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Handmade and A World of Manufactured Goods

Hand making pottery
It takes a lot of skill to make each individual piece of pottery.

In a world filled to the brim with goods manufactured on an assembly line, it’s nice to know there are people like us making things by hand. As time goes on though, I even think almost all of the things still done by hand on an assembly line will year by year become more and more automated.

Robotics, programmed for perfection, never needing a break, always to work on time, stronger and working at speeds humans have a hard time matching, will continue to increase profits on the tight margins required for a price-oriented world.

There was a time when craftsmanship was everything and service was a must. Today price is king and yet people still expect high customer service while not understanding why they are getting less of it. The exception of course being, the ability to purchased 24 X 7, and have everything delivered right to your door. This trend will continue too. We have been essentially reprogrammed by our own wishes of wanting what we want, cheap and fast.

Still, there are those, though I think now a thinner slice of the pie, who do still appreciate skill. They appreciate the time invested, the self-discipline and the non-cookie cutter results. They cherish things produced from a mind, a pair of hands and the emotion put forth in creating art. We must know today we could have robots re-creating pieces of art. But how good would humans be at programming in the little imperfections of the human hand? Could you also imagine sitting in your theater seat and watching a robot, even a pretty one, doing ballet? Instead of highly trained muscles and a mind of elegance, you would see the loveliness of little hydraulic pumps and actuators spinning and turning the unit. How about a chorus and dance number from your favorite play?

What if the school STEM program got so strong and the art program so weak, that students were not performing, but rather programming robots they assembled, to do The Little Shop of Horrors? Exactly!

Those of us who do things by hand need to have a voice and guess what? It starts with your voice. You do not need to remind your other artist friends that handmade is still relevant. They get it! You need to make sure the others you meet in your daily life know. It needs to be in your day to day conversation. Start with this. If you sell your artwork, say thank you to your customers by saying, "thank you for buying handmade!"

Live an artful life,