The world over, there are people who have striven to design, create and make the things that facilitate our lives. We have grown so accustomed to the daily things we use that we can take for granted how they make our lives easier. And what about the creative souls that we owe a tribute, a thought, a gratitude for making those special things? The Makers.
Let’s start with the basics. Imagine going barefoot, with unstitched cloth wrapped around your body and hand-carrying your daily-use items everywhere with your hands. Shoes, clothing, and handbags are now basic commodities made in abundance and easily accessible. Some are mass produced and others are made largely by hand in small communities still striving to keep their livelihoods alive. It's the latter we want to focus on here, because some amazing human beings, somewhere out there, have made it possible for us to shelter our feet beautifully, cover our bodies stylishly, and made it possible to carry our things in a unique manner. The best and most lasting shoes, clothing, handbags, ceramics, cooking pots, chairs, tables, rugs, tools, scissors, you name it, are all due to the skill of master makers, worldwide.
We’ve innovated so much over the past centuries, that we have managed to relegate makers to a distant, almost mythical memory. Surely technology has allowed for mass production of many goods and some are great, but those that require a maker’s touch, go from being a regular product to a truly fabulous one. Even something that we don’t consider to be handmade anymore, like a hairdressing scissor, is in fact, of the best, most lasting quality when made by the skilled scissor-maker.
No doubt, some of these manual skills and crafts are at risk of being lost to legend. In fact, now-a-days, when we see a video of someone hand-stitching a leather handbag or shaping a ceramic on a turntable or carving a chair, we are literally mesmerized. It’s like we’re watching something long gone from this world.
However, these creative, master makers exist; they are real and are not to be relegated to a far gone memory. Makers are out there, in every corner of the world, courageously endeavoring to earn a living from their hands; despite their David and Goliath struggle with mass production. For example, in Colombia alone, there are over 12,000 small maker communities, making a variety of products for our daily use and needs.
The Maker World, with your support, can delay "the real" from becoming legend. We wish to bring Makers back to making in full force, so that present and future generations can earn a decent living from these crafts. As a wave of automation leaves many people jobless, our contribution becomes more relevant. Let's bring back work that fulfills the heart, keeps people creating and crafting, and elevates maker trades in our societies, again. Lets not succumb to mass produced goods for our basic needs; we can, with forethought buy better and support people making quality, handmade goods.
One of our makers, Marisol Prada, recently said to us, “You know, for me to mass produce outside of the walls of this workshop is to lose the touch and the feel of the product. To lose the social endeavor of keeping the trade alive in it’s fullest form. Perhaps one can find the investment for mass production and set up manufacturing elsewhere, but the essence of the trade gets lost, the reason for creating... fades.” It’s makers like Marisol, that touch our hearts. Those that sacrifice the wealth of mass production, for the tougher work of defeating the odds, for the decent living they can provide a small community of people, for the value of a truly well made product, and for the deeper essence of the work, the creation and the art.
So next time you put on those amazing leather shoes, sewn by hand and made to last, or the moment you fill your carefully hand-crafted purse with your daily needs, or the instant you clip your keys onto that handmade keychain.... think about the maker and what value they bring to your life, even if only for a few passing seconds of a day.
Join us in supporting the few but soulful businesses trying to give you back the pleasure of truly valuing the hands that toil to craft and the things they create to make your life easier. Think about the makers, as you prepare to shop for the holidays. Give your loved ones something they can value for it's use and the hands that toiled to make it. Please buy from small makers to keep their trades alive. Honor them by giving them work, not charity. Life is best when earned.
Share with us your favorite maker story and an image of your visit with them. Publish it on our social media and share it with the world. Let’s remind others together and let the reminder benefit many!