Tuesday, April 10, 2012

This is interesting....

Walmart Mugs.

I just saw this image posted up on Facebook and potters are taking great umbrage at the "handcrafted" branding.  In one blog I read, "something I saw the other day at WalMart which just pissed me off. Apparently the marketing people at WalMart think calling factory-made work "hand made" adds value to a $3.58 mug. "Special glazing technique makes every piece unique." Right ..."

I posted this image on my Facebook page, only saying "This will add to the discussion..." and it sure has.  Friends there are describing the difference between handmade as process, as personal value, as a measure of just how much "handmade" is in the work, etc.  I'll let the FB thread play out a bit more and then will try to include it here on this blog.  

So how much hand contact makes something handmade?  And does the term "handmade" require that the hands producing it be connected to same person who imagined and created the form?  

As with many debates, what seems really apparent in them is that language and terminology has slipped, become less exact or widely encompassing.  Perhaps the problem here is not so much with how work is or isn't produced but how diverse approaches can exist within one term.  Perhaps we might want to look historically at the term "handcrafted" to examine its meanings and to find out if there have always been multiple meanings.  Maybe it is time to formulate new language and new terms to describe the qualities that fall under, and those that don't, the term "handcrafted."  I'll have to give this some thought to come up with wording to eliminate the word, so that the discussion can begin fresh.


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