Craft objects can be truly beautiful works of art. At the same time, it is a simple fact that handmade object will cost more than industrial mass production. This begs the question: What are the advantages offered by craft which off-set the price difference. Why should you spend so much on a knife, pot, piece of jewellery, furniture, clothing, leatherowork, etc.? Caleb Harris, writing for Broke Bladesmith, addressed some of this in a piece on handmade knives. I would like to add a few more thoughts why a decent handmade product is well worth its price and will reward you greatly, should you decide to save up for it.
A handcrafted object is often one of a kind or a pat of a limited series. Every great artisan also has a characteristic style – personal touch – which he impresses upon the matter in his hands. Never worry again about buying something that every third person on the street has as well.
2. Made & Finished Properly
Craft objects often display an unparalleled level of attention to detail, quality standards, and the subtleties of fit and finish. There is something about holding a handmade mastercraft item and sometimes photography can not convey all elements of this. Craft objects simply can not bet compared with mass production in this regard.
Carefully crafted objects tend to last far longer than their mass produced counterparts. Some might even outlast you. This can often offset the initial costs of buying a quality handmade item. Subsequently, quality can be cheaper than quantity in the long run.
4. Environmentally Friendly
Since they last longer, they need not be replaced often. This means less derelict things and packaging ending up in rubbish piles. Less trash means a nicer and cleaner environment for us all. I have yet to meet someone who would prefer to live in a pile of garbage, when green meadows and lush forests (or at least clean city streets) are still an option.
Artisan products can be made for YOU. Some artisans primarily make a set selection of items and occassionally take custom orders, while others might make commission pieces only, and many may lay somewhere in between. In other words, handmade work lend itself well to custom orders. Most people will never know how it feels to walk in a pair of shoes made specifically for them (figuratively or literally).
6. A Statement of Support
By buying craft products, you are supporting the work of a single master and his/her family, or a small collective of artisans. You know exactly where your money is going and you do make a difference. Therefore you can ‘vote with you wallet’. Supporting a small producer has a far greater impact than trying to boycott a large company.
7. A Piece of Heritage
By supporting crafts, you are helping keep the old traditions alive. A lot of crafts carry their own cultural heritage, which has become almost extinct with industrialized mass production. Heritage enriches our existence today by connecting us with times past.
On my resources page, you can find plenty of artisans who keep inspiring me to try and outdo myself with each project. If you would like to support a master artisan and get something unique in the process, then they are a good place to start.
Know of any other great reasons to for buying handmade, or do you have an artisan to recommend? Do write in the comments bellow.