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February 16, 2009



Hi Julia,
This year I gave wire knitted jewellery for Christmas presents. I spent ages researching presentation boxes, working out how I wanted to present them and designing each piece with the person in mind. Luckily for me all the girly family members have a crafty side to a greater or lesser extent. They all loved them. They were appreciated much more than a quick look in a shop and a purchase of some expensive smellies that would be gone in 5 minutes. Keep crafting, that’s what I say.


Last week my 80-yr-old mom had an antiques and collectibles appraiser come to her house (she's moving next month and wanted to get rid of stuff). The appraiser wanted to know if she had any old needlework. My mother sold EVERYTHING that my grandmother and great-grandmother had mad...crochet, quilts, embroidery...a cedar chest full of stuff. I still haven't gotten over it. If I had a choice between my grandmothers needlework and a diamond ring that had been in the family forever, I would have take the needlework!!! Boo hoo!!!


What a beatiful old bobbin lace!


It is so disheartening when something made with love and many hours is seen as a disappointment, but luckily I havent experienced that very often. A friend wears a skirt I made her and loves the fact its a one of a kind, may be the tide will turn as the credit crunch bites. Having said that I thought the tv show would be a version of changing rooms, who knows we will have to tune in to see.


What a great post Julia, I understand every word you're saying ... I have learnt from bitter experience that handmade gifts to family members are not always appreciated! However, I seem to treasure everything that I receive that has been handmade. Perhaps it reflects how much people need to put a price on things these days, isn't that sad? I also know that whenever I make anything it is never out of a sense of moral rectitude!!!
Hope you're having a good half term
Kim x


I am with Julia B on this too as I responded to her post last month on the same subject. I feel it is because many people are quite shallow and self-centred! There are people who I will never make anything for, my sister being one, and several friends too.. I find my sisters attitude annoying because both of our parents are 'makers' and even she used to knit for england. As she has gotten older though labels and price tags count more and yet I am the one with the fashion degree and I feel labels should be avoided to gain a true sense of fashion and style. Not to follow like sheep. Handmade has been mocked such as this Times article and is too closely linked with recycling as many people link this to rubbish. Yet Textiles and the woollen industry is what made this country rich in the first place, but we do not seem to remember or value our past. I often feel that I would be better appreciated abroad! My subject is under threat at school and the day textiles is stopped is the day I hand my notice in! I think that perhaps a recession may alter peoples views slightly but a proper media coverage would certainly help as it has with cooking which once was considered a womens job in the home. Out of step with the world? Not when it suits people who want their clothes altered, a zip fixed, etc then all of a sudden I am wonderful. I now say no as I charge £10.00 an hour as I am fed up with being seen as a servant and I am afraid that I have had first hand experience of this which I found offensive when they feel that I should be happy to do this and for free yet will not value a bag that I have made which is better made than the c**p that they have just bought from a highstreet shop!
I saw a comment on a non craft blog that Esty sellers only sell to Etsy sellers as no one else is interested. Well I have just completed a commission for a lady who ONLY BUYS from Etsy and does not have a shop, so there! Good topic this...


well you know I blogged about this last month. It's a terrible thing consumerism, but I guess that's what it boils down to. Ms Allsop is a silly woman anyway. This weekend just gone I gave a handmade gift to my friend's daugher. It was cast aside almost immediately. Only the grannies present at birthday tea (and the child herself) gave an appreciative "ooooooooh!" when it was unwrapped. We then had to go and view the 'proper' (expensive) presents which were shown to me with some pride. Grrrrrrr is all i can say now. But i'm not going to stop unless I have no feeling for the recipient. In which case I wont want to spend my valuable time and effort making something speicial. rant rant ... where's that glass of wine!! xx


I've been lucky in that most things I've made and given as presents have been well received. Saying that I think there are certain people that I wouldn't make a present for as I don't think they would appreciate it.
I was admiring a quilt that a friend had been given for her son when he was born by the lady who made it. She genuinely did not understand the amount of work that had been put into it until I explained the process behind quilt making. I think that she felt a little guilty that she had not appreciated it more before.
With regard to your point about labels and people liking highly priced items: most hand made stuff is made much better than bought items, I may be struck down for saying this but I saw some bags by a certain Cath Kidston and I thought they were very poorly made for the price.
Luckily some people do appreciate hand made items, a friend of my Mums saw a bag I made for her and has comissioned me to make her one.


I completely understand your anger as it makes me feel the same, I think its sad that everything boils down to monetary value. I have a felt book made for me by my Grandma when I was a child, she died recently and knowing that I have something that she took the time(a lot of time) to make just for me and the fact that 23 years on I still have it means a lot more to me than something that would have been mass produced in a factory that would have fallen to pieces years ago.


I think it often depends on the generation, those that had their heyday in the 80s are often very commercial and everything is disposable (that's why they're big Ikea fans!). My generation, the one before and the one before that have all received handmade gifts from me graciously, and items that I haven't made, but have bought that are handmade. In fact, that covered everyone at Christmas last year. I guess I'm lucky. Oh and I LOVE receiving handmade, it's a lot more quirky than shop bought items and shows more thought :)


I agree with you, and often feel out of touch too. I often make handmade items for friends and family, but I often realize that many aren't fussed by the effort and thought put into these. I am also quite young, being just 22 and some people, old friends and family don't quite understand my need to handmade things. My boyfriend on the other hand keeps even the silliest scribbles I might do because he understands the sentiment of them. I have also made him shed a few tears when I have handmade him gifts. Although my items have a modern twist to them, they are no less hand crafted and I still respect and find old crafts absolutely fascinating.


Amen sister! I completely agree. I don't even bother with my Mum etc because I know they wouldn't appreciate it. I made loads for my little niece before she was born but still felt compelled to buy some things too in case what I'd made wasn't "good enough". Sad, innit?


Couldn't agree with you more Penny. Luckily I have a family which seems to value the handmade gift, but I have friends who clearly don't. As for the views of the person who wrote the article - how patronising is that? We are all entitled to our views - unfortunately some of us get paid to vent them, and some of us don't. Some of us reach a wider audience than others. I don't think you find ANY crafters who support the views offered by that piece.



Oh God, I just called you Penny. It's because my friend Penny just called and I'm thinking about her. I'm so sorry Julia! x


I have had some bad experiences in the past but none in my present community. In fact I never get around to making work to sell because I keep filling orders for friends. They are not using me, just complementing me to such an extent that I want to make for them and they show full appreciation by using my work until it falls to pieces (hasn't done that yet!). I live in a coastal town in the warmer areas of Australia where convention is not so important. I guess that makes a difference. Cherrie


Totally agree with you Julia... I love to receive handmade gifts and it is fantastic when people make stuff for my sons - so thoughtful. One problem is that I think people who don't *do* crafts don't quite get how much time and effort goes into handmade gifts.


Oh, Julia, been there, done that. There are members of my family who will never, ever receive another handmade gift from me. And others who do understand the thought and effort that goes into them and welcome handmade gifts with both appreciation and interest in how they've been made. For the former group, there's always chocolate and bubble bath!


It is in part because of this attitude - that the more you spend, the better, more worthy you are as a person - that we are in the current economic situation. One of my favorite Christmas presents was the year my dad's family gift exchange required that all gifts be handmade. We received a shutbox game, and I played with that for hours. Friends and family know that if I'm giving a gift, chances are very good that it will be handmade. Either they're very good, very gracious liars, or they've been truly appreciative. I prefer to believe the second.

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