What’s the ‘thing’ about handmade?

It’s no secret that I love handmade items, anything really.  Good quality handmade items make me smile for so many reasons.  I’m gonna share some of those reasons with you.

I have lived in Norway since 2005 but I grew up in England.  I was born in 1977 (yes that makes me officially… old).  We were a pretty average family.  Mum, Dad, and two kids and my dear Grandma lived with us too.

But one thing that perhaps made us a little different from other families, was my Mum and my Grandma, and what they could do.  They both loved to make things, lots of different things.  My mum made a lot of our clothes – I remember one really cute two piece set, red cotton shorts with a floral trim, and a matching top with straps to match the floral trim on the shorts.  I felt so good in those clothes.  I didn’t know why I felt good, but they just made me so happy, especially that shorts and top combo.

My Grandma also liked to sew, but the thing I remember most is these amazing wire and resin flowers she made.  I remember she would sit and meticulously form the long thin wires in to petal shapes, lots of petal shapes.  Then she would dip them in the thick, strong smelling resins.  Each layer took a while to dry.  So she had lots of petals standing in pots on her dresser, in various stages of completion.  When each petal had been dipped enough times to make the resin strong enough and the colour dark enough, she would start putting the petals together to create the flowers.  She would also paint delicate little details, like the little veins on the petals or realistic patterns to mimic real flowers.  She had little stamen and green paper tape for wrapping all the wires together to create the flower stem.  She was also a keen botanist, so she had a real eye for detail with her flowers.  They were, to my 5 year old eyes, the most beautiful things in the world.  I used to sneak in to her room sometimes when she was out to just go and look at them.  I didn’t dare to pick them up, for fear that I would drop one and break it.

That is, even today, a very powerful memory.  34 years later I can still see her dedication, feel her love for what she was creating, and even smell the strong fumes emanating from the open resin cans.  It was an awe-inspiring thing for me to watch at that age.  And it is a real pleasure to still, 34 years later look back.  I still feel that same awe, at her talent and patience, and dedication to what she was doing.

That’s the thing about anything handmade.  It takes time to learn to make something new.  It takes time, dedication and money to become good at making something new.  But it also takes real love and devotion to be able to make these beautiful creations from nothing.

The wire and resin were pretty harsh and industrial looking tools, she needed wire cutters and pliers.  Items that would be better placed in my Dad’s big hands, not my Grandma’s small and delicate, slightly aged hands.  But with those big ol’ tools, she created something so beautiful and dainty it should have been preserved behind glass to keep it safe from harm.

My Mum has always been artistic.  She loves to draw and paint and make cards.  We nearly always get beautifully crafted handmade cards from my mum for birthdays and Christmas.  If she, for any reason, can’t make a card – the shop bought card she sends comes with an apology for not making it herself.  Each card she makes is individually designed with the recipient in mind.  Each card is unique.  Each card lets us know just how much she loves us, before we have even opened it up and read the text.

That is the thing with handmade –  It is unique, yes.  It’s is hand-crafted, yes.  But more importantly, it is a declaration of love, dedication, devotion to the craft and an expression of someone’s creativity.  It is more than just an item.  Handmade creations tell a story, they capture something magical from their creator.  They are made with love and dedication.

–  and that my friends, is the thing about handmade!



2 responses to “What’s the ‘thing’ about handmade?”

  1. Beautiful story about the flower creations your grandmother made. I love your first blogpost!
    And you are so right about things that are handmade. There is a lot of love and dedication that goes into each item. 😊

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