When I'm working I always strive to do the best I can. To work hard to produce quality goods. Now, I may not be the brightest cookie in the pack (I'm known for my dippy moments) but I'm conscientious and I aim for a good quality product.
As I develop my style and learn new production techniques I am beginning to realise that with hand-made items you can't always achieve what you would normally class as 'perfection'. I'm never going to get the same level of precision as I would with a machine based product. But do we want precision in a hand-made product?
Take cakes as an example. Put a shop bought Victoria Sponge cake next to a home-made Victoria Sponge and have a look to see which one looks more appetising. I think most of us would go with the home-made version, as it looks exactly that - 'home-made.'
We want the home-made cake because it doesn't look perfect. It looks as if it has been lovingly made by hand in a cosy kitchen. It looks personal and as if there has been a level of care and a sense of pride in making it.
That cake has been especially made for someone. Whether it's a tea-time treat for the family, or baked for a special occasion, the effort gone into making it has been for someone in mind.
The same level of thoughtfulness, love, care and attention also goes into making items/products by hand. My background is graphic design where the utmost precision is required and I work in millimetres to ensure 100 per cent accuracy. So stepping away from the computer and working more by hand is a whole different ball game and I'm embracing the freedom. For example, I love the way hand-stamped letters form their own layout due to the lack of control of where the letters land on the surface. This makes each piece I make totally unique. There will never be two exactly the same.
In a small business offering hand-made products, each piece is made with individual customers in mind. It may even be a personalised or bespoke request, so I will understand who is the recipient and why I'm producing it and this makes us makers smile.
Each hand-made product has a story behind it. There has been many trials and errors during the process, experimenting with techniques and materials in order to achieve the best final piece. And there may even have been the odd tear and swear word. Oops!
I do find it quite amusing that some mass produced products are now being made to look as if they have been hand-made, but each one of them look exactly the same as each other. It totally defeats the object of a truly hand-made product.
I love the quirkiness of a hand-made object, the love that has gone into making it and the story behind each piece.
And the best thing, is that with every individual sale, the maker smiles the biggest smile and does a little happy dance because a sale is the biggest compliment they can receive for their work. It makes all the trials and errors, the frustration when something doesn't work out the way they thought, all worth while and gives them that nudge to carry on making.
So thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you lovely people who buy from makers and small businesses. We love being able to do our little happy dance.
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