Why Handmade Souvenirs Matter
We live in a world where many souvenirs are mass produced. Not that there is anything necessarily wrong with that. Humankind have certainly come a long way to develop technologies in making our lives easier by speeding up production that require massive quantities. This is all to fulfill bulk demand. But it’s also wonderful that more travellers everywhere are beginning to embrace things that are made by hand in small quantities. In case you hadn’t heard, here is why handicrafts matter.
1. Handmade is the new Maltese manufacturing
Shortly after the Industrial Revolution, Malta began to import mass produced souvenirs. Yes that’s right, a souvenir that is imported from overseas! Many of which will have “Malta” inscribed on them. How ironic is that? And this was not only the case for Malta I’m afraid, but for many other worldwide destinations with China being the main producer. It’s sad on one hand.
On the other hand, such phenomenon has created demand for authentic local crafted products. Malta has responded quite rapidly to that demand. The Maltese took the opportunity to give them a voice in tourism. To buy a handicraft product is to affirm and give continuous life to that human voice. When done throughout a community, multiple times over, an entire city can find new life. Case in point is Ta’ Qali Crafts Village where it has established itself as an attraction on its own.
As a matter of fact, this handicraft rave is now even more seen happening all across the Maltese Islands today and it’s making our nation a better place, one community at a time.
2. A handmade item cannot be duplicated
No two handmade items are exactly alike. Variations in colour, shading, texture, shape and grain are inherent in a handmade item. No two items are alike, so that every single one is one-of-a-kind. This means that every handmade item you purchase is also one-of-a-kind. What’s not to like about that?
3. It’s human nature to value the creative spirit
“Art and love are the same thing: It’s the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you.” What a wonderful quote by Chuck Klosterman. When craftsmen create the handcrafted souvenir, the makers leave a part of their individual self in it. Next time you pass craftsmen, stop and observe them finish their artwork. Upon completion, the craftsmen take pride in the work partly because they see themselves and their effort put through it. Whether it’s the shape, colour, texture or just the mood the creator happened to be in, one experiences the creative spirit of the craftsman who created it. Such spirit is treasured and valued far beyond an item that was made for worldly mass consumption.
4. Handmade items are crafted in an environment of joy, honour and respect
Have you ever studied the work space of a person who creates for a living? Their creations are almost always made in a space of joy, honour, and respect. Those same values somehow find their way into the very fibre of a handmade souvenir. For example, consider that every inch of thread that forms part of the Maltese lace once flowed through the fingers of a Maltese woman on her doorstep, engrossed in this beautiful tradition whilst knitting the garment with intention and purpose.
The origins of the Maltese lace goes back to the Knights of Malta period who introduced such lace as a clothing accessory to embellish fashionware of nobility and ecclesiastical vestments. Who wouldn’t take extra special care of such an item that has been long appreciated in history?
5. Everything is more beautiful when it’s made with a heart
You would like to give a gift to someone dear to you. You can give him or her a mass produced necklace or else you can opt for one with filigree a Maltese grandmother made. The mass produced one will do the job of surprise, but only the one a grandmother made will touch the very heart of the receiver. You will be asked about the technique, how long it took for the filigree to be made and where in the world it was created.
This is why handmade matters.