Daily writing prompt
How do you express your gratitude?

A gift of craft is not always the way to show gratitude. 

I’ve been a woodcarver most of my life and made at least part of my living doing that for years. I’ve fashioned many a gift for clients. 

Here’s the thing: a handcrafted gift is not for everyone. Not everyone appreciates or sees the value of it. 

Having worked boat shows and craft show venues, I’ve seen eyes light up with the thought of offering a beautiful bowl or spoon to a spouse and see the spouse try to politely tell the partner that it’s not quite their thing and they’d prefer this or that more modern object. It’s taste and education. It’s not for everyone.

Why? Because we live in a world where the mass-produced predominates. We can have dozens of rings and multitudes of bowls, and it’s all good enough, if not spectacular. Day to day, we all use ready-made for convenience and low cost. Mass production puts decent goods into the hands of millions that they otherwise could not afford. However, unique craftwork is more of a stand-alone treasure. Each has its place in our lives if that is your preference.

Education also enters into this. If you are never introduced to craft or learn to appreciate it, You are not likely to want it. It’s not such a fantastic show of gratitude to offer a gift that is so unwelcome.

The points I’ve raised above are why I’m cautious about expressing gratitude with gifts I’ve carved. 

As a craftsperson, I believe I should be generous with my work, and I get as much from giving an appreciated gift as the recipient. So I usually consider what I know about the person before offering a handcrafted item and try to mate the gift with the recipient, whether it’s a small boat portrait, a spoon, a bowl, a small sign, or other work.

14 Replies to “Gifts”

  1. I LOVE my hand-crafted wooden spoons. Useful and true works of art. My younger son, who shares my ‘cooking’ gene is left-handed so I would always pick up a spoon or two for him at a craft show. Not sure if it was a gimmick or not, but he uses them.

    1. A trick with handedness of spoons is longer curved and recurved handles. This allows for various grip positions for either left or right handed people.

  2. Nicely done bowl, Lou — is it a burl? I usually love hand-crafted gifts and especially those of wood, but as you say, one needs to take that person’s tastes and personality into account.

    1. It was a small but from a cherry log that came in with the firewood. I was able to extract seven from that log of different sizes, mostly small. I loved the colors and the rough exterior on the top. The grain was very erratic which in this sort of carving is an advantage.

  3. This sounds so good. I’d love to learn woodcarving or pottery someday. These forms of art feel timeless to me.

  4. I used to crochet baby blankets and what people wanted to pay was far from the hours of valuable time it required for me to craft each stitch… I hear you on the mass production dilemma

    1. The issue of getting a fair return on labor was what, at last, drove me from commercially making spoons and other treen. Too many fake mass produced junk parading as hand made, and people not willing to pay a fair price for the product. We are not alone, lots of crafters have hung up the spurs and said no way!
      I only do portraits, eagles and some sign work – nothing cheap, all premium, and I don’t care if someone doesn’t like the cost estimate anymore. I do the other stuff for gifts now, nt for sale.

  5. I love the bowl, I first saw the bowl before any word caught my attention in this post. I always love an OOAK piece of art. It’s a piece of treasure that’s like a fingerprint that is unique to everyone. Something someone who appreciates art would definitely be proud to have. It is indeed not for everyone, but the right people would always have a grateful heart to receive it as a special gift and would even keep it as an heirloom for the next generation to keep. Thank you so much for this post, I really enjoyed reading it. More power to you and keep creating such an amazingly beautiful art. 💗

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