Learning from the economy

It was a busy winter in the studio with more beautiful work being produced and shipped throughout Canada, the US, Europe and a surprising number of orders to Australia.

The global events and economy have combined to create interesting times affecting us all.  When I must go to the city on an errand, I’m struck by the vast amount of mass produced items available for sale.  Products with no lasting function or purpose and no evidence of who made them are commonplace.  Perhaps in part as a response to this trend, there also seems to be a growing movement away from this copious consumption of nothingness.  At the One of a Kind Show in Toronto this past Christmas I was struck by the number of new and old customers who informed me that they were buying our work specifically because they wanted to give a gift or own something that was made by hand and would last generations.  If I have learned one thing about recessions it is that, when people suddenly have to be careful of their spending, they place more and more value on purchasing products made by an individual they can relate to, rather than a machine.  Perhaps there is an unconscious recognition that Toshiba and Sony do not make family heirlooms or works of art.  We’ve experienced an element of this firsthand.  Our hand-turned bark edged wooden bowls are now being copied by a production bowl mill in Massachusetts whose owner saw how the consumer related to our work.  However, the exact same curve and form in each bowl gives them away as machine made and customers have suggested to us that in this uniformity the individual soul and true value of the piece is lost.  We continue to strive to evolve our work in ways that evoke the unique and individual nature of our forms.  Our square bowls and the sculptural burls continue to have a strong reception and there is no way for a machine to duplicate a pale copy of them, but they are free to try.

All the Best,

Don

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