Make Something Good; Love What You Do

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January 1, 2013 by Kriscinda Lee Everitt

'The Nature of Gothic,' a chapter from John Ruskin's 'The Stones of Venice,' printed by William Morris's Kelmscott Press in 1892.

‘The Nature of Gothic,’ a chapter from John Ruskin’s ‘The Stones of Venice,’ printed by William Morris’s Kelmscott Press in 1892.

Here’s a little something to think about on this New Year’s Day. I’ve been thinking a lot about handmade items and the business thereof lately. I’ve been troubled to understand that many, many people out there seem to think that they should be able to pay Wal-Mart prices for handmade/home made products.

Now, I’m a lover of William Morris and John Ruskin, and in another post I will tell you why, but suffice to say that I believe the world is a better place because some people still choose to learn a skill that can’t be done by a machine. I also believe that the world is a much worse place because of cheaply-made disposable products that need constantly to be replaced, and worse still the many unethical, immoral circumstances that makes those items possible and available that we, as a whole, overlook for the sake of materialism and convenience. Everyone seems to want quantity and not quality, and that costs us in ways we don’t realize, money not being the least of them.

Acanthus. William Morris, 1874. Morris revived the art of hand wood block printing for his repeating fabric wallpapers.

Acanthus. William Morris, 1874. Morris revived the art of hand wood block printing for his repeating fabric wallpapers.

That so much now is mechanized and/or comes out of a sweatshop, I had this thought the other day: How many skills/products have disappeared, say, before our own grandparents have passed away, that we’ve never known, and that we will never know, because it was discarded for no other reason than it could not be mechanized or thrown together on an assembly line? Beautiful things, useful things—how much of that has been lost to us because a handful of people wanted to make a lot of money, quickly? Now and then I’ll be watching some program and they will mention a thing I’ve never heard of, never even entertained the idea that something like that would exist, but upon thinking about it, it makes perfect sense that it would exist, but it doesn’t anymore because…why? Too hard to make with a machine? Can’t pay pennies a day to have it produced, so toss the idea entirely?

Table, 1856. Morris utilized medieval design and techniques to work his way against the flood of commercial, inferior-quality products of his time.

Table, 1856. Morris utilized medieval design and techniques to work his way against the flood of commercial, inferior-quality products of his time.

So, yeah. People who make things with their hands, who take the time to plot it out and take it from a thought in their heads to something you can touch and use, that will last generations because it was well made, that you can pass on to your kids…I salute those people. I will be joining their ranks soon enough. And when I do, I’m going to at least make a living at it; you know why? Because, as Ruskin would say, people—all people—deserve to love what they do. They deserve to take pride in their work. It’s become almost impossible to to do nowadays, with your jerk boss riding your ass, or doing the unskilled labor you have no vested interest in except that you get paid an hourly wage to barely pay your bills. But there are some people who still see the value in the pride of one’s work. Whatever we’ve lost in the name of “progress”—it’s a colossal shame. It maybe wouldn’t hurt to add “buy more handmade/home made and less commercial” to your list of New Year’s Resolutions. More expensive? Yes. But as my dad often told me, “You get what you pay for.” He was right.

This is neither here nor there, but I recently found the French thrash/death band, Droys. I need to get some more of this.

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2 thoughts on “Make Something Good; Love What You Do

  1. Anthony Everitt says:

    Beautiful sentiment beautifully put. Plus, nice tie in to military discipline at the end. ;) :) :)

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