Sarafina Fiber Art

Sarafina Fiber Art

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Why Buy Handmade: Because We Were Meant To

Purchasing a handmade item or piece of art is an intimate experience connecting people to people and people to Earth.  Long ago, the needs of people were met by what the Earth provided.  I need a bed – gather leaves.  I need food - gather nuts and berries.  I need medicine – gather herbs.   Then people traded and sold items that they made and perhaps in which they had a specialization. I need my wheat ground – go and trade with the Millers. I need my horse shod  – go and see the Smiths.  Spanning time and cultures, humans also saw beauty in the world and replicated it in adornment and creations that existed for the sole purpose of being admired, not to be used at all - art. Whether born out of necessity or just for the beauty, handmade is our history.  

In the modern world we have become distanced from our purchases.  Materials are far removed from their source, in distance and in processing, and the buyer is far removed from the creator.  Technology and engineering have streamlined creation to make millions of the same thing.  Don't get me wrong, I prefer a mattress to leaves and I would be up shit creek without Imodium, but I want explain why I seek out a world created by hands.

I am not interested in drawing a line between craft and art so I will just be referring to the entire spectrum as “handmade” or “creation.”   A handmade item has been inspired.  Inspiration can come from need, color, a feeling, a moment, a technique, nature, a memory, a medium, a discovery, and the list goes on and on for eternity. 

The creator uses his/her skill and chosen medium to take the inspiration and create an object. He or she is thinking about why that particular color, texture, or material will work just right, and making thousands of tiny decisions that shape the creation into something that only that one person could make and could probably only make one time – never again the same.

The buyer/admirer is attracted to the handmade item.  The buyer sees in the item something that speaks to him/her.  It says, “I am your favorite color (texture, shape, subject, etc)  and you are intrigued by the decisions that were made to create me. You see in me a reflection of yourself!” 

Therefore, the buyer is connecting not only to the item but also to the creator.  They have now shared the experience of the creation.  The buyer can further connect by giving the creation as a gift.  Now the recipient of the handmade item can admire the creation, love the giver, and connect with the creator.  I mean really, how much more connecting can you get?  Well, there is more….

... all involved, creator, buyer/admirer, and recipient are experiencing a connection to the Earth’s beauty, inspiration, and materials.   We have no handmade without materials.  We have no inspiration without experiencing our world.  We have no beauty without the sight of our Earth.

My shop is currently full of creations born from the Earth's gifts; wood, fiber, clay, leather, stones, metal, gourds, and more.  Shaped by creators and ready to be admired, possibly purchased, possibly given, but definitely appreciated.

It's hard to pick a favorite  (No it's not, I have started a small pile.), but one is a live edge dark walnut serving board harvested locally and made with care by a long-time friend. It is so simple, a single piece of wood.  But it celebrates the beauty that occurs without fuss.  A reflection of me?  Not me exactly, but what I love most in this world. 

Shop handmade this year.  Shop local.  Shop small business.  Create your world.


  1. Wonderful blog. Nothing more precious than something made by hand and even more special when it is made for you.

  2. Oh, my. A friend shared this on her FB page, and truer words were never written. Thanks for such a heartfelt blog!

  3. Thank you, Sarah! For sharing your talent and passion. I am really new to needle felting, and I have been on your website and have studied your tutorials as an inspiration for learning this craft. Your creations are truly beautiful and I can't wait to purchase some of your lovely materials!

  4. If Swax is applied onto an arm or leg will it prevent the arm or leg from bending? Will it crack?