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The Need for Crafts
Author: Eileen Bergen

In this world of mass production, the public at large is developing a stronger appreciation for things hand made and unique. Tired of malls filled to the brim with look-alike products, craftsmen are becoming more popular than ever.

Most of what we consider to be crafts today began as a necessities of life. When this country was formed, you couldn’t go down to the local hardware store for nails or to the local furniture store for chairs. Only the very wealthy could afford to import goods from Europe.

Therefore people either made things themselves, like quilts or clothing, or specialized craftsmen like iron smiths set up shop to make things like horse shoes and nails.

Most of modern crafting is carrying on these traditions today. Iron smiths make furniture and decorative railings. Quilts are a art form recognized around the world and given museum shows. Glass blowers create truly unusual and unique pieces of art.

The good news for crafters is a predicted increase in demand for unique handmade items. According to Robyn Waters, founder of trend watching company, RWTrend, in an interview for the January 2005 issue of The Crafts Report, today’s world of cell phones, wireless Internet and other high tech gadgets keep people on call 24/7. She says, “Psychologists are very concerned that we’re losing our ability to focus and that it’s affecting our creativity.”

Buying and enjoying art is a way for people to escape virtual reality for a time and get back in touch with all their senses. Seeing and touching something that human hands have made satisfies the highest needs of humankind.

Abraham Maslow created the “Needs Hierarchy”. Human beings will satisfy their needs starting with the most basic and progressing up the pyramid as far as they are able.

From Body Needs to Security Needs to Social Needs to Ego Needs to Self-Actualization Needs, humankind has been evolving to its highest possible state. If the need for self-actualization can no longer be met, modern civilization runs the risk of sliding backwards along the evolutionary scale.

Self-actualization encompasses our desire for beauty, purpose, personal growth and realization of potential.

An appreciation for things handmade is apparent in other areas apart from arts and crafts. Consumers are more aware of and interested in the source of things they buy. From imported produce and artisanal foods to trendy health foods, information on who made it and where it came from adds value.

Crafters should take advantage of this trend.

Buying and displaying a one-of-a-kind work of art is not only a way to decorate; it is also an important act of self-expression and self-actualization. In a world of mass-produced sameness, more and more people are going to crave the unique.

Look at the large manufacturers who are recognizing this.

M&M/Mars allows you to customize your own M&Ms. You have 21 colors to choose from and can have your own messages imprinted. “It’s a Boy/Girl!”, “Happy Birthday”, “Love Always”, you name it!

Target to a “T" offers The perfect fit: for your personality, your lifestyle, your wardrobe, your body. Target not only allows you to design your own clothes, but also saves your measurements and preferences for future orders.

Timberland lets you build your own boot. Start with the classic yellow boot. Then choose your colors and combination from collar to sole. Add a monogram to the midsole if you desire. Build a boot as original as you are.

The world of handmade crafts is continuing to evolve. Fortunately the market for them looks like it will never disappear.

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By: Eileen Bergen. For more information on craft selling or the business of crafting, visit the Craft Business Center

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