I knew very little about the world of arts and crafts before I married my husband who is a basket maker. It was like entering a whole new world for me, having worked in banking and business world for many years.
We moved to West Kilbride, Scotland’s Craft Town, where I met many other manufacturers, musicians and artists trying to make a life of their own profession. I came to appreciate their work more, and realize how important it is for us to support the creators and artists and ensure their craft are not lost.
As a nation we have become so accustomed to being able to buy goods manufactured in the Far East or Eastern Europe where wages are considerably lower and therefore the prices are very low compared to our level of income. The problem is that when one sees the labor cost something in the UK, we’re totally shocked how expensive it is, and dismiss it as too costly.
I noticed that there are some quality items made by hand here in the United Kingdom. To stay in the area of goods manufactured by hand these days in the UK, you must be really passionate about what you do, because there is little money if the items they produce are really made with love. They are not exploited and are generally concerned about the materials they use. All these things manifest in their work – they can be subtle – but it makes a difference to the “feel” of the issue. It gives the element of attraction that goods manufactured mainly from the desire to make money do not.
We are in danger of losing many of our artists and craftspeople, because the money we have more than the aesthetic value than us. I have a theory that many disaffected young people of today could well be budding craftsmen and women, they simply do not know. The school is academically biased and if a teenager is not academic mind, then the school can fail them. They can go well if they come from an art craft-oriented family and enter that way, but there are few apprenticeships in craft industries these days, and many children are taken out after their artistic dreams – “because there is no money in it” or you need to “find a suitable job. And if we do not show them that we hand-value products UK, buying, they will never feel there is no value in it.
A handmade product, produced by a British producer, brings so much to your home than fill his target. Try it and see what I mean.