In recent months I have spent many days showcasing my candles and melts at markets around South East Queensland and I have learnt several things that I want to share.
Firstly, it seems that there are many people out there who genuinely appreciate handmade products still. In fact, it looks like thousands of such people are not only prepared to specifically go to outdoor markets to buy something handmade, but are prepared to pay comparably more than the commercially produced alternatives - such is their level of appreciation.
At the markets, so many people have told me that just knowing that my candles were prepared by a person rather than a robot gives them a warm feeling when they look at the candles burning. I do understand that and feel the same, but it's great to hear it from so many others.
I have also discovered that the artisan / craft community is alive and well in Queensland and there are just so many people who are putting their everything into creating treasures that they then share with the public at markets. To put that into perspective, take a lady I met recently who makes greeting cards out of tie dyed fabrics and then sits at the markets for upwards of 8 hours after putting up her gazebo and display herself – and she is in her 70s. These creators are doing it to share their passions as there is no way it can be about the profit.
This has led me to a realisation that these artisans and equally people who appreciate their work enough to purchase their crafts are engaged in an ancient and vital dance with one another that is under threat by massive commercial enterprises. That interaction (that I have now experienced) between someone who genuinely appreciates the work and skill you have put into something you have created with your own hands and the creator of that product can’t be measured in dollar terms – it is genuinely priceless.
When I come home from a long day at the markets, I’m not thinking about the money I have made, rather I am thinking about the positive feedback I have received and the amazing things that other people are creating. To an extent social media allows this interaction to occur but it just isn’t the same as having someone touching and enjoying the aromas of my candles and melts face to face outdoors.
Having experienced this now, I will never look at arts and crafts the same again. These people (both the creators and the customers!) need to be praised and thanked for keeping an irreplaceable aspect of our society alive and well.