The word manufacturing has a specific root that is very interesting to people who appreciate arts and crafts. From the Latin words meaning hand and making, we arrive at an expression that encompasses a lot of symbolism, which is relevant for a whole category of artificial objects. We are talking about, of course, hand-made stuff.
With our ten fingers, two palms, some tools, and a lot of elbow grease, humans can create an astounding number of unique, beautiful, and valuable items. For a long time, this was the only way it could be done, as we didn’t have any robots to work for us. Today we have a fascinating relationship with those items, sometimes a bit nostalgic and a bit of awe, too, as we are reminded how a man can make great things alone.
“Craftsmen” and “artisans” are expressions that usually go hand in hand, though that can be a bit misleading. While in the olden days, there wasn’t a sharp difference between the two, today, we will usually call artisans those that whatever they make can be called “art.” While craftsmen will want to reproduce every item as similarly as possible and be “professional” with their approach, they try and make everything unique.
One of the main reasons why hand-made things are unique is the artisan’s touch, that is to say, their skills expressed through manufacturing. It could be applied through anything - from simple pottery, where the shape of a vessel depends on the careful pressure applied on wet clay, to precious and genuine Orgone Pyramids that are both a mix of craftiness and esoterism. Therefore, whenever a person engages themselves in creating something that comes from their inspiration and with liberty to start - they will make something unique, representing their idea about the request or thing.
Beauty Is In The Eye of The Beholder
The second key issue is how we view hand-made items, or better yet - how do we judge their beauty? Both scientists and philosophers have pondered over this question for millennia, creating new fields of study trying to explain it as best as they can.
The problem seems to lie in our subjectivity of rating something. Sure, we can create arbitrary and standardized systems of grading things, but what is happening in our minds and what we feel is hard to describe. And while machine-made objects can be exquisite and attractive to us and even be awe-inspiring, it is with hand-made things that we hit a particular note. Because we have a specific “intuition” for aesthetics, whenever people make something for people, it already has within it our unexplainable trait of what we consider pretty in this way or that.
So while we may argue about what and why is beautiful or meaningful to us, almost everything skillfully made by us will attract our eye and give a positive feeling, even though we may not know why.
How Much Does an Idea Cost?
Discussing aesthetics aside - the reality of this issue is that hand-made things have become rare today and that our houses are mostly filled with industrially fabricated items. Furniture, electronics, kitchenware, all of those things are made to a strict model, and humans are mostly there not to create but to assemble or navigate machinery.
This has the downside of separating us from unique items that were common in the past and were the pride of any household to have. Today we have a relatively small number of crafters who still produce fine goods, but they are often very pricey. “Why,” you ask? Well, there is more to a price than simply hours of labor and materials involved.
An idea, especially a good and creative one, has its price too. The time and experience needed to come up with something that can be both useful and beautiful to the eye is valuable and should be charged accordingly.
Even more, if an idea is original and will maybe be used by others to create things for profit as well - it should be protected and patented, something that also brings the price up too, but keeps its creator, or owner, safe from intellectual theft.
Finding meaningfulness in items may seem shallow to some, but if we connect with them and value an idea they represent, there isn’t anything to be ashamed about. It is very human of us to give meaning to unique things made with our hands and wanting to have them, as with them we can have a more beautiful and pleasant home and life.