I’ve often heard the question asked, “Why buy something handmade?” Someone then proceeds to rattle off a list of reasons not to go through the trouble of buying from an artisan. While it’s true that a card bought from Hallmark or a scarf from Walmart may be more convenient and (maybe) cheaper, does half of the message get lost?
Close your eyes and picture the last handmade gift or card you received. Whether it was from an artisan or a child’s art project, there is a significant emotional difference in knowing that something was made, sought out, or purchased just for you. Handmade gifts and sentiments are created, not just for the words they may contain, but to convey the message that the recipient is unique, cherished, and appreciated. Humans are hard-wired to value something that is scarce, rare, or one of a kind. These items have value beyond price tags and create memories that endure. It’s for this simple reason that handmade cards are framed instead of discarded and art is placed prominently in a household. While buying from artisans can support the handmade movement and help us chase our crafty dreams, it (more importantly) gives recipients the sort of experience that can last a lifetime. The fact that a unique gift or greeting can make someone feel special is why so many parents can’t part with their macaroni art.