What Makes a Maker?

Meet Cindi Axtell of Deuxième Vie, a place where makers can create using donated recyclable products! Local artists also sell their products there. Everything sold at Deuxième Vie is composed of at least 75% reused materials. While there are no in-house project events going on now, they have a list of project ideas on their website where you can purchase materials and instructions. Find inspiration amongst everyday objects or spark your next idea at Deuxième Vie!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started making things.

I don’t actually remember a moment when I first started making things. Coming from a long line of makers on both sides of my family, it has always been who I am. I think my surroundings, curiosity, and creativity created a perfect storm for “making.” (Although, I didn’t have a name for it at that time.)

Somewhere in my 30s, I realized not everyone was a maker. That made me want to open a place where people could access tools of any kind to make various things, giving them access to items they didn’t have at home or couldn’t afford, but the liability stopped me.


What does the term “Maker” mean to you?

A maker to me is someone that thinks creatively about what they need in their life but doesn’t need to buy something that already exists. They are ok with having a unique item that is not the same as everyone else, kind of an inventor of sorts. This can be applied to anything really. It’s a matter of what you need and your ability to create it.

A maker is also proud of their creation. Where some may look at it as a solution for people without money, I look at it as being a good steward of the earth and my soul. A maker doesn’t have to be someone who makes robots or a piece of art. A maker is someone who makes something from something else… there are unlimited possibilities.


Who or what inspires you?

Most of my inspiration comes from seeing something and thinking it is cool in some aspect. But then I ask myself, how can it be used? How can I make it different or better? How can it become functional in a new way?


Is making your hobby or business? How does it relate, if at all, to your day job?

Making has been a way of life for me. It is more than a hobby, but I guess it could be described as such. But in a way it is now my business. As I mentioned before, I had a longing to bring making to the world! 30 years later, I am now providing access to items that could be transformed into something new and useful. And I am sparking the inspiration to create in people.


Why is making important to you?

It expands your mind and is rewarding to know I did this! Making is a different way of thinking about everything. When I look at something, I don’t see the same things other people see. I see possibility and I also see a challenge. As a society, I feel we rely on ready made items too often. Making is a survival skill as well. For example, I don’t buy processed food, I grow what I can and cook from scratch. That’s a maker, too.


What have you made that you are most proud of?

I think my greatest creation is me. I am proud of my strengths and uniqueness. It frightens some people because they can’t relate but these are the things that allowed me to bring Deuxième Vie Creative to fruition. It has not been an easy road by any means, but the rewards have been so breathtakingly beautiful.

I am so rewarded when strangers tell me how much they are inspired just by being in the retail location. I love when I see children and adults alike beam with pride at their creations. When an aspiring artist can find affordable art materials to further their creativity. When a donation comes from a family member of a loved one that is having to let go of their materials that they treasured but can no longer use. There is an emotional attachment and they want them to be in the hands of someone that can use them. Deuxième Vie is that resource.


What would you make if you had unlimited resources?

I would love to “make” a space for creative play. Where all are welcome and you just get to create with no inhibitions, no restrictions on how it should look.


What up-and-coming maker trends excite you the most?

Gosh, I guess I am not well versed on trends. I really don’t know.


What advice can you give someone who wants to get involved in the Maker movement?

Well, you could come to Deuxième Vie Creative for some inspiration or to find information about local maker group meetings. You can also get information about making from the downtown library. You don’t have to be a maker yet– just be interested!

Tell us something surprising about yourself.

Hmmmm, I am full of surprises!