Today, I was reading Chapter two of Betsy Greer’s book Knitting For Good. The chapter is entitled deepening our connection to craft. It focuses on what “crafting” really means and its role in plays in personal expression. Betsy also has some great points when it comes to become very aware of items we use and wear in every day life. Where do they come from? Who makes them? What does the company stand for? etc . This chapter really got me thinking about how my world views have changed since I started knitting.
First off, I should warn you, I have some pretty strong opinions about the handmade world. I feel we live in a time of opportunity. There is nothing you can’t accomplish now days. The world both on-line and off is full of knowledge. ANYBODY can start a business, sell a handmade item, design a pattern, write a blog. etc. I believe this is a great thing. Even, if you aren’t a crafter you now have the option to choose your shopping experience. You can hand pick what companies you choose to support based on any number of factors that you are passionate about.
Before I started knitting, I never even thought about all the hard work that goes into the items that are displayed at craft fairs and farmers market. and I could never wrap my head around, why on earth anybody would pay more than $10 for a pair of hand knit slippers.
Now, that I share my love of knitting with the world through blogging and etsy, I have a whole new appreciation for not just handmade stuff and the entrepreneur but, also for anyone who is trying to make their way.
The mom and pop stores get my utmost respect for going up against some big competitors. Anybody with a facebook page,Etsy shop or is an independent designer, I feel your pain and your joy. Lots of people don’t understand what it takes to make something and then put it out there for the world to see. It takes guts, it takes determination and it takes patience. A LOT of patience.
But, the cashier at wal-mart, the sweat shop worker, and the guy on the night shift stocking the shelves at the local wal-mart also get my respect. here’s why.
because one person is not better than another.
I don’t think the big box stores are inherently bad. I’m not anti corporation and i don’t always shop local. I buy my baby’s diapers at wal-mart and while I’m there I might find a really cute shirt that cost me $5. Yes, it probably was made in a third world county for a wage that is crazy low and unacceptable and in working conditions that no body should have to endure.
But here’s the thing…
Maybe the etsy shop owner is trying to pay for her son’s soccer uniform and maybe the sweatshop worker is trying to put food on table so his/her family has a meal. Maybe its the other way around. You never know. We all have a story and a reason for doing what we do.
Does that mean you should support a company even though you disagree with how they run their business? No. It is okay to boycott something you feel is wrong. But, if you do find yourself one day buying something that isn’t local, hand made, environmentally friendly or whatever, you don’t have to be ashamed either.
My main point is, if we all took the time to just appreciate what goes into the products we use and consume. maybe one day we will consume less and create a better world where nobody has to work for 5 cents an hour , Everybody matters, so next time you buy or consume anything just take a moment really think about everything and everybody that helps make that item.
If you feel something is wrong, or someone is getting harmed because of a product or company. Stand up for what’s right and what’s honorable but, always stay respectful and thankful to everyone. Remember praising the right goes a lot farther then complaining about or condemning the wrong. If you find a product, company or employee doing something amazing let them know it and shout it from rooftops, Share it, tweet it , post it, pin it and let the world know you found someone or something amazing.
Thanks for reading,