How can a maker rebel against the worst excesses of consumerism yet still make a living from making and selling stuff?
This is a dilemma I struggle with. The Western world is too full of stuff, most of it produced in far off lands with working conditions and environmental practices we outlawed years ago. Most of it is designed to become obsolete or out of fashion and will head soon to landfill to encourage more buying and production. So what am I doing in a world already too full of stuff making more stuff? Am I part of the problem or part of the solution?
I know that many of my customers already have enough tableware in their homes but just aspire to own something more wholesome, something with meaning, a connection to the maker and the woodland perhaps. One of the things I enjoy most about my job is the regular messages from customers who have used my work for many years. Just this week Kate Malone judge of the Pottery Throw Down TV program told me how much she enjoyed using my porringer. That means a lot to me. There is a real connection when someone tells me they have eaten their breakfast from one of my bowls for 15 years and gained pleasure from it every day.
So I guess this is how I justify to myself making stuff. If folk turn their back on having masses of stuff destined for landfill and instead choose to save for fewer things that last and have meaning perhaps it would be a better world. Whatever, I feel deep distaste when I see folk fighting over wide screen TVs that I know cost the earth and will be in landfill in 10 years. Instead of watching any media today I spent the day in my workshop making porringers. It feels like therapy.