As I stroll down the aisle ways of a local big box retailer, I am overwhelmed with how much product fills the shelves in every department. It literally turns my stomach to see so many rows of mass produced items, as far as the eye can see. Why are we making so much? Have we really become a throw away, only new will due society?
My mother has been knitting all her life. She loves creating beautiful blankets, sweaters and handmade accessories for people. I could never compare a machine knitted Afghan bought inexpensively with a handcrafted knit from a true artisan, like my mother. There is no comparison. Have we forgotten the value of handmade?
We need to dig into the heart of the matter. What does mass production really mean? It means bulk buying which forces lowering cost on raw materials. Lowering cost on raw materials may create more profit for larger scale businesses but often it reflects poorer quality goods at so called bargain prices.
What this says is bigger corporation’s get a better profit but at the detriment of the poor. Many people worldwide are forced into jobs with little pay and harsh working environments which have an adverse effect on their environment, social development and their ability to grow economically.
How can we change our attitude towards handmade versus mass-produced goods? We simply need to understand the true value of what we purchase and why we purchase. If you are buying an item simply to keep up with a trend or neighbor than you will never find happiness in any particular piece you buy. It is simply here today and gone tomorrow. This attitude is why our landfills are so full.
Handmade is Made to Last
Most handcrafted goods will far outlast a cheaply, fast fashioned good any day. If you have ever gone to a second hand shop or flea market you often find antique furnishings still surviving and going strong after years of use. It’s because they are made well and created to last a lifetime versus a season.
Of course many would argue the cost of a pre-made item is much cheaper and easy to keep within a particular means of a budget. However, are you really saving money in the long run when you have to replace an item much sooner than if you had paid a bit extra for better quality?
Handmade is Unique to You
There is no need to keep up with the Jones’s because a handmade object is unique. Even if it’s one of a series, each one will be slightly different from the next. If you own a handmade, unique piece of work then only you in the whole world own it. How’s that for having the edge on everyone else? Each handmade piece of work is as unique as each person in the world.
Handmade is Authentic
Many big box retailers want their product to replicate the handmade look and feel, but it’s a complete fake. Rather than give you the real handmade item, they want to sell you a machine-produced copy. The difference is similar to owning a real diamond versus a cubic zirconium. Both are beautiful, but I know which one I would cherish and value a whole lot more.
Handmade Celebrates Traditions
Buying handmade keeps traditional making skills alive which we are in danger of losing. Buying well-made crafted pieces allows us to truly celebrate our unique culture and heritage by passing down a legacy that can be enjoyed long after we are gone.
Next time you are in need of an item, whether it's clothing, an accessory or piece of furniture, take a moment to think about what you are investing. If you want it to last you will rethink and base your choice on quality made rather than quantity made. The choice is up to you!