What is handmade?

29 Jun

So this question came up in a crafting group I am in on facebook.  I asked a question about something, and then got bombarded with “your stuff shouldn’t be on etsy because you didn’t make the pendant or the chain”.

Now, I don’t know anyone who makes chain by hand, or pendants.  I don’t have access to a machine shop.  The makerspaces in the area don’t have ones that are accessible to beginners either.

Items like this scarf are handmade, even though I didn’t make the yarn.  I took a material from my craft store and turned it into a product.

Items like this necklace or these earrings are hand made as well. Just because i didn’t make the ear wire, the chain, the skeleton hand, or the fake pearls, doesn’t mean i didn’t have a design in mind and make it.

Items like Spunware are handmade, because she dyes the roving, sometimes spinning it into yarn.  Just because she didn’t sheer the sheep doesn’t mean its not hand made.  Even if she uses store-bought dyes, doesn’t mean its not hand made.

Items like these cross-stitch‘s are handmade, even tho Katie didn’t make the floss and fabric.  She spent hours creating a pattern and then stitching it.

These beads from Swoondimples are handmade because they spend time designing and creating the beads or keys and then putting them up for sale.  Same with the polymer clay items A Year of Yesterdays makes.

Then there are items like JewelrybyJohan, OldHillsDesignCo, TheHilemanCollection, or other shops and you can tell that they do all the making and design work – working with precious and semi-precious stones, wood, metals, etc. Those are also hand made.

Not everyone has access to a machine shop, jewelrysmithing, CNC machines, laser cutters, or a 3D printer.  Doesn’t make their items any less hand made.  Hand assembled is hand made.  Etsy even said so!  This blog post from etsy states:

“Often an artisan starts with materials made by someone else, like beads, fabric or other supplies. Taking part A and joining it with part B to create item C is one of the simplest ways to create something new, and this type of hand-assembly is acceptable for items in Etsy’s handmade categories. Hand-assembled items range from simple construction of just two parts, to more elaborate items that contain several components and incorporate multiple techniques.”

I take item A (pendant) and join it with part B (chain) and create item C (necklace).

So there are many kinds of handmade, not all of them require sheep, a fabric shop, or a metals shop.

Whats your shop?


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