I love hand-made. I love to see people making things using traditional techniques. I love to see that tradition transform into modern ideas. We just returned from Colonial Williamsburg where we watched the cabinet makers working on a bookshelf and a spinnet. We watched the spinner and weaver turning a pile of sheep fluff into a blanket. We watched the brick makers working the clay and molding it into bricks. We watched the joiner cut notches into a timber that was part of the roof structure of a new building. We watched the basket maker splitting oak to be woven into baskets. There is a beauty in the natural wood and fibers that is certainly lost in today's particle board and nylon.
We returned from the 18th century and spent the day in the 21st century yesterday at Heartwood, a new center showcasing Southwest Virginia food, music, crafts, and culture. While many people are showcasing traditional crafts, they're doing it with a modern flare. Wood workers made rocking chairs from cherry with whimsical curves and twists. Clay pots feature bright glazes and unusual designs. Wood carvers stretch the wood to its limit creating thin tail feathers on a whittled chicken. Baskets include bright colors and new materials woven into them. Ah, the beauty of hand-made married with a bit of imagination!