What does hand-made really mean, anyway?

Let’s stop a moment and think about what it means to have something that is hand-made. Before anything happens of course, it starts with an idea. The artist or craftsman–the artisan–has to have the idea to make something, right? Where does that idea come from? Well there are as many answers to that as there are artists! It could be something they have seen, something they remember from their childhood, or something they just dreamed up. No matter where the idea comes from, the artist has to spend a good amount of time thinking about it. Next they need to be able to visualize how it will look when it’s finished, and of course how they will make it.

Rocio paints Downtown-Franklin for Christmas
Rocio paints Downtown-Franklin for Christmas

The making part might take some trial and error; they may go through many renditions before they are satisfied with it. Or maybe a “happy accident” as Bob Ross would say, occurs and they end up with something different than they originally planned, but it’s even better! Generally speaking, the creative process is rarely a straight path; it usually winds through known and unknown trails as the artist makes adjustments and decisions all along the way.

Adorable sock monkeys by Debbie
Adorable sock monkeys by Debbie

When the artist makes a series or even several versions of the same creation, each one will have its own individual character; you can’t say that about mass produced items! Sock Monkeys don’t all have to look the same when they are hand made! Each eye, each tuft of yarn on the top of the sock heads has to be sewn on one at a time. Each individual item has its own character which makes it much more fun when you are trying to pick a wooden Santa to match the expression of someone you know.

Collectable carved wooden Santa's by Ralph
Collectable carved wooden Santa’s by Ralph
Phillip makes these cans
Phillip makes these cans using doorknobs and parts of saddles. He uses rubber tips to make them safe.

The bottom line is that a gift made by hand is made by a real human person. And when you give a gift made by hand, you are giving a gift that comes from the heart.


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