Is there an English word that describes the process or time spent finding your own materials and/or tools to produce a work?

For example, what would you call all of the following similar processes?

  • Becoming a master (in medieval guild systems) required crafting a masterpiece using your own tools and materials
  • Making a Wiccan wand requires finding your own branch and materials
  • Earning a doctorate requires doing your own research and findings to produce a thesis or dissertation

The term "rite of passage" comes to mind, but that's more associated with an event or ceremony for a life transition.

Edit: Using it in a sentence could be "I'm ______ a masterpiece/wand/dissertation" if a verb or "It is a requirement to ______ to become a master/wiccan/doctorate."

  • 1
    Welcome to EL&U! For [single-word-requests], it is deemed good practice to provide a sentence with a gap, e.g. "When I poke a jelly and it makes a wavy motion, it is _____.", to which the answer might be "wobbling". Jan 17, 2019 at 8:13
  • Would something like "preparing for" work?
    – Mike
    Apr 24, 2019 at 22:48

4 Answers 4


Doing something with only your own resources is considered to be doing something from scratch:


1 : from a point at which nothing has been done ahead of time
// build a school system from scratch
2 : without using a prepared mixture of ingredients
// bake a cake from scratch

There are of course different degrees of meaning attached to from scratch. Baking a cake without using a mix is said to be from scratch in the example sentence from the dictionary. But somebody could argue that it's not really from scratch because, for instance, you still went to the grocery store to buy eggs rather than getting them from chickens raised on your own farm.

  • The doctorate example really runs counter to this, as while it's a huge piece of one's own work, it's also built on previous work into which it fits.
    – Chris H
    Jan 17, 2019 at 18:01
  • @ChrisH Not if I only do my own original research. In other words, I don't review what anybody else has done, but conduct my own studies. That's how I understood it to be meant in the question. Jan 17, 2019 at 18:03
  • developing the methods used? Making the experimental kit (mine is in physics, and involved a lot of designing and building kit but I didn't make my own lasers)? Or (in something like history) using no secondary sources at all? I doubt you'd find a PhD thesis that doesn't cite a significant body of prior work, and not just as background.
    – Chris H
    Jan 17, 2019 at 19:12
  • @ChrisH Note that the question in relation to a doctorate mentions only research and findings, it doesn't say anything about methods. But your objection then becomes analogous to saying that buying eggs from the store is not from scratch because you didn't produce the eggs yourself, something that I already covered. You're assigning a particular degree to the phrase. I could even take the argument further in a kind of slippery-slope manner. At which point, there is no word in the world that could stand up to the meaning you intend. Jan 17, 2019 at 19:26
  • You have a point, but methods means different things in different fields. I'm not sure the doctorate example is a great fit to the question, but it's certainly not a great fit to "from scratch"
    – Chris H
    Jan 17, 2019 at 19:50


Describes the status of a person moving from having learned a trade as an apprentice under a master and being certified as capable to work in the craft. This status is held until the person, having honed their own skills through practice, achieves mastering the craft.

See Encyclopedia Britannica section for addition reference. Link

  • Can "Journeyman" be used as a verb?
    – Mike
    Apr 24, 2019 at 22:46
  • I don’t believe so; a journeyman practices a trade. Apr 25, 2019 at 0:30

I really like the existing answer "from scratch," which seems to capture the full sense of what you mean.

However, if it's a verb you're after, I'd suggest: "improvise," "cobble," "concoct," "produce," "put together." I can't find this usage in a dictionary, but in the Southern United States I've heard "divine" used this way (as in, produce something from nothing). For more elaborate wording, "independently produce" or "cobble together" may convey additional meaning.


I think, it's mobilization
from the verb 'to mobilize'.

According to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mobilize:


: to release (something stored in the organism) for bodily use

// The body  mobilizes its antibodies

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