I’ve been thinking about hand-made arts this week. I’m forgetting who wrote it, but someone wrote about manufactured products and that people rarely work on the whole product, they work on a part.
My most loved items have a hand-made history. I bought a sweater, or should I say jumper, in Scotland over 30 years ago. I bought it, up in the most northerly area of Scotland, in the town of Tongue. Yes, that is the name. I don’t remember the cost, but it was more than the factory “outlet” sweaters in the shops in most towns. Tongue is a little blip on the map and the store looked like an old farmhouse. My sweater has no label inside. What company would allow that to pass quality control? Having worn it to the point of needing repairs, I took it to a local yarn shop to have the elbow patched. The woman there said the yarns of my sweater were all natural dyes. She could only approximate the color of the patchwork. I didn’t care as long as I could keep wearing that sweater. I’ve received numerous compliments on my Tongue jumper and hope it holds out another 20 years. I love it because I believe it is hand-made.
I was back in Scotland about 15 years ago and again bought a sweater from an outlet shop. This sweater had a label that told me it had been hand knitted by Mrs. Brady. I also receive compliments and love it for being hand-made.
There is a feeling knowing that someone put their heart and hands through that piece. To know that makes it much more powerful. Mrs. Brady’s fingers handled every bit of that yarn to make my sweater.
What other things do we know for a fact is hand-made? A home cooked meal, made especially for you. That hand print, in clay, your kids made in school. Paintings and other arts are all hand-made and the growers of your food at the farmers markets are often right in front of you.
Hand-made is also an economy. I don’t claim to be an economist, but I do know that buying an item from the maker keeps the economy in the neighborhood.
So, what brought this on? I’ve been looking at other spoon carvers websites and they all are individuals that put their heart into each spoon or ladle. Their hands rubbed over that piece numerous times to feel its smoothness. His or her knife and axe was hand sharpened then chipped and sliced that ladle. Human hands and clean, quiet tools carved a spoon. I know, because as I carve a utensil, my fingers feel the item as I sandpaper it smoother with each pass. My pride goes into each piece.
There are many cottage industries that any household can start. You don’t need to list on the DOW . For a while I sold lettuce to a neighbor. It only took some gardening and a $2.00 packet of seeds. There are many ways to create a small income if you look.
To end, next time you have the opportunity to purchase a hand-made piece, know it was made with pride.
Thanks again for reading.