Sunday, December 7, 2008

Simple Kitchen Towels

As I was responding to KD in the comment, I reserve my cottolin to non-commercial purposes; for me, as gifts for my family, for exchanges. And they are inevitably things that can not only be used, but will be used.

A set of serviettes/napkins I wove back in 1995 is one of my treasures. They are soft and absorbent but still holds the colors well, in spite of heavy use. And I love the towels and bath mats I've woven for myself.

The thing is, though, when you go to discount stores, design stores, and kitchen stores and see a set of three handsome-looking towels from India, for example, and though they are most probably machine-woven, when you see prices like $15 or even $45 for the set, what do you think? I can't help feeling a little dismayed. I'm not saying all kitchen/tea towels need to be more expensive. No way! But I can't help feeling it might have to do with that dreaded reminder from art historians and anthropologists, that something most probably made by a woman to be used most probably by a woman in the house can't possibly be valuable, regardless of the "intrinsic" value of the item.

How many crafts and skills have we lost because not enough monetary value was placed on something made by hand, I wonder.

6 comments:

  1. I know just what you mean and I often look at my silk scarves and I think, if people knew how much time goes into these and how little I charge for my time, they might pay more. BUt then you can go to any department store and pick up a silk scarf for just a few dollars.

    It is sad.

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  2. When you think of how "drawing" used to be a relatively unspecialized skill, (and I'm guessing almost as pedestrian as us knowing how to use a cell phone,) when recitation of poems and passages of novels used to be routine... I'm not a Luddite so I don't condemn new technology at all, but by the same token lots of "nice" skills seem to be disappearing.

    I for one watch much too much television instead of reading or writing or otherwise engaging in proactive things.

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  3. The blue one is wonderful!

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  4. Oh, thank you, KD. It is also the 'sanest' structure when one is relying on floating selvedges to keep the edges... reasonable. Hubby loves it so much he wants one for ourselves, so I'll do it in another brown.

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  5. I can't agree more. One of the things that bugged me most about my father in law was his comments about "home made stuff". He would have much rather bought something from a factory than hand made. Was it his generation? I don't know but in the US heads of households would actually leave their fiber goods (clothing and linens) in their wills. Also was always included in household inventories.
    I normally ask $15 for my hnadwoven towels and most people look at me like I'm crazy but like you stated in your blog they would pay that and more for something imported. I doubt most people would work for as little per hour as we weavers do.
    That being said, all our items are lovely!!!!!!!!!!

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  6. A friend who speaks like an art connoisseur commented he thought I whipped up one of my cashmere scarves in 20 minutes; then he said I should make them heavier so consumers get more weight per buck. I'm never sure if he's joking, but that kind of ignorance is all over the place, I think.

    I love that you said, "all our items are lovely!!!!!!!!!!" They are, and we need to keep reminding ourselves, Bspinner.

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