The Arts & Crafts Movement of 19th century, a la William Morris, and today’s Handmade Movement, a la Etsy, have more in common than you’d initially guess. While the Handmade folks are fighting not only mass production but “chain-store” culture as well, both movements can be read as a backlash against the impersonal nature of machine-made goods. Both focus their efforts on a renewed interest in the artisan and the value of craftsmanship. Both have resulted in highly original works of exceptional quality.
And if the original Arts & Crafts crew faded to obsolescence because of their resistance to change, the Handmade crowd should continue to flourish given their willingness to embrace the digital age and make it work for them. Social media, personal blogs and sites like Etsy have allowed makers of everything from honey and cheese to clothing and furniture to “do it themselves” from beginning to end—production to distribution. And it’s allowed people who want to know the vintners making their wine or the screen printers designing their T-shirts to have that personal connection.
For the month of June, bold will be celebrating handmade goods and their makers. We’ll be posting Q&A’s with designers and artists whose handmade work we greatly admire.