The sub-text of the infographic below is pretty interesting. It purports that handmade products are currently made possible in part thanks to the costs of factory made products; or rather, if we made everything by hand we’d have to all go back to shucking corn and hand-knotting Persian rugs – but we won’t. However hand-knot Persian rugs are made possible – while expensive – exactly because the bulk of us are interacting with mostly-automated products in our daily lives. I’d argue the sweet spot is somewhere in the middle. Machines and automation won’t be going away, and I for one would rather spend a year making a machine to help me automate shucking corn, than a lifetime doing it by hand – I might have lost that year and not shucked any corn but now I’ve gained exponential years back thanks to my machine and available tools.
After the Industrial Revolution, mass production of goods led to mass consumption in a necessary way. With factory made goods now accessible and affordable across the country and around the world, the quality of life vastly improved for countless people, elevating our agrarian culture to a global commercial one. In the modern world, there is room for both factory made and handmade, where artisanal can live beside industrial. Check out the differences between the two approaches below.