There was a time when handmade goods were not a novelty. It was something that was learnt and passed down from generation to generation. We often get mature customers that reminisce about their experiences at George Courts, the building directly across the road from Crushes, and its fabric and haberdashery section. That was a time where all women had to sew, regardless of class, simply because only the well-off could afford first hand goods. Imagine that.
We are in an age where we don’t know where our goods have come from, nor who or what made them. Surrounded by mass manufacturing, excess of goods, and lower production standards, we are growing up surrounded by ‘things’ but have no idea what good fabric and materials look and feel like.
The rareness of handmade goods is what is attracting so many of us back to the art form. As well as that we are craving the intentionality behind what we consume. It explains why hearing a makers story can make you love an item even more. And it explains the immense satisfaction we get when we finish a project, or mend something broken, or gift something handmade instead of store bought.
That same satisfaction exists for me when I hold something in my hand, that was made by hands. That was dreamed up by brains. And crafted from convictions. I feel the weight of the goods which symbolise the quality of the materials. I actually prefer the look of handmade goods, but knowing the history of it makes me enjoy the goods even more.
Makers in New Zealand have to be especially strategic, as they have to stand out against massive companies with unlimited capital to navigate and make their unique voice known to be heard in a crowded market.