In this first “content” post, I wanted to introduce you a little bit to the reason I started Lane 33 ½ and to reflect a little on why I love making items that will be enjoyed as gifts to yourself or others.
One of the reasons that I love handmade gifts is that the gift provides joy at the moment your friend or family member receives it, like any other purchased factory-made gift would, but it has a power before and after that moment as well. You pay attention to a project for a long time before you are actually able to complete it and send it. Handmade gifts take that moment of finding the perfect gift in a store and extends it – I experience that connection with that person during the whole process, from thinking about what she would like and choosing a project I’d like to make for her, to thinking about how she will use this gift and how I can make it to especially fit that person’s taste and lifestyle, to making the project and paying attention to the details so it is really high quality.
Then, after you pack it up, mail it off, and imagine your loved one opening the gift, hopefully what happens is that they get that experience on the other end in reverse to some degree. They are not just opening it and enjoying a gift made in a factory somewhere, but it also allows them to think about and appreciate the process that you went through, realizing that you did spend that time thinking about them during the creation of that gift.
So what happens when you buy something that is handmade instead of making it yourself? I have purchased several handmade gifts over the years from other artists and craftspeople. In this, I realize I am one step removed from making the gift with my own hands, but so much of the experience actually resonates for me in the same way. By looking at their shop information, blogs, or contacting them directly, I get to know the artist, their process, what goes into creating a beautiful piece, and the story that I will share with the recipient of the gift when I talk to her about how I chose this particular item and why I felt that the quality and product were so powerful.
If you’ve ever bought something handmade for yourself or someone else, or if you’ve given gift you made to someone in your life, why did you do it?