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Craft and Consumerism

Mass marketing and a consumer driven economy has made shopping one of the top hobbies in modern America. Technology has raced ahead of our ability to tell the diiference between need from desire and we are driven thoughtlessly into buying binges each time a shiny new toy emerges from silicon valley.

The revolving door of marketing innovation that compels us to buy the latest and greatest, while disposing of last years model, has left a void in people’s lives. When everything is disposable, what can we claim that has lasting value?

Despite the overwhelming tide of cheap mass production products that are laid at our feet each day, there are people who produce simple, functional objects that are beautiful to look at and a pleasure to use. Their work is appreciated by people who make room in their lives for high touch items because of the thoughtfulness that goes into their creation.

There was a time when almost everything came from the hand of individuals, hammered or stitched one at a time, and the connection between the maker and the user was unbroken. People can still experience the value of handmade items through the work of weavers, woodworkers, potters, metalsmiths and every other craft that exists.

Today’s crafts people though, have the unique disadvantage of having to rationalize the work they do in the face of the inexpensive, easily accessible, pervasive products that fill the big box stores. The wonder is that they succeed at all, let alone thrive.