There’s something special about work done by hand. No matter how modern we may be, we all have a love of the unique and respect for the people who keep old-time crafts alive. We associate the crafts of yesteryear with quality, and we may sometimes feel sad that real craftsmanship seems to be dying out. But is it really? These crafts are among the skills that are still in demand, and alive and well today.
Remember the good, old fashioned wind up clock? Even if the power source is now a battery, there are still clockmakers out there. Wondering what to do with a battered heirloom or antique clock? You needn’t despair of finding experts who repair and restore clocks. From their inner workings to their outer casings, clockmakers know how to get your old but valued clocks in perfect running order.
From the leather they choose for their products to the careful, hand-finishing of each item, handmade leather goods are worlds apart from their mass-produced cousins. They usually last a lot longer too! Although certain parts of the world are famed for their leather crafts, you’re sure to find a craftsman near you – and most of them are open to repairs and making bespoke items as well as offering popular stock items. Custom shoes? A real leather bag that lasts a lifetime? It can be done.
While most of the jewellery you’ll find in stores is mass-produced using casting techniques, having jewellery made to order may be much cheaper than you thought it would be. It’s still a higher-priced product, but it’s also the kind of thing that lasts and that can be handed down across generations. Give the usual retailers the go-by and look out for smiths who make unique pieces you can be proud of.
Calligraphy, the art of creating beautiful writing, was once the only way to produce books. Today, we see it as a hobby, but there are people who have transformed this skill into viable businesses all the same. Break away from computer generated fonts and mass produced greeting cards on cheap paper. There’s nothing quite as attractive as the “real thing.”
Most of us see carpenters as people who make basic items out of wood, but real craftsmanship means much more than that. Top carpenters and woodcarvers still produce the most beautiful furniture imaginable using high quality wood (they’ll often sneer at pine) and the results speak for themselves. Got an idea for a custom headboard or dining room set? Dreaming of old-style hand carved wood panelling? There’s almost sure to be a thriving carpentry business in your area.
Weaving, once a basic skill that all women learned, has become an artform. While some people enjoy weaving as a hobby, others are busy creating high-quality garments and rugs, and many of these businesses will be happy to fulfil your desire for a unique, handmade item made according to your instructions. You may also be surprised to know that the art of oriental rug making has crossed its traditional borders and that there are probably people in your area, hand-knotting carpets in the old-fashioned way.
If anything about these old-time crafts has changed, it’s the fact that what were once considered costly necessities have become modern-day luxuries. While mass production doesn’t necessarily equate to inferior quality, it quite often does. Lovers of fine things are still supporting craftspeople who do things the old-fashioned way, so regardless of the item or craft you’d love to support, you’ll find practitioners running successful businesses – and they may be easier to access than you believed.
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