250 years ago, you may have made every object in your home, or known the person who did make it. Fast forward to today, and not only is it quite possible that every object in a Canadian home is made by some else, but that someone lives on the other side of the planet. If you remember the cult classic movie from the 1990’s, Fight Club, there is scene where the inventory of the protaganist’s apartment is taken, showing each objects IKEA name and sku number ‘Elegant Solutions for Affordable Living’. He was proud of his spartan, anonymous home.
I would argue that we have lost something by filling our homes with objects that we do not have an emotional connection with. I think a sense of self and place is greatly increased if you are surrounded by objects in your home that you made, or that were made by someone you know. I have the great fortune to live with a knitter, and I assure you that a hat knit by someone who loves you, is 10 times warmer than any hat from a store.
The maker movement is in part a direct response to people wanting physical objects in their lives to have a direct connection to their own hands and minds. One of my favorite things I have made at Diyode was a new fridge door handle. My kids had broken the old handle, and I thought about buying one, but did not think I could find one that matched. So I took the old one as a starting point, and carved a new door handle, out of white oak. When I started I had no idea how to carve wood, but it turned out wonderfully. It’s the only one like it. I touch it many times a day, and enjoy the knowledge that I made it.
I encourage you to consider making instead of buying, and to love the asymmetry of an object made by an absolute novice, as compared to the perfect version from an unknown factory thousands of miles away. To quote a famous song lyric from Canadian song-writer, Leonard Cohen. ‘There is a crack in everything – That’s how the light gets in’