What kind of towel would you buy if you knew you had less than 3 square feet to store ALL your bathroom toiletries? Would you give it more thought than if you knew you had tons of space? I was thinking about this because of this wonderful piece about a tiny house that’s very attractive and functional. The owner really had to make a myriad of decisions about every single thing she brought into the house. So I was thinking, if she has only two bath towels, I bet that she chose the best quality she could afford. Because there are less of them, they will get more wear and will need to be extra durable, while also being soft!
And then I suddenly thought about a conversation I had earlier today with Bruce, a leather worker who was showing me photos of his recent work. He was telling me how touched he was to hear from one client who had placed a custom order for a carved leather flask. She was so amazed at the quality of workmanship when she saw it, she ‘tipped’ him about 25% above the agreed to price of $200. That, he said, was someone who appreciated the truly fine art he was doing. How often this is the exception to the rule!
At this point, the conversation turned to the general topic of rampant consumerism and its effect on the appreciation (or lack) of handmade art. We bemoaned the fact that folks so often expect to find similarly handmade items at a ridiculous fraction of value given materials, workmanship and time spent…. available at the local Sams/Wally Mart/outlets stores ad nauseum. The sad truth is that so often, even if something is in fact handmade and not just molded to look like it, there is often great abuse involved which amounts to nothing less than sanctioned human slave labor. So what are the options?
One can make the conscious decision to really observe the quality of items purchased. It’s my belief that the true cost goes down dramatically when we consider that quality often not only outlasts a poorly made product, but it’s a lot more enjoyable to use during that time…and it keeps us from having to venture out and waste precious time searching for replacements. The wonderful local folks who spend their off hours crafting beautiful items for use in your home…be they pillows, quilts, scarves, hats, sculptures, jewelry, or pie warmers – all really appreciate that they are fulfilling some basic human needs for warmth, adornment, and more….and also that they are creating items with integrity, durability, and the stamina to stand the test of time. Just like those two towels.
And handmade quality, made in America, is the best bet for my money.