People like handmade items for a lot of different reasons. I like them for a lot of reasons, too. Whether it is a gift from a friend, an outfit I made for myself, something I create for my home, or an item I purchase from another maker, I like handmade things for one main reason, though.
Handmade things take time. The skills required to make them take time to master. The design process, the supply sourcing, the actual construction/production…..it all takes TIME.
I just finished listening to the The 5 Love Languages while sewing up some gifts and I learned that my love language is quality time. This means that giving time is a big deal to me. Also, getting someone else’s time is a big deal. When people give me quality time, I feel loved.
I know if I’m creating a gift for someone I know, I spend most of that time thinking about that person: What colors do they like? What textures are they into? What face will they make when they open the gift? Do they prefer functional gifts or decorative items? I think about them throughout the entire design process. To me, the act of creating a handmade thing is more about the love I have for the person than it is about the item. I am giving them so much of my time. I am showing them how much I care for them.
If I am creating a garment to put up for sale online, then I wonder about the person who will eventually by it. I start imagining this mystery person and wonder what kind of interesting life they are living. I think about what great adventures/ideas/experiences they will have while wearing the garment I am constructing. A lot of my time is spent thinking about the people I sell to. I care more about the bodies I cover than the garments themselves. All I want to do is help people feel brave and loved, and designing and creating handmade clothing is one way I do this.
I like handmade things. They take TIME, and to me, TIME = LOVE.
(**Disclaimer: The 5 Love Languages is a book filled with good info that can be applied to all the relationships in your life, but it’s written in a SUPER heteronormative manner & really only addresses husband-wife model of relationship. I wouldn’t want to recommend a book that isn’t queer-friendly without giving a heads up.)