What is a bricoleur?


Q: What is a bricoleur?

A: Someone who engages in bricolage.


Q: OK, smarty pants, what is bricolage then?

A: According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary bricolage is “construction (as of a sculpture or a structure of ideas) achieved by using whatever comes to hand; also : something constructed in this way.”

They also add: “According to French social anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss, the artist “shapes the beautiful and useful out of the dump heap of human life.” Lévi-Strauss compared this artistic process to the work of a handyman who solves technical or mechanical problems with whatever materials are available. He referred to that process of making do as bricolage, a term derived from the French verb bricoler (meaning “to putter about”) and related to bricoleur, the French name for a jack-of-all-trades. Bricolage made its way from French to English during the 1960s, and it is now used for everything from the creative uses of leftovers (“culinary bricolage”) to the cobbling together of disparate computer parts (“technical bricolage”).”


Q: Why do you call yourself a bricoleur?

A: Its the best term I’ve found to describe what it is that I do: a little of this and a little of that, combining and assembling things to form something new.  My work involves building things, concepts, systems, people, communities, and organizations out of what already exists to create a renewed future.