Friday, August 17, 2007

Soap box time people!

Put very simply, I make things. I make things with my hands, one at a time and no two things are alike. Labels for what I do and how that defines me vary from seamstress to craftsperson to artist. Making things is as essential to me as breathing, just something I do and have done since I was a child.

The part that gets me is that what I do and how I do it has little or no value in our society. Oh, people will pay lip service, however that comes to a screeching halt when I tell them that making their dream dress will take me a minimum of two weeks full time labour and explain the costs of supporting me for those two weeks.

Those same people who claim to ‘understand’ and ‘respect’ what I do are the first in to the end of season sales at the chain stores, later bragging about their $10 dress. That dress what made by someone, perhaps a minor, working in sub prime conditions for little of no pay in a county with lower ‘standards’. While those of us lucky enough to live in our society with higher standards crash our financial systems because we want more.

As a society we carry more debt that any before us and as much as we all talk about how this is unhealthy, it sure doesn’t seem to be going away. Even when we are paying next to nothing for the ‘stuff’ we buy.

Just for a second imagine that we had to pay for everything we own based on supporting the same standard of living for the ‘makers’ as we want to maintain for ourselves?


Ariannah Armstrong said...

A woman after my own heart.
I think it's a strange dichotomy in our society.

Even craftspeople themselves tend to downplay the value of the work of their own hands and hearts, thus perpetuating the myth that one can simply crank out an exquisite lace shawl, for instance, after a few sitcom viewings... sheesh.

This is one of my hot issues, and why I pursue my artistic hobbies for the sheer love of it.

*I* cannot afford myself even. (grin)

Chat Noir Books - A Voice in the Wilderness said...

Now I feel guilty. :P

You are so right though. We deal with the same issues everyday with our customers. It's why we only sell fair trade coffee - it's the same thing really - we have to try to remember it in everything we do in life.

Petpro said...

Couldn't agree more, Bea.