Friday, December 04, 2009

Buying one of a kind

I just got in from shopping at the One of a Kind craft show. I love the connection you make when buying things that have been made by hand - and I'm also aware that the 'craft' in the show is the ability to make something reliably and well.

Not all crafts live up to that of course. Some, even at a good show, are flimsy or trendy or meant to be enjoyed briefly and then forgotten. But others are lovely and elegant and durable and enduring.

But what makes a handicraft one of a kind is not that the artist created only one from that pattern or idea; what makes it one of a kind is that it has a unique flaw. Every hand-made article is unique and that means that each is a little different than the ideal pattern.

Machines make things perfect. People craft them to be just a little unpredictable. Without their flaws and distortions, crafts would be just more consumer product, just more finely-tooled clutter. Instead, they are often keepers.

That's why I love things someone made by hand.

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