I just finished watching the final episode of a fantastic documentary called ‘Bespoke – Rise of the Makers’. It’s written and presented by a charmingly nerdy looking fellow named Marcus Westbury and it raises some really interesting questions about the rise of handmade and bespoke items, makers and artists in our society.
The documentary covered artists making all sorts of things, in all sorts of ways, from Etsy sellers, to people forging sculptures from steel, to a man making artisan chef’s knives in a hut in the Tasmanian wilderness and selling them to chefs around the world through the power of the internet. It seems that not only to do people love to make, but there’s an every growing market out there for unique, handmade products.
As a maker, it easy to take the desire to make for granted. I’ve been a maker for as long as I can remember. In kindergarten, it was gluing bits of cardboard together to create goodness knows what. That progressed into drawing, water colours, embroidery, needle felting, crochet, polymer clay and weaving, and who knows what will be next (macrame, I’ve got my eye on you!)? I kind of just have to make. I think for many makers, it’s an instinct and and impulse that can’t be switched off. Whenever I can’t make, I slowly but surely become thoroughly miserable. Is this something you can relate to?
However, the documentary made the point that in the last decade, the number of people making jewellery in Australia has increased by 700%. That’s a slightly mind-blowing statistic! Which begs the question, why are more people starting to make?
Is this sudden increase in making and handmade a reaction against technology? A need to do something tangible and tactile to get away from the online world? Has the time of mass produced, disposable items coming to an end? Is it just a fad? A marketing ploy? Plain old nostalgia? Will this all seem quaint and outdated in a decade or two, or are we actually changing the world as we know it? I certainly don’t have the answer but it’s a fascinating question that I’d love to discuss with any makers out there who want to join in the conversation.
Why do you make? Or, if you don’t make, why do you seek out handmade products? Does it provide you with a solace from our fast-paced, overly connected world? It is about sustainability for you? Why do you think we’re seeing a rise in makers and interest in the handmade? So many questions! Personally, I’d love to think that this isn’t just a fad, and that the world is moving more towards smaller-scale production as a way to be both more sustainable and more connected to the things we consume. This is a subject of endless fascination to me, so if it’s equally as fascinating to you, don’t be shy, let’s chat! 🙂
Unfortunately, ‘Bespoke’ is no longer available to view for free, but I believe it will become available to purchase soon. For more info, click here.