Handcrafted versus Handmade

Aline SeilerComment

Two words that are perceived so differently

Isn’t it bizarre, how language sometimes changes the perception people have on the exact same thing. In this case the words “making” and “crafting”.

When it comes to communicating the amount of work, craftsmenship and finesse that goes into each and every product, it’s sometime not very easy to bring across. Especially when it comes to the German language the differentiation seems crucial.

When telling a customer that all of my products are handmade and even hand stitched people immediately think of someone sitting at home and creating something as part of a hobby. People think of sloppy work, items that show that they are handmade by looking off or faulty.

The reality couldn’t be more different. Taking the time to produce something with your hands must be one of the most valuable factors we have in our time and age. Crafting a handbag with the amount of attention to detail and perfection that I (and many other craftsmen that I know) put into my work, is what produces the highest quality.

Isn’t everything we buy handmade?

In addition to the time factor I always wonder, if we have come so far, that we completely forget who makes the mass produced things we buy. We talk about how bad the working conditions in the big factories in developing countries are and how the big companies need to step it up to improve those conditions. Yet the word handmade has a negative connotation. How is that even possible?

Even if you prefer to buy your items from a mass retailer, someone still had to make (sew) it for you in the end.


Let’s appreciate the craft

Of course this phenomenon is not something which applies to my clients. For most of them one of the key factors is the quality wich I can provide and of course the promise to always try and repair your items in case anything breaks. Even the best stitching can open up over time, even the highest quality leather might tear apart because of too much sunlight and so on.

Becoming an artisan takes so much time, effort and passion for what you do. Mastering leather craft is the challenge of a lifetime. I always learn new things from so many great craftsmen every day. (Shoutout to Philip who offers one of the best online courses available. )

With that being said I hope that in the future we can start to change the connotation of the word handmade (especially when it comes to the German language) from negative to positive and I really hope that more and more people start to see the value in preserving all of the different kinds of traditional crafts out there.

What are your thoughts on handmade / crafted items and why the words seem to be perceived so differently? Let me know what you think in the comments.



Ps. I’m working on a blog to explain why I’m not using a sewing machine aka why a hand stitched (saddle stitched) item is of such superior quality. I’m still waiting on some illustrations to show you the difference of the two seams which will make explaining a lot easier. Stay tuned on that.