Saturday, November 9, 2013

EDM 147 - Something Made of Wood

This is the top of a hand-carved wooden display pedestal that I have had since I was a teenager. It was a gift from a friend who traveled a lot as a young girl. I'm guessing this piece is from India. I don't know if my friend remembers where she bought it, but if she does, I'm sure there's a good story involved. She's a wonderful storyteller! I wonder if she even remembers buying it or giving it to me. We've both lived lifetimes since this piece was new.

When I posted this on Facebook, an EDM group member who lives in India confirmed that it is the kind of thing that is very common in handicraft shops in India. I love that there are handicraft traditions in regions of the world. You see something, and know, "That came from ________" (fill in the blank). Regional craft traditions are still very much alive in many places in the world, especially less industrialized countries. I've seen it in Asia, Central America, and Europe. It is harder to find in America.

I suspect that the success of cheap and reliable industrialized goods in this country has contributed to the demise of genuine regional handicrafts. So much so, that we tend to see something homemade and judge it by how manufactured it looks. We compare similar items and think they're better if they all look uniform and exact, which store-bought goods do. Machines are good at producing large quantities of identical, soul-less goods. And, why do we call them "goods"? We should call them "sames."

I would love to see a revival of regional (or common) craftsmanship--items that aren't perfect, aren't expensive, aren't fussy. They are REAL souvenirs of a place--not mass-produced in a factory somewhere else and sold as regional. It seems that this would lend to that place an ounce or two of authenticity and uniqueness. It goes beyond "quaint." It is honest production. And, it is hard to find.
EDM 147 - Something Made of Wood; 3x3" watercolor

No comments:

Post a Comment