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Archive for March 2012

If It Comes In a Kit, Is It “Handmade”. . . ?

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I’m going to make this post short and sweet; not because I don’t have a lot to say but because if I let myself go, I could offend a great many people. . .

I have a serious problem with the way crafts are marketed these days. It has to do with fairness and, more importantly, honesty in advertising.  I know, I know, honesty in advertising is an oxymoron.  Still, the problem I’m having, and have had for some time now is this; when something is marketed to the general buying public as “Handmade” or “Handcrafted” it should be just that — handcrafted.  It should not be assembled from a kit, or an assortment of components, and then advertised as being “handmade”.

It’s not only unfair and misteading, it’s a disservice to those of us who labor long hours over a “hot workbench” to produce truly handcrafted products.  I’m speaking, here, of the jewellry business specifically, but the same criticism applies to any number of so-called “handcrafted” products.  I don’t have a problem with someone buying all the parts necessary to make a piece of jewellry and then selling it.  People have been doing that for years and years.  There’s nothing inherently wrong with it; in fact whole industries exist for the sole purpose of providing these “kits” to people for resale.  If that’s what you’ve got to do to make a buck, by all means do it.  Just don’t misrepresent your product!

When “assemblers” market their products as “handcrafted” or “handmade”, they disrespect the training and practice, not to mention the products, of all of us who have spent time (more often than not, years) learning our craft.  We are proud of what we produce and the years of training and practice it took to arrive at a point where our product(s) are good enough to offer them to the general public in exchange for their equally hard-earned dollars.  It just irritates the hell out of me to hear, or see, someone who wouldn’t know a tubeset from a jumpring advertise their kit-assembled what-not as “handmade” when all they did was put together a piece of jewellry from a bunch of parts that couldn’t be anything other than what it is.  When a craftsman sits down at his workbench, whether it’s in his garage or in a studio, the possibilities that await him are truly endless.  His or her training, practice and acquired knowledge of the jewellry arts allows him or her to see the myriad possibilites inherent in the raw materials he has before him.  Not so the assembler of kits.

So, the next time you shop for a piece of jewellry, or a chair, or a chest-or-drawers, ask yourself, “Is this piece of merchandise really what it purports to be?  Is it really “handmade” or is it the product of a kit or, worse yet, a machine?”

Don’t disrespect those of us who labor long and hard to create as perfect a piece of merchandise as we are capable of creating for your enjoyment by buying something that was made from a “kit”.


Written by stevewthomas

March 2, 2012 at 9:22 pm

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