The “Make” in Make Merry is no coincidence. When Krista and I set out, not only did we intend to collect beautiful things, we wanted to make them. For, along with being hoarders, we are both makers, and as makers we love to work with our hands; I would even say we need to. While there are all sorts of types of makers, Krista and I are the quiet sort—both sitting towards the introverted end of the Myers Briggs; we both relish and are recharged by spending time, each to our own, working on mindless little projects.
The winter before opening Make Merry Krista and I made bunting, cocktail napkins, ribbon garlands, and signs—time-consuming tasks that may have slowed our start, but they nursed us through the winter and gave us the energy and enthusiasm to proceed.
Since launching Make Merry we‘ve been busy bees. With all of the photographing, styling, blogging, policy development, website construction, wedding shows, and networking (merry though it’s been!) we haven’t had or made a lot of time for real, hands on making. So, while we feel good about what we’ve accomplished, without a little making, things can feel like a grind sometimes.
Krista’s been a maker for as long as I’ve known her—since high school, and don’t ask how long ago that’s been! Besides being a talented photographer, and doing some beautiful oil paintings, Krista makes whimsical, childlike drawings, and cuts a mean figure as well –if you want her to cut you one, let us know!
Almost everything that Krista creates has an aura of nostalgia for decades long past that she never lived in, but she should have. There’s a Welsh word for this called “hiraeth”—a longing for a place that may have never existed or grief for the lost places of your past. I hope Krista gets this tattooed on her body one day, as it’s certainly written on her generationally displaced soul.
I too have always been a maker of sorts. In elementary school I was the resident specialist at drawing pyramids and wolves, and built elaborate cardboard robots. In high school I moved on to life drawing, and painting with watercolor and oil. I fear I was never as creative as I was fastidious and physically persistent (I am a doer more than an artist) but the desire and basic skills were inside of me, nonetheless, and this meant a lot to me. My crowning achievement in high school was winning the art award for my graduating class; I was prouder of this than many things that I’ve accomplished since, which perhaps says something about my heart, where I’ve started, and where I’ve taken myself since.
After high school I hit a fork in the road: art school or academics. The responsible streak in me, the pragmatist, the girl with fine tastes, decided that being a starving artist wouldn’t be all that glamorous for very long, and that university was a better, more secure and lucrative path (I didn’t push this line of thinking further to realize that the humanities isn’t exactly the path to a gold mine, nor could I predict the drastic shifts that would occur in job market trends, but hey, I tried).
Since that time I’ve been haunted by Robert Frost. I love the man: “Two roads diverged in a wood”— I have always wondered what would have happened if I’d taken that road less travelled—if I had followed my passion for visual arts along.
It’s not that I regret the path I chose, but although all of my years of schooling (7), university degrees (2) professional training (varied), and work experience have done well, they have also led me to a cubicle and to a laptop. Most university degrees lead to seven plus daily hours of a screen time these days, and it’s a shame. It’s a ball and chain for makers and doers.
These days, besides co-owning Make Merry I coordinate a healthcare education program. This is a wonderful program that benefits patients and families and the healthcare system as well. I love my job, and it has afforded me the opportunity to do some good quality making and doing in other facets of my life. I’ve been wielding my paintbrush on the plaster walls of home renovation instead of canvas for a good number of years now, which likely suits me better and is more cathartic than portraiture anyway. But, after many hours a day of writing and responding to emails, I can feel it in my bones. It’s a carpal tunnel that makes its way into my mind.
A few Fridays ago I hit a pit. After a busy week, struggling to run the car up our long, icy driveway once again, I fell bottom up on the frozen slip and slide which is our back parking lot. I had had enough. I swore up and down. But, this time, instead of spending a night taking solace in Netflix and Instagram and falling deeper into the hibernation which is February I decided it was time to buck up and make something. I made this sign.
With my injured wrist banging a nail for every winter morning that I’d dragged myself out of bed before the light, for every day I’d layered long johns beneath my jeans and stumbled over six inches of ice to my windowless office, weaving light around letters— hours passed and at the end of it I felt alive, and I didn’t feel frustrated anymore. I had made something. My anger had borne good fruit.
A couple of weeks ago Krista too reached her February breaking point and made paper cranes. Of all of the photographing and social media planning that Krista could have done for Make Merry in an hour, she spent it making fourteen paper cranes. If you do the math paper cranes aren’t the best return on investment, and likely aren’t where Krista should be spending her limited spare time.
Yet, making paper cranes— this is the important work—the work of making, and so it isn’t about all of the usual business of efficiency or effectiveness, or value added tasks. For, when you are a maker, not only are you giving of your time and labor, you are giving from the depths of yourself, and in return you are receiving what you need. I’d reckon it’s difficult to put a price on that, as much as I’d like to try.
Now that we’re into late winter and wedding season planning is kicking into gear, Make Merry’s inbox has been heating up, and so with other full-time jobs besides, Krista and I have been and will no doubt continue to find ourselves getting busier and busier. While there are no doubt many more productive things we could be doing with our time to build our business, for our sanity and for the sake of sustaining the passion for our business we are going to commit to carving out a little bit of time to keep representing the Make in Make Merry.
I invite you to come along for the ride and check us out on Instagram to see what we’re making, and if you don’t see any making posts for a while, feel free to call us to task!