It could be argued that craft is unnecessary in today's world. After all, ‘cheap’ imported mass produced stuff is readily available and abundant. Why buy anything else?
The real cost of cheap imported goods are often hidden or go unaccounted. The damage to the environment, for example, or the use of child/slave labour and the energy and pollution it takes to ship the stuff thousands of miles together with the excess packaging destined for land fill. Take a look at this video http://www.storyofstuff.com/ .
On the other hand locally crafted stuff is wonderful, much more environmentally friendly and less wasteful. It would be a really boring world without the sheer creativity, diversity and orginality that craft brings. The look and feel of handcrafted work is really something special that cannot be replicated on a factory line. Each piece is unique and made with soul. Craftsmanship is a fulfilling occupation. Yet with so much talk about climate change I’m not hearing any advice to stop purchasing the polluting imports and to buy more locally crafted stuff.
Our world has reached crisis point. Environmentally, financially, socially. Governments are more and more influenced by multinationals who increasingly have the money and hold the power but often lack the moral compass needed.
We seem to be going in directly the opposite direction we need to be going in.
What we need to see is more small businesses thriving and the encouragement of more artisans. Wealth needs to be distributed to more people and big business domination curtailed. We need to make people more aware of the true cost of buying imports, the maldistribution of wealth and the alternative purchases that can be made at least some of the time.
Ghandi proclaimed that what the poor of the world need was not mass production but production by the masses. I'm all for that. Is anyone with me? It’s way too important a task to leave to ‘experts’. We are all part of the solution. Join me to get the message out.
image from Times on-line Signs of the Times