Monday, October 21, 2013

The Oxymoron of Manufactured Handmade

Photo above - Small seed beaded earrings featuring a pumpkin motif. 
There have been distractions lately.  Normally I handle distraction well but for the past few weeks I've chosen to ignore them.  Rather than dwell on these distractions  I've buried myself in making jewelry.   I find it calming, this simple task of beading.  Concentrating upon  an intricate peyote pattern, counting the beads, like counting stitches in a cross stitch pattern, relaxes me,  occupies my hands,  keeps my mind busy and, most importantly, satisfies that spirit within me that craves to create something. 

 Photos above and below - 2 drop peyote bracelet, in progress.  Holly pattern courtesy of  Fusion Beads.

I don't think  I am an odd-ball to feel this way,  I'm sure most of you can relate to this feeling of serenity as you paint, sketch, sew, crochet, knit etc. etc.  The mind seems mesmerized by what it's doing and all that other "clutter", those shouts that echo and ricochet from one brain cell to another, are temporarily silenced.

Photo above - Seed bead hank put together using my bead spinner


Photo above - For some reason, to me anyway, these seed bead hanks remind me of Egyptian jewelry - very regal.  I made one necklace using these beads before and thought about offering these as destash on etsy but lately my etsy shop has been like a morgue -  really, really dead. Hanks are 22" long and contain 12 strands.  If anyone is interested send me an email with your inquiry.
Ah yes and etsy!  Etsy's been one of those distractions that I've been trying not to dwell over.  All of etsy's changes, their  embracing of big handmade "manufacturers" ,  it's something I am still having a hard time assimilating.   How can something be handmade if the construction of the item is farmed out to others for  mass production ? 
When handmade becomes manufactured it loses its heart and soul and also its worth vastly diminishes.  It becomes no different than the items one would find on the shelves at Wal-Mart.  Mass produced, manufactured goods are not crafted with the devotion and passion as that of a product made one at a time by one person.  Would a Picasso painting be worth as much if Picasso had a factory manufacture his masterpieces, cranking out hundreds at a time ?  Would people value them as much?  Would they be willing to pay the hundreds of thousands of dollars for these knock-offs?   
We all pretty much know the answer to that.  No!  No one would pay the same price for a Picasso that was not painted by the great  twentieth century artist himself.   
So why would anyone wish to purchase somebody's stuffed armadillo toy that's manufactured in China and pay the same price as when it was lovingly handmade by the artist ?  Well that beats me, I really don't know.  Perhaps they don't realize that what they're buying is no longer truly a part of the once vibrant and untarnished Handmade Movement that once  flourished on etsy? Unfortunately on etsy that movement now appears to be drowning in a rising sea of manufactured "handmade" products.

Photo above - Pumpkin motif seed beaded earrings.  These were fun to create and I confess I ended up creating several in Christmas colors of red, green, white and or gold.  Some had candy cane stripes, some had diamond designs or hearts or holly berry motifs, but they all kept me happy and busy.  For anyone that lives in my neck of Florida all of my seed beaded holiday earrings can be seen first hand at Sandra French's Gallery in the Village of The Arts in Bradenton Florida.
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