Okay, I might usually try and do this in January, but that didn’t happen.
Now it’s February. And the latter part of February at that and I’m updating my site.
I’ve done some sort of redesign most years since I’ve had the site.
I started this back in 1999 according to my records. Using the Internet Archive (or Wayback Machine) it looks like mossor.org goes back to at least the start of 2000 in various incarnations.
So, this is the start of probably the eight year of having a personal web page.
I was thinking about why I have a personal web page. Sometimes it’s been to share things like when I was doing CG animation (the results can still be seen at Desktop Studios). Sometimes it’s been to share photos from trips with family. Much of it has probably been just to have something to learn about and play with. I’ve learned HTML and now some CSS for web styling and even touched a bit of PHP. I’ve spent time working with Photoshop for graphic design.
Then when I was in the midst of fiddling with the front page yet again, I wondered why the heck I was doing this. Do I care that perhaps no one will see the result or read anything I happen to write? Maybe not. If someone creates something and no one sees it, does the act of creation still matter?
If an artist (not that I’m claiming the status) were to paint his entire life but hide the results in an attic until his death, sharing with no one, is it still art? Does art require the participation of a viewer to be art? I don’t know the answer.
Same thing applies to the web page and this writing. If no one were to read it or view it or interact with it, is the act of creation sufficient to justify the time and effort? Maybe so.
Maybe it is enough to simply create for the sake of creation.
And maybe it’s enough to make something just to learn how.
I have built a few Adirondack chairs using a plan I found on the web (google “Jake’s Chair” to see what built). Does it matter that I only made them for myself as an exercise in woodworking? I never sold them or shared them with others, other than offering a chair to a visitor. But I still made it and enjoyed the act of creation and the process and the learning.
Interesting side note: There is someone selling those chairs for $225, including the footstool. They’re asking $225 for both. I assume that’s for a built chair and stool. Even with (relatively) inexpensive cedar, I think the materials are close to $100 if I recall. Maybe $80. That means the maker is netting let’s say $150 for the work. It’s not a tough thing to build, especially after you have built a pattern, some blanks and done your first chair. If they’re clearing $100, they’re making … maybe $10/hour? I’m not sure I’d be willing to build them at that rate. A pair can consume a weekend really easily, especially if you seal and/or stain them. Anyway, that’s off topic, but does touch on the subject of art or craft for profit. That’s another good reason to create, if you can pay for your time.
Back on topic: Is it sufficient for a personal web site, or any other crafted thing, to exist solely for the exercise, for the personal enjoyment and for the learning? Sure, I think that’s reasonable.