I grew up in a house full of handmade, do-it-yourself spirit. My pop’s a mechanical engineer and a born fixer – the summer after we moved in, he designed and built our deck; a few years ago, it was our finished basement. And my mama has been sewing her whole life: her outfits, my outfits, curtains, blankets, doll clothes; she’s also contributed to my possibilities addiction when it comes to unloved furniture. They were taught by their parents, in turn, so you can say I’ve gained my creative spirit through honest means. I’ve never had reason to doubt my hands, because I grew up surrounded by hands that were capable of anything.
Not everyone is surrounded by such displays of human possibility. There are plenty of reasons, but for many, creativity is not believed to be possible.
It’s easy, today, to overlook the power of human hands. One could, conceivably, live an entire lifetime without ever really making anything. And that’s a shame, because creativity is something that comes naturally to the human spirit. It feels good to make things. And of those who never use their hands, who never paint or sew or knit or fix, for many it’s because they’ve never had an example.
That’s why I try to buy, to give, and to support handmade. When you give your child a handmade plush, you are teaching them that it is possible to do things yourself. When they understand that their toys were made by a single pair of human hands, rather than a giant whirring factory, they will come to realize the great gifts they, too, possess in their own hands.
At one of my craft shows, a young girl approached my table. She was 10 or 11 years old, and she had come with her grandmother, but was exploring on her own. She picked up one of my mousies, turned it around in her hands, and it quickly won her approval. She then looked up from the mousie and looked at me as I sat behind the table. It was just a glance, but as she looked back at the mousie I saw a new depth in her eyes. An “aha!” moment, without a doubt. She saw the mousie and she saw the girl who made the mousie… and from that, she could become a girl who made things, too.
Buying handmade is a lesson, an example, and a great inspiration. By continuing to teach this lesson, we continue to remind people of the power that they hold in their own hands.
I’ve tried to answer the question, “why buy handmade?“, briefly in my Fluffyland shop, but I think it deserves more attention. This topic is especially close to my heart and I’d love to hear your thoughts on why you buy handmade.