Why Handmade is Important
I saw one of those $9.99 aluminum Cost Plus spice boxes today and got to wondering - why is handmade important? Because many times a product that is well made my hand can afford a deeper connection to the product and it's intended use. And the producer is not limited by what a machine can produce - they are only limited by what their hand can produce.
When we first designed the die-cut petals in the lid of the spice box, I was pretty hard on the artisans, demanding that each petal be like the other in some crazed uniform conformity design principle... But when they returned a couple prototype boxes I realized that there was something special about the way in which each petal was similar to one another - because the artisans are so good at what they do the petals actually are very similar, but not exactly similar the way a machine would make them. Think of handmade Italian leather - you expect it to be uniform in color, hide and stitching and you also expect it to be much more than that, and much, much more than a machine can do... It's the angle of the blade used to cut the petal, the way the artist joined two sides of the petal and the ever so slight nick left in the paper at their joining...These small details combine to create a more textured and interesting experience.
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Here's a closeup of the handcut petals on the lid of the Handmade Spice Box: