Necessity is the mother of invention.
I learned about building wheels as a kid, because I insisted on cycling my racer all over the hills, (or mountains as you English would call them).
No way I could afford to go to the bike shop for repairs, all my pocket money went on things I couldn't make myself and parts.
Wheel building is no great art.
It is craft, and anyone can get a handle on it with a bit of practise.
At the basic level at least.
It is amazingly skilful at the higher end.
Once you start dishing wheels etc. it gets more involved, but at the end of the day it is still just a case of practise for what most of us need.
So much more satisfying than buying them ready made, but buying machine made Alex wheels and tuning them up can work out as cheap as well!