Handmade – Rising from the dead Part 2
Handmade-Rising from the dead! Part 2
To recap the point of Part 1: “If a product is made of pieces made by a progression of individuals, perhaps even unknown to each other, who can claim to have made it or take satisfaction in a job well done? Sadly, when that happens, quality often (and naturally) declines. But “That’s OK, we’ll just make more”!!! – NOT.” One of the responders to Part 1 remarked about some of what I had planned to say in Part 2, but that’s OK – it bears repeating. So I will climb back on my soapbox and proceed. Next post will be less philosophical and more about what I ‘produce with pride’.
While within the family unit that was part of what is called the cottage industry, there was quite naturally ‘division of labor’, it was Henry Ford who refined that to its ultimate. Each step in the production of his automobile was done by one person and the growing end product was moved along to the next assembler. Hour after hour, day after day, doing one distinct task certainly increased the efficiency of the person who, after a while, automatically performed that task. But the satisfaction of work skillfully done was gone, for the most part.
When people make something for themselves or someone they have personal contact with, they tend to do the best they can do under the circumstances. They are likely to feel a responsibility for the quality of the product – not so workers on an assembly line usually. What satisfaction is there in it for them? And naturally, the quality of mass produced items tended to diminish, leading eventually to the concept of Planned Obsolescence. That was a long, long, long way from what I called Pride of Product in Part 1.
Mass production led to the need to advertising on a massive scale. Consumerism was born. “Be the first on your block to own one”, “Be a trendsetter”, “Trade in your old one for our new one”. Sadly, the culture became known as A Throwaway Society and gone was the day of “Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do or Do without”. Landfills grew mountainous, often being named Mount Trashmore or some such. Ocean-going barges began to take trash and garbage out beyond the continental shelf, once the possible dump sites on land grew too costly. Our earth and our sea are being despoiled, perhaps irrevocably.
Now, more and more, our refuse is being shipped to developing countries where the desperate poor live off of it. People there who disassemble electronics, for example, are absorbing mercury and other toxic substances and suffering the consequences.
After each of the last three paragraphs, I have been tempted to say, “But who cares?” Then I realized that the ones who will read this are very likely counter-cultural people. They actually make their own ___________(you fill in the blank) and probably recyle and reuse whenever practical. They are the very ones who are the advance guards in the new culture whose logo is a triangle of arrows. Bravo! I hope know how important you are, how vital what you represent is.