My grandfather told me once that when he was a kid, it was a privilege to be able to buy something for yourself at all. It was something you were thankful for. Thankful for the money, thankful for the experience of bringing something new into your life, thankful to all the people involved in the process of making that item available in your community, thankful of the person who created the item that blessed your life. Today, we take all this for granted.
The mentality behind a disposable society I think has begun to hurt us, as we lose appreciation of the process at work behind getting anything in the world that we want. To the point that we devalue it and even devalue ourselves. I think the world of crochet especially understands this, as it is the last fiber art left that cannot be replicated by machine. There are no machines that can replicate the complexity of stitches that only the human hand can create. In saying this, it’s probably important to note that the terms crochet and knit are often used interchangeably outside of the US. And if you Google “crochet machine” you will find some, but they are either knitting machines or they set up “chain stitches.” Several of us crocheters are always watching and wondering, though, when the day might come. True crochet work, however, is all done by hand somewhere, even mass produced, even by children. And even with the fastest of us crocheters, creating a piece from beginning to end takes a lot of time and planning. Even time undoing and redoing.
There is something very organic about the handmade process that is much less sterile and puts us closer to the human community. You’re not just purchasing an end product, but even every “failure” that led up to its success as well, with quite a story embedded in its very fibers. And the person who is behind that handmade item, actually has the focus and wish for their items to be truly enjoyed.
To me, this process embodies what handmade is all about. A real person, a real story, a real process from beginning to end and a real intent of positive impact behind each handmade piece. And that, also makes me as a creator more real too, and less a carbon copy of others or shadow of some nebulous process.
Handmade, simply, feeds our souls: individually and as a community.