A makers blog…

Believe it or not this is the question that I get asked the most when I am out and about at craft fairs and pop up shops. In this age of modern technology and automation people find it hard to believe that there are still some of us out there who have ‘a skill’ or ‘a trade’. Fortunately, after I have given my response I am usually rewarded with positive comments. “You’re so lucky to have a talent” “Your work is beautiful” “It’s very good quality”. For me, it’s not a natural gift, it’s a labour of love. I’ve worked hard to achieve my skills through college and university like other people for other jobs. I’ve tried doing a ‘real’ job and earning a good wage – it’s not for me!

It must be lovely to work for yourself…..

I haven’t taken the easy option by any means. Many potential customers don’t realise that I spend hours designing my products and prototyping them until I’m happy. Some don’t understand that I have to spend time thinking about the best way to link components together. People rarely think about the common doubts and worries of a craftsperson. Will this product sell at this price? What if nobody likes it? I work in a freezing cold workshop in the winter making my summer collections and a hot, humid workshop in the summer making gifts for Christmas. In between times I stand at craft fairs and markets and supply local shops. I have to maintain my own website and other selling platforms. Then I have to post on social media and blog when I can. All of this just to try and earn a basic wage (have you got your violins out yet?)

But handmade is so much more expensive……

Don’t get me wrong, automation is a great thing. It’s quick and it’s cheap in comparison to handmade but is it always the right choice for you and the products you want to own? Ford could make an entire car quicker than I could make a wedding ring. Think about this though….  Does the robot at the factory take any real notice of what it is making? Does each robot sit down with you and discuss exactly how you want every detail? Can the robot deviate from the standard design to make something ‘just for you’?

So, the next time you are on the lookout for a gift or even something for yourself, think handmade. We really do make them ourselves with love, care and attention to detail.