THE LAMENTABLE TRUTH ABOUT HANDMADE KITCHENS AND FURNITURE
07th January 2014
In the immortal words of Ab Lincoln - You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.
These poignant words came to me whilst shopping last night. At every turn I was bombarded with handmade. Everything has suddenly become hand produced - hand cooked crisps, handmade soup, hand cut ham, handmade soap and finally and most laughable hand picked tomatoes. I ask you, is there any other way of picking a bloody tomato. It seemed paradoxical that some of the major retail outlets should be pushing the virtues of handmade, but of course its all about profit and people are happy to pay a premium for all things hand produced.
The connotation of integrity and honesty associated with the term handmade makes it highly desirable in marketing. Ironically the ubiquitous use of handmade has become the very antithesis of sincerity, the reality being that most products never see the human hand. Most companies are run by accountants and to make things by hand would seriously slow up production and dent the profit margin. Unfortunately there is no government standard, no method of verification, so consequentially most companies jump on the band wagon of handmade.
The handmade kitchen and furniture market is a prime example of this. O.K. perhaps the wood is carried from one machine to another but that doesn't make it handmade. The majority of kitchen brands profess to make handmade kitchens and most lie through their teeth, happily deceiving a gullible innocent public into the fallacious dream of incorruptible handmade integrity. Even most of the smaller bespoke kitchen and furniture making companies fail to tell the truth, singing the same old tune and that's inexcusable, in-fact its fraudulent. Its not surprising that most so called handmade kitchens look the same, from the major brands to the small producers, that's because its made the same way, on a machine. Unfortunately trading standards seem to be reluctant to get involved in the furniture industry, so the word handmade is used and abused on an industrial scale.
CARVED WOOD is different, it is truly UNPLUGGED. Everything is made by hand and it shows
I suppose the pertinent question is does it really matter if something is painstakingly made by hand or produced by technologically advanced machinery, after all they produce the same thing ? WRONG !!! The phrase chalk and cheese immediately springs to mind when comparing the two. When something is made by hand with feeling, love and emotion it embodies an unfathomable humanity, so, so lacking in its overly sanitized machine produced equivalent.
It should be quite easy for the viewer to spot the fakes, the real thing is very rare and if it doesn't look handmade then it probably isn't. Human beings perceive visual information not only on a conscious level but also in a subliminal way below the level of conscious awareness, its an intuitive thing, true handmade just looks right. For example, hand scraping the wood is very time consuming compared to sanding but allows the woods natural depth and beauty to show through, where as sanding compresses and brutalizes the wood making it look superficially flat. Hand draw knifing the moulds on the door sections gives a natural looking uneven line as opposed to its machined equivalent, a dead straight inorganic artificial line. Hand tooling the wood with a carving gouge on door panels and around relief carvings gives a beautiful natural glow to the wood rather than the usual flat looking machining techniques used by the majority of so called handmade furniture manufacturers. Although the viewer may be unaware of these subtleties they all add up to the sum total of the visual experience.
In a world full of Machiavellian tendencies its reassuring to know that deceit naturally reveals itself. YOU CANNOT FOOL ALL THE PEOPLE ALL THE TIME, especially when they're presented with the real thing.