Automation has made it possible to produce so many objects — from bread to shoes — without the intervention of human hands (assuming that pressing a button doesn’t count). What things do you still prefer in their traditional, handmade version?
It used to be less expensive to sew a dress than to buy a ready-made. Not any more. If you watch the sale racks and know your colors and styles, you can make out like a bandit. I love getting a $100-dollar-outfit for $5. Of course, I have to wait until the right season rolls around to wear it, but still. So no, I don’t prefer handmade to storebought when it comes to clothes.
Hmmmm. Quilts. Handmade quilts are just incredible. And they’ve become an art form, so there are some truly unique and wonderful quilts out there that you would never put on your bed. They’re for hanging on walls and displaying in galleries. Yes, handmade quilts are better.
Traditional knitting. I love handknitted sweaters, afghans, scarves. I love the knitting process. It’s relaxing, soothing, and restful. There’s someting about the rhythm of plain knitting that helps my tense muscles loosen up. I enjoy complicated knitting, too, because I love seeing the pattern take shape. I love the feel of the yarn in my fingers. There are so many really cool yarns out there now, lots more variety than when I started out so many years ago. Yes, definitely, handknit over mass-produced.
Bread. I’ve already rhaphsodized about homemade bread here so I won’t repeat myself. Nothing better in the whole world. Yes, absolutely handmade wins over store-bought.
Apple pie. Chocolate chip cookies. Counted cross-stitch. Crocheted doilies. Needlepoint. I made a doily that looks a lot like this one. Doilies always make me think of snowflakes.
Thank you notes. Nothing will ever be better than a hand-written, personal, on-paper-in-an-envelope-with-a-stamp thank you note. Writing them is an art. We’re losing it, and that’s sad.
There are some things that technology just can’t replace, and I hope we value those things as we should. I grew up in an age when it was still very common to can and freeze produce from your own garden; to sew your own clothes, to bake your own bread, to write personal letters with pen and ink, to have flowers grown by hand in your own garden. I know there are still lots of people who do these things. May we pass them on to our children and grandchildren.
Long live handmade!