Saturday, 11 June 2011

Summing up the cost vs value post

My thanks to those who commented, it was fascinating to learn the views of others on the matter. There was a real sense of valueing the work of others in the replies.

I must confess that like Sonya, I treat the work of others with more care than my own. My old handwoven teatowels get used every day and tossed in the wash. I received some stunningly beautiful cream cotton towels from Sonya in an exchange a few years ago. I absolutely love them...and I have to confess that they're saved to use to line tea trays and bread baskets on special ocassions.

Meg also hit the spot when she said that her towels are softer and more absorbent than bought towels. That's one reason I make my own. Linking back to the origins of craft hits a spot as well. One of the reasons I weave is because it fits in with my lifestyle of taking responsibility for my consumption. I have one store-bought towel in my kitchen now, and it does tend to be pushed to the bottom of my pile.

Beauty was another good reason. There's love in a handmade item that you don't get from something bought in a shop - great point, Amy.

Laura Sue summed up the point I was trying to form best. In order to be truly beautiful, and item must also be useful.

How many of us have met beginner weavers who think that a handmade teatowel is a waste of effort, and yet give up weaving because there are only so many samples one can make?


  1. I will also confess that the towels I have from you are being used in exactly the same way! When things finally get sorted out around here then I intend to start using them as hand towels in the bathroom (after the renovations happen, they've been on hold for the last 9 months now...). For some reason, that seems like a nice safe middle ground - they'll be getting some well-deserved use, but run less risk of damage from things like knives or greasy dishes.

    I love making tea towels though, I think they're a fabulous sample size.

  2. How interesting. And yet, I have tea towels in my kitchen from the same warps as the ones in your possession, and they're the ones I subject to daily abuse!

    I've started to develop the habit of using a clean teatowel daily. I find that reduces the risk of damage as well as being more hygenic.

    Here's to hoping the renovations can restart soon - on stable ground!

  3. "Another thought: do you think that being beautiful and therefore food for the soul is a form of usefulness in itself?" Your comment from the previous post was an eye-opener. Goodness me, I see the world in a different way.

    Back to towels, though. In my case, I can never imagine having too many tea towels, lucky me, and the more I weave, the less I use the store-bought ones. Nor can I imagine making a profit, or even breaking even, weaving and selling tea towels in Nelson, even if I don't charge anything for labor. There is too much on the market for next to nothing, and in spite of the superiority of the handwoven towels under repeated use, I doubt people will even look at handwoven towels. Come to think of it, I haven't seen any other weavers sell towels on Nelson or many other places in NZ, either, though I have seen some in Whangarei, from memory.