As I’ve been attempting to make some sort of business out of my love of making things by hand, I’ve been considering more regularly how much, or rather, how little a lot of items cost in comparison to each other and three thoughts in particular have collided in relation to this.
I’d already been trying to navigate the ethical and fair trade minefield that I sometimes feel we experience, but I guess I’ve had a bit more brain space lately to actually make some decisions about what I do and don’t want to contribute to and how to go about it. That’s not to say I always get it right, or that I don’t sometimes succumb to the temptation of some very conveniently and cheaply placed item.
However, the crafting of anything by hand certainly does help put things in perspective and make me consider prices, origin, wages, conditions etc. more regularly. It’s also caused me to consider more which things are for ‘special’ occasions. Being the grand old age that I am, I feel that we are outright told we deserve good things, special things much, much more often that we used to.
This has been reinforced by a new diet I have been on recently - it is not one I started for weight loss but rather for specific health reasons and it has been helping considerably. But it is BORING. I remind myself that at least it helps make life ‘simple’ at home. When the options are greatly limited, you just do what you can. Rather than having 20 options of what to make for tea, there are two. That’s barely a decision. Simples.
(Also, because this is something I have chosen to do myself, I have no problem with breaking the when I am out. This makes the times I do break the diet all the more interesting and special. So far, the benefits of sticking with it most of the time, far out way the negatives.)
The third element that bumped into this particular train of thought was a book that I was reading ‘The Last Runaway’ by Tracy Chevalier of ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ fame.
The book touched on a number of things I found interesting - the Quaker tradition of silence, sewing (even though I’m not a quilter as the main character is, I appreciated how Chevalier wrote about the peace of sewing), all the while engaging in a deep conversation about slavery, racism and equality and our role in each.
This is a book published in 2013 based on the history of the 1850’s America. While not an accurately ‘true’ story, it is truth in that it portrays the struggles experienced at that time.
Unfortunately, we are pretty much still having the same conversations.
Anyway, these three thoughts have been rattling around by head. Not completely sure where it gets me, but it makes me appreciate what other people make a whole lot more.
Quotes from The Last Runaway
It seems that even those opposed to slavery disagree about how it should be ended, with some advocating immediate emancipation, while others argue that such a drastic action would ruin the economy, and that freedom needs to be handed out incrementally….p100 excerpt from a letter written by Honor (main character) back home to England.
“Perhaps we should all pay a bit more for our cloth, so that cotton growers may use that extra money to pay the slaves, making them workers rather than slaves.”
The Haymakers (her in-laws) stared at her (Honor). “ I would pay a penny more a yard if I knew it was paying to dismantle slavery,” she added.
“I did not know thee had the pennies to be generous with,” Dorcas remarked.
Judith Haymaker passed her son a platter of ham. “Adam Cox would have to shut down his business if he raised the prices on the cloth he sold….p153