Sunday, April 29, 2018

mass produced stuff

It is generally assumed that hand-made things are more expensive than machine made things. This is only true if you are thinking only of the short term. When the long term value of the object enters the equation, the hand-crafted unique object may be far less expensive. The following quote is from Michael Ruhlman in Wooden Boats

"We mass-produced our stuff and made it cheap so we could afford lots of it, and thus the quality had diminished to the point that we needed even more stuff, because cheap things break or go bad or get old fast. Things that grow more valuable with age are typically things of superior quality. Even now we might be unable to recognize things of superlative quality, and if so, it was already too late--we'd have to wait four hundred years for a second Renaissance to flood the culture with light."

Shall we wait four hundred years? The light that flooded the renaissance culture was the transformation of self that comes when folks are creatively engaged in the making of useful beauty. The ease with which we accumulate massive amounts of meaningless stuff will not suffice and we pay a large price. The value of hand crafted beautiful objects is not only in the things  themselves, but also in the character, skill and intelligence of the maker. We stop making and the culture suffers.

This is yards and yards of yard sales weekend in Eureka. It is a time when folks bring out the stuff that no longer matters to them and that's clogging up their lives. It can be bought cheap by others, hauled away (some folks brought trailers) and clog their lives instead.

The piece in the photo above is some of my early work from around 1980 or so. It is made of cherry with exposed mortise and tenon joints locked and expanded outside the mortise with walnut wedges. I don't know if this piece of early work exists or if it has value. It served me at the time as a means to explore my own creativity and craftsmanship, values I attempt to hold to this day.

Make, fix, create, and put others in motion learning lifewise.

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