, ranging from Vivienne Westwood designs to styles modeled on bands like The Exploited to the dressed-down look of North American hardcore. The distinct social dress of other subcultures and art movements, including glam rock, skinheads, rude boys, greasers, and mods have influenced punk fashion. Punk fashion has likewise influenced the styles of these groups, as well as those of popular culture. Many punks use clothing as a way of making a statement.

Queercore is a cultural/social movement that began in the mid-1980s as an offshoot of the punk subculture and a music genre that comes from punk rock. It is distinguished by its discontent with society in general, and specifically society's disapproval of the LGBT community. Queercore expresses itself in a DIY style through magazines, music, writing and film.

Punk zine

A punk zine is a zine related to the punk subculture and hardcore punk music genre. Often primitively or casually produced, they feature punk literature, such as social commentary, punk poetry, news, gossip, music reviews and articles about punk rock bands or regional punk scenes.

Punk ideologies

Punk ideologies are a group of varied social and political beliefs associated with the punk subculture and punk rock. In its original incarnation, the punk subculture originated out of working class angst and the frustrations many youth were feeling about economic inequality and the bourgeois hypocrisy and neglect of working people and their struggles. It was primarily concerned with concepts such as mutual aid, against selling out, egalitarianism, humanitarianism, anti-authoritarianism, anti-consumerism, anti-corporatism, anti-war, decolonization, anti-conservatism, anti-globalization, anti-gentrification, anti-racism, anti-sexism, gender equality, racial equality, health rights, civil rights, animal rights, disability rights, free-thought and non-conformity. One of its main tenets was a rejection of mainstream, corporate mass culture and its values. It continued to evolve its ideology as the movement spread throughout North America from its origins in England and New York and embrace a range of anti-racist and anti-sexist belief systems. Punk ideologies are often Leftist / Anti-capitalist and go against Democrat authoritarian and the Right-wing Christian ideologies.

Slug and Lettuce is a free newsprint punk zine started in State College, Pennsylvania by Chris Boarts in 1987. In 1989 CBL and S&L relocated to New York City where the zine's print run steadily grew and increased to 10,000 with free worldwide distribution. In 1997, CBL and S&L relocated to Richmond, Virginia. Its byline reads "A zine supporting the Do-It-Yourself ethics of the punk community". The print version ended in 2007 with edition #90, and the PO Box was closed in 2016.

<i>Flipside</i> (fanzine) Fanzine based in Pasadena

Flipside, originally known as Los Angeles Flip Side, was a punk zine published in Whittier and Pasadena, California, from 1977 to 2000. The magazine was associated with its own record label, Flipside Records, releasing vinyl records and compact discs beginning in 1978.

Lo-fi music Music aesthetic

Lo-fi is a music or production quality in which elements usually regarded as imperfections of a recording or performance are audible, sometimes as a deliberate aesthetic choice. The standards of sound quality (fidelity) and music production have evolved throughout the decades, meaning that some older examples of lo-fi may not have been originally recognized as such. Lo-fi began to be recognized as a style of popular music in the 1990s, when it became alternately referred to as DIY music.

Punk visual art

Punk visual art is artwork associated with the punk subculture and the No wave movement. It often graces punk rock album covers, flyers for punk concerts and punk zines. It is sometimes showcased in art galleries and exhibition spaces. Indeed, the punk aesthetic was a dominant strand from 1982 to 1986 in the many art galleries of the East Village of Manhattan.

History of the punk subculture

The history of the punk subculture involves the history of punk rock, the history of various punk ideologies, punk fashion, punk visual art, punk literature, dance, and punk film. Since emerging in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia in the mid-1970s, the punk subculture has spread around the globe and evolved into a number of different forms. The history of punk plays an important part in the history of subcultures in the 20th century.

Grinders are people who apply the hacker ethic to improve their own bodies with do it yourself cybernetic devices or introducing Biochemicals into the body to enhance or change their bodies' functionality. Many grinders identify with the biopunk movement, open-source transhumanism, and techno-progressivism. The Grinder movement is strongly associated with the body modification movement and practices actual implantation of cybernetic devices in organic bodies as a method of working towards transhumanism, such as designing and installing do-it-yourself body-enhancements such as magnetic implants. Biohacking emerged in a growing trend of non-institutional science and technology development.

DIY stands for Do it yourself.

ReadyMade was a California, United States, bimonthly magazine which focused on do-it-yourself (DIY) projects involving interior design, making furniture, home improvement, sewing, metalworking, woodworking and other disciplines. It also focused on sustainable design, independent music and DIY culture. The magazine was marketed to people who enjoy creating unique items to have at home and wear and featured projects which could often be completed with everyday materials, such as household items.

<i>Sluggo!</i>

Sluggo! was an Austin, Texas fanzine covering the late 1970s punk rock/new wave music scene.

Maker culture Community interested in do-it-yourself technical pursuits

The maker culture is a contemporary subculture representing a technology-based extension of DIY culture that intersects with hardware-oriented parts of hacker culture and revels in the creation of new devices as well as tinkering with existing ones. The maker culture in general supports open-source hardware. Typical interests enjoyed by the maker culture include engineering-oriented pursuits such as electronics, robotics, 3-D printing, and the use of computer numeric control tools, as well as more traditional activities such as metalworking, woodworking, and, mainly, its predecessor, traditional arts and crafts. The subculture stresses a cut-and-paste approach to standardized hobbyist technologies, and encourages cookbook re-use of designs published on websites and maker-oriented publications. There is a strong focus on using and learning practical skills and applying them to reference designs. There is also growing work on equity and the maker culture.

Riot grrrl is an underground feminist punk movement that began during the early 1990s within the United States in Olympia, Washington and the greater Pacific Northwest and has expanded to at least 26 other countries. Riot grrrl is a subcultural movement that combines feminism, punk music and politics. It is often associated with third-wave feminism, which is sometimes seen as having grown out of the riot grrrl movement and has recently been seen in fourth-wave feminist punk music that rose in the 2010s. The genre has also been described as coming out of indie rock, with the punk scene serving as an inspiration for a movement in which women could express themselves the same way men have been doing all along. To quote Liz Naylor, who would become the manager of riot grrrl band Huggy Bear:

There was a lot of anger and self-mutilation. In a symbolic sense, women were cutting and destroying the established image of femininity, aggressively tearing it down.

References

  1. Wolf & McQuitty (2011). Understanding the Do-It-Yourself Consumer: DIY Motivation and Outcomes. Academy of Marketing Science Review
  2. Wolf & McQuitty (2011)
  3. Gelber (1997). Do-It-Yourself: Construction, Repairing and Maintaining Domestic Masculinity. American Quarterly. doi:10.1353/aq.1997.0007
  4. 1 2 McKellar, S.; Sparke, P. (eds.). Interior Design and Identity.
  5. Newsletter of the Hellenic Society of Archaeometry, N.110, May 2010, p.84
  6. Ancient Building Came With DIY Instructions, Discovery News, Mon Apr 26, 2010
  7. Ancient Building Comes with Assembly Instructions, (photos), Discovery News
  8. "A history of Do It Yourself (DIY): infographic". Stonetack. 7 February 2018. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  9. Comm, Joel (19 May 2017). "Why the Huge Do-It-Yourself Market Is Just Getting Started". Inc.com. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  10. Watts, Alan et al. "Houseboat Summit" in The San Francisco Oracle, issue #7. San Francisco.
  11. Wall Street Journal, September 2007
  12. von Busch, O. Fashion-able, Hacktivism and engaged Fashion Design, PhD Thesis, School of Design and Crafts (HDK), Gothenburg. 2008, https://gupea.ub.gu.se/bitstream/2077/17941/3/gupea_2077_17941_3.pdf.
  13. Triggs, Teal (March 2006). "Triggs, Teal (2006) Scissors and Glue: Punk Fanzines and the Creation of a DIY Aesthetic, in "Journal of Design History", vo. 19, n. 1, pp. 69-83". Journal of Design History. 19 (1): 69–83. doi:10.1093/jdh/epk006. S2CID   154677104. Yet, it remains within the subculture of punk music where the homemade, A4, stapled and photocopied fanzines of the late 1970s fostered the "do-it-yourself" (DIY) production techniques of cut-n-paste letterforms, photocopied and collaged images, hand-scrawled and typewritten texts, to create a recognizable graphic design aesthetic.
  14. "DIY guide to screen printing t-shirts for cheap" . Retrieved 24 September 2007. Ever wonder where bands get their T-shirts made? Some of them probably go to the local screen printers and pay a bunch of money to have their shirts made up, then they have to turn around and sell them to you for a high price. Others go the smart route, and do it themselves. Here's a quick how-to on the cheap way to going about making T-shirts.
  15. Pearce, Joshua M. 2012. "Building Research Equipment with Free, Open-Source Hardware." Science337 (6100): 1303–1304.open access
  16. Mumford, Gwilym. "Eagulls, Hookworms, Joanna Gruesome: how UK music scenes are going DIY". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  17. 1 2 Albini, Steve. "Steve Albini on the surprisingly sturdy state of the music industry – in full". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  18. David Byrne, Jeremy Deller (2010) Audio Games, in Modern Painters , March 1, 2010. "I think I embrace a bit of the punk aesthetic that one can express oneself with two chords if that’s all you know, and likewise one can make a great film with limited means or skills or clothes or furniture. It’s just as moving and serious as works that employ great skill and craft sometimes. Granted, when you learn that third chord, or more, you don’t have to continue making 'simple' things, unless you want to. Sometimes that’s a problem."
  19. "Oxford Journal of Design History Webpage". Archived from the original on 30 June 2006. Retrieved 24 September 2007. Yet, it remains within the subculture of punk music where the homemade, A4, stapled and photocopied fanzines of the late 1970s fostered the ‘do-it-yourself’ (DIY) production techniques of cut-n-paste letterforms, photocopied and collaged images, hand-scrawled and typewritten texts, to create a recognizable graphic design aesthetic.
  20. Bennet, Andy; Peterson, Richard A. (2004). "Music scenes: local, translocal and virtuas". pp. 116–117. ISBN   9780826514516.
  21. Jarrell, Joe (26 September 2004). "Putting Punk in Place--Among the Classics". San Francisco Chronicle . pp. PK–45.
  22. García Martínez, Antonio (July 26, 2017). "Inside Cuba's D.I.Y. Internet Revolution". Wired . ISSN   1059-1028.
  23. "जुगाड़" [creative improvisation]. aamboli.com (in Hindi).
  24. "A lesson in "rasquachismo" art: Chicano aesthetics & the "sensibilities of the barrio"". Smithsonian Insider. 31 January 2017. Retrieved 20 April 2018.

Further reading