In the last couple of years it has been difficult not to notice a rise in interest surrounding handmade items. Even those who least care about ongoing trends have surely noticed that such items are, for lack of a better choice of words, simply in.
From handmade jewellery, to altered clothes and hand printing, the influence is vast and ranges in every sector imaginable. Even locally in Malta, where everything is somehow milder and belated, the effect is felt to such an extent, that we have specialised artisan markets, such as Patches.
It is a sort of a new revival of the Arts and Crafts movement, somewhat similar to that of William Morris in 1860s. I believe that just like the reaction against the new industrial world at the time, this is a reaction against a society which relies heavily on mass production. In a world where everything is essentially created by programmed machines, there is no place left for man to be the creator. The satisfaction of creation is lost. Man sought perfection which was only obtainable through machines, and in an attempt to make the world a better place, man metaphorically exiled himself from the productive world.
I believe that eventually this left a collective feeling of detachment. One cannot feel connected to the perfectly made things that are mechanically produced. Man-made has obtained a completely different meaning.
Part of the unique charms of handmade items are their slight imperfections, and this is what ultimately ties the creator to the objects. It is a small reminder that these were created by humans, and not machines. While living in a world surrounded by machines, such handmade objects are becoming increasingly easier for people to connect with and thus are just as easily appreciated. One feels that such objects were created for specifically for them, rather than just to feed the industrial market. It is a form of nostalgia for a world that was centered more around the product and its user, rather than production, distribution and profits.
Handmade objects tend to provide one with a sense of individualism, rather than being just another product. They make one feel special and important, which is the effect of limited edition items, something completely opposite to the idea of mass production. In the end, this new found appreciation for handmade is just an attempt to once again become part of the creation of the objects we use everyday.