Mass production. The word summons images of hot, noisy factories, machines taking the humanity out of creation. Conveyor belts trundling along with row after row of identical, uncompromisingly perfect Things, ready to ship to shops to sell.
Compare this to the deeply individual, human, soulful, creative process involved in holding the tools of your trade, carving the cloth, stitching the edges of dreams, bringing new life and purpose to materials that have lost their way. I’ve never been able hold the two ideas together comfortably, to the point that the very idea of mass production sets my teeth on edge. The path of constant repeat, of churning out huge numbers of The Same Things, and in doing so, stripping the uniqueness and individuality from every creation, would have my boredom sensors screaming and my soul entirely depleted of joy. Mass production has never been my path.
That incredibly pure, absolute joy of seeing materials placed, combined, moved – whether they be fabric, or paint, or plants in the garden, or stones on the beach, having them come together in such a way that pleases the soul and brings a smile – that moment, right there, in the realisation of creation, is what every artist strives for in their work. To be lost in the glorious newness of birthing creativity, that point where you and your creation melt into one and part of you is suddenly encased in the painting, the patchwork, the sculpture, the song. To have to repeat that, ad infinatum – would surely strip the soul of all that effervescent joy. And are we not each of us artists?
In all of the ways we craft in our lives, be it as mothers and fathers, as builders, as writers, as healers, as singers, or gardeners, or architects – there is a joy to our craft, our skill, that dulls a little if we cannot express it anew, again. Again. Again. Life is surely a series of small creations, each bringing joy, each shining our soul a little brighter.
Every quilt I make, every painting, every piece I embroider, they are so unique, each one so different, and making them fills me with such happiness, that I cannot imagine having to reproduce the work without the feeling, simply to make a few extra pounds.
Which is one of the reasons the stock in my store is so varied, and why it is rare to find more than a handful of anything. I’m often asked to “make another” – and find myself having to gently, carefully explain that I do not make copies, not even of my own work. So if you like it? Don’t wait too long to buy it!