A lot of people these days don’t find value in handmade items. The mentality is such that “if I’ve got the cash to purchase things, why would I want to waste my time and effort?”
I have to admit that
I’m I was one of them. For some unknown reason, I used to perceive handmade things as lesser quality. Instead of appreciating the quirks that come with each handmade item, I saw them as imperfections. Maybe because life wasn’t perfect (it will never be, surprise surprise), I sought perfection from material objects. I also saw the use of handmade items to be an indicator of wealth. If I were to use or be associated with something that was made by a family member, it would be a telltale sign that my family didn’t have the funds to purchase things for me. How twisted was that thinking? Especially coming from a young student who had yet to experience the hardships of making a living.
I never thought much about using my hands much until a few months ago, I started discovering beautiful photos of handmade woollen products on Instagram. I had a lightbulb moment and realised that I might have found something fun to fill in that creative void. There I was, at the beginning of the scorching Aussie summer, itching to pick up some yarn and needles. I’m not going to lie, I did feel like I was turning into a “granny” with my newfound interest. I looked into knitting courses but resorted to Youtube instead to guide my first steps. There was an abundant of instructional videos available so venturing into this completely brand new territory wasn’t the least terrifying. I wasn’t trying to prove anything to anyone so that took a lot of the anxiety and stress away from feeling incompetent. I’m still learning (there are just endless things to experiment and make!) and I truly find joy in being able to use my hands to produce things to bless my family and friends with. Says who that knitting and crocheting are uncool?!
Richard Christiansen, the founder of Chandelier Creative (think clients like Yahoo and JPG) said in Renegade Collective Issue 18 (pg.126-130) “I’m a huge advocate of making things with your hands; getting away from your screens. So we surf and fish. I make honey and chicken”. This guy could seemingly purchase anything that his heart desires but he still chooses to use what I consider as the most primitive tool in the world and actually enjoys it. That to me is rather beautiful and humbling.
Handmade items are so precious. Advancement of technology and cheap labour no longer make handmade items as cost effective as they once were but there’s so much to gain in the process. There’s a myriad of skills that one could pick up and believe me, if you open your hearts towards what your hands are capable of doing, you would be thoroughly surprised, in a good way.