Deb Ryan celebrates, values, and profoundly appreciates the opportunity she has to participate in building a community of artists working with their hands to create and share the beauty and versatility of their craft. It is an expression of true communal dedication. At Makers Mill, it is a celebration of our creative potential and cooperative growth.
Deb Ryan is a metalsmith in jewelry making who was drawn to an ad in The Laker newspaper about Makers Mill in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. After reading the ad, she was immediately inspired to join this community effort to share the gratification and the joys of creativity with a community of learners. Deb had previously taken part in workshops in Massachusetts, but she found the call to Wolfeboro to be an irresistible invitation. When asked why she was drawn to Wolfeboro, Deb responds with a smile. “People are ‘nice’ here. People talk to us, to one another. It is also, of course, a place that throbs with natural beauty.”
Deb is eloquent in describing the tremendous role creating with one’s hands can play in expanding and celebrating one’s life experience. “Working with your hands puts you in contact with the material world,” Deb explains. “When you work with your hands, you see the result. You can have the experience of mastering one thing in your environment. In today’s world, people feel less control over the world and the environment. The way things work often seems hidden from us. In the act of metalsmithing, our hands are creating in unchartered territory. This artistry brings the mastery of math, physics, and aesthetics together in an act of creativity.” Deb also points out that this creative field pushes back against the costs and destructive impact of our “throw away” society. It provides an answer to some central questions that can help direct us to a more constructive and fulfilling life. “Can we throw things away less? Can we value things more? Can we build it ourselves? Can we enrich our life experience?” As Deb affirms, “There is an inherent sense of joy in creating it ourselves.”
When asked what she does for fun in her new community, Deb explains that she and. her family have taken up kayaking, an activity so well suited to the Lakes Region. She and her husband have also taken up music lessons in both the banjo and the fiddle. These are perfect activities for the creative lifestyle they so appreciate and celebrate. Even their dog Daisy is a celebration. As a rescue from Tennessee, Deb asserts Daisy is indeed a “wonder dog.”
Deb sees her presence at Makers Mill as an opportunity for older people to become engaged in teaching and sharing with younger people, a central focus of a healthy and meaningful human society. “At my age,” Deb affirms, “I want to share.” At Makers Mill we can engage those who have left the work force to help younger people explore who they are. What could be a more rewarding and unifying experience? When we become members of a gym, we join to take care of your bodies. Makers Mill is a place we can join to take care of and to nurture our mind and spirit.” For Deb, Makers Mill offers the opportunity for team work. “Success isn’t success unless we all get there together. Team work is so important in that process. Team work expands to community.” Deb points out that The League of New Hampshire Craftsmen with whom she has taken classes with teachers she deeply respects shares the same goal, i.e. to educate the young. “We do not compete. We come together to enrich our community. We’re a greater community of artists looking to enrich the place in which we live.”