“It should look handmade” may be in fact a description used instead of the better “It should not be mass produced by machine”.
I am a professional artisan blacksmith. If you look *really* closely at pre-Industrial age forged work, you see that even in large grills with regular, repeated elements, are in fact all individually hand forged over the anvil, one by one. This creates slight differences to each. Not what happens if forms and jigs are used for the shaping. The net effect is subtle, but even the casual viewer notices something that tells them ‘hand made’.
A trained and careful hand *can* in fact produce effects indistinguishable from machine work. (I’d say this most often seen in highly skilled hand sewing!) This should be a goal to be sought as one develops as an artisan.
|Roughly 1200 AD - Hand forged wolf head detail, about 2 inches long (Victoria & Albert, London)|
Note that I am not talking about *mistakes* here, but an approach to the work itself. I most certainly have undertaken detailed reproductions and replicas of historic objects in the past. Here the fine details of the objects most often also must be created using not only hand work methods, but sometimes replica tools and historic processes. (Carving with a dremel bur will *never* look like carving with a fine chisel - and certainly is not a duplication of a historic process.)
This was a return comment by the mind behind opusanglicanum:
Since I do silversmithing ... as well as sewing, I can confirm that perfection is far far easier with sewing! It that very subtle "should" that gets to me. Looking handmade is a wonderful thing, but the should is used as justification far more often than its ever used as a compliment. The agressive handmadeness of some modern pieces is a separate category which is in itself a reaction against the conformity of our society, and in the hands of someone who knows what they're doing it can be fantastic - but to deconstruct any art form you have to know how to do it "properly" (for want of a better word) first. To deconstruct something without knowing how to construct it just vandalism. To use deconstruction as an excuse for not bothering to learn to construct is mental and physical laziness, and that's where the "should" becomes a vital distinction(I have highlighted a critical point there)
I would recommend my own readers not only check out the opusanglicanum blog, but also take the time to run down the line of comments to this specific entry.
I have been stuck with how thoughtful the responses have been.
This most especially since the other 'check this out' suggestion from that morning turned out to be whining drivel. I had hopes that a discussion of 'what fails at re-enactments' might yield some meat, but it quickly descended to mere fat and fluff.