Monday, 14 October 2013

100% handmade, by me

I'm republishing a post I wrote a year or more ago, as it seems extra relevant now in the light of Etsy's recent "Town Hall" announcement that some Etsy sellers may now allow others to make their wares.
Needless to say, I have always, and will always, be knitting everything I sell.

Some people even grow their own sheep, shear, spin, design and knit, pack and ship completely alone.

And then there are those who say even factory-made items are handmade - because there are hands there somewhere, pressing levers or taking part in a production line.

I'm at neither extreme but I'd like to show you a little of what handmade means to me.

I certainly don't grow my own wool, in fact I mostly use acrylic as it is hard-wearing and comes in the bright colours I prefer:

This photo was taken a year ago, the stash is even bigger now. The bag at top right holds bits of fleece I use for hair and other embellishments, the big wooden box holds all my fancy yarns. 

My patterns are my own, and are rarely written out in much detail which means each meerkat may differ slightly. I think this adds to the nature of "handmade", and have argued fiercely on the forums with those who hold the opinion that this is proof that handmade is "not perfect".

 You can see some of my essentials here - modeling wire, jeweller's pliers and cutters and of course a comfy chair! Did you guess what I was knitting?

What else do I do? I print my signature labels on the computer, though I have to confess MrNifty's computer skills were used to design the original sheet  - but using my photo and text. I sew a label on to each meerkat (except the very tiny ones), usually on their little bottom.

I also designed and print Certificates of Authenticity to go with each meerkat, using my product photos which...who'd have thought?...are taken by me with the aid of lovely photoshop elements which I can't recommend highly enough.

Finally each kat is wrapped in tissue paper and popped in a padded envelope for his or her journey to a new home. Sometimes MrNifty does the post office run for me.

So - is my work handmade? YES! 

Have you been affected by the recent changes? 


Unknown said...

I have to say I am angered and saddened by Etsy rewriting the Handmade definition to include mass produced factory manufactured so called *handmade* goods! I like you knit everything with my own two hands, I dont spin but would love to I do however use a lot of organic undyed unbleached yarns mainly for heirloom pieces,and for those who wnt colour I source these same yarns that have been dyed with natural plant products and a wool with acrylic mix for everyday wear! I just love your little Kats they are more than adorable.. heres to a future for quality handmade items over quantity of make believe handmade rubbish!..good luck!

Unknown said...

Why was Etsy so determined to hold onto the well understood term of "handmade"? Why not save a whole lot of grief by adding a new category like "Designer Assisted" or "Original Design" or some such thing to make it sound special and more importantly, telling the unsuspecting public exactly what it is they will be buying?
Artfire added a "Commercial" section"with more expensive fees for the "Commercial" sellers. No big deal over there as they didn't try to pull the wool over anyone's eyes and Handmade sellers ended up feeling perfectly protected.
Faye Goode,

Wendy said...

good for you! It really annoys me the way Etsy lets people abuse the Handmade status and now it appears they've changed their rules? I decided not to sell on Etsy for that reason. I may not get as many sales on Folksy, but at least they still have some integrity. For now anyway.

Heather Leavers said...

Actually Wendy, Folksy have always allowed designers to outsource the making - but not many people seem to realise that!