robs456

Handmade machine stitched?

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20 minutes ago, tomsmith85717 said:

but what you are really asking is their effort less valuable than someone who put brush to canvas and moved  paint around.

No I'm not, value isn't part of my post, it's about whether we should classify the work/product after how the material was made. The value is discussed elsewhere  above.

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So then, no if any non hand tool is used it cant be hand made. Its that cut and dry. Or at least that is where any argument begins... anything after that just justifies ego and technicalities.  Unless some government out there has codified a quantifiable number, but if another government comes out with a different number then what? But what is hand made other than a value added proposition or something to say to make someone feel good? If it isnt a legal distinction?

 

I should point out I am sick with the flu, cant sleep and really enjoying the philosophy in action.

 

Edited by tomsmith85717

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4 minutes ago, tomsmith85717 said:

So then, no if any non hand tool is used it cant be hand made. Its that cut and dry. Or at least that is where any argument begins... 

 

So the artist made a machine made painting?
I'm not so sure many people would agree on that but it's your view and you're entitled to it.

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Most machines use ink and not paint. Paint is both a noun and a verb.  So is Painting they occupy 2 distinct spaces that are vastly different. One is to do something and the other is a result or a medium in which to work. If you seek a simple definition you seek a legal, ethical, moral, normative, or a usable definition. I am a sure a guild would create a different definition than a taxation agency or even someone outside of the guild but who is operating in the craft might make another distinction.

So what distinction are you seeking and why?  I am not simply asking asking to Rob5 I am asking anyone who reads this & has a reaction. For with out a strong guild or government definition it seems to be up to the individual maker to decide if the use of which machines allows or keeps something from being called hand made. Being that this forum is the closest thing to a guild i have come across, I am truly curious as to what definition we settle on as a whole. Or at least a reason why It matters to us as a group. As I have said this is something I have struggled with. I think it has more to do with the production philosophy than the tools and techniques. Hand made by a slave is not going to be a s good as something machine made by a craftsman.

Edited by tomsmith85717
dont buy a $200 laptop

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Sorry for yet another post, I was making coffee and I was reminded of a screening of a  documentary I watched Called "Tim's Vermeer", which was about a man named Tim who reinvented Vermeer's (one of a few dutch master painters whom are belived to have used camera obsuras in creating their works) camera obscura and went through all the steps to recreate one of his famous paintings 1 for 1 using the rediscovered techniques and technology . It was a screening hosted by the University of Arizona's art school. Part of the screening was a discussion about the use of camera obsucra and what did it mean if that many of the dutch masters who used them mean that they did not "paint" their paintings rather than simply copy what they could see through the camera obscura? While it did reduce the skill needed to get photo realistic results it did not change the skill in making/mixing the paint setting the composition...  and all the other aspects of making art/paintings.

As I see it Hand stitching is is just that stitching done entirely by hand, however does one need to say that they used a pricking iron or a stitching chisel? I use great skill and my hands to control a machine that interlocks the threads that I use to create a stitch in the leather. To me this COULD be considered "hand made," it is unquestionably hand crafted. If I used a Tippman boss or a patcher with a hand wheel would or should it change how I should define my work? It would be hard to call it anything else other than  hand made even by the most narrow of definitions.

 More over without a generally accepted definition of "hand made" should It even matter what one calls as long as there are no deceptions being made?  (I know it does as we have gotten to several pages worth of posts on this subject)

Thank your Robs456 for bringing up such a question. It really has made me think about my work (in both noun and verb forms) in profound and meaningful ways.

Edited by tomsmith85717
flow, and a few drinks/ cough medicine.

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21 minutes ago, tomsmith85717 said:

Thank your Robs456 for bringing up such a question. It really has made me think about my work (in both noun and verb forms) in profound and meaningful ways.

No problem, it's what I'm here for.
I purposely don't want to comment on your posts above as I want to hear from other people, and my views are present in the thread (ahem) anyway.

But don't bring up stitching irons, that's another pet peeve of mine...

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WOW ! what a great conversation !   :) 

Heres my contribution.

Like most , I do a bit of both , hand stitching and machine sewing. It all depends on the job. 

I originally got a H/D machine to do the heavy stuff, like tool belts,   heavy harness etc. the stuff that my ( often sore)  hands can't  always stitch by hand.  I also use the machine to assemble numerous projects, as we all have. However, when I'm  really ... really pressed for time and the order is to be handstitched, I have ...on rare occasions , removed the thread,  and  used the machine needle  to make the holes, but hand stitch the rest  ( ' forgive me  fellow leather workers for I have sinned '  ) . But is it hand stitched ? 

But even using a  sewing machine to make a product,  to me its still hand made. I have designed the pattern ,  made a template,   traced it onto leather, cut the leather out , done all the cutting ,shaping, tooling,  burnishing,  dying  , added hardware, but used the sewing machine to put it all together. And besides, I'm  using my hands ( and feet)  and skills to operate the machine.  

Just wondering if I'm splitting hairs ?

HS 

 

 

 

 

 

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I think to machine stitch something and call it hand stitched is wrong, it's clearly misleading.  Can an item be machine stitched and still be hand made though?  Yes, I think so.  My focus is mainly wood -canes  (I'm here because I want to add leather to the handles).  I use machines to make my canes.  They take a lot of the grunt work out of the process.  It's the same as clicker cut or round knife on leather.  Wood doesn't care what cuts it either. I would use hungry rats if it got the results I wanted. The final shaping and sanding is done by hand though.

I see this same argument about what is hand made in other forums too.  It's not an easy one to define.  How do you define the care an individual artisan or crafts person or even a small shop with only a few employees puts into an object as opposed to an item being mass produced in a factory with multiple people doing individual steps along the way?  It's not simply a question of whether machines were used or not.   All those employees are still operating those machines by hand. I think to me the defining thing is whether one person made an object as opposed to a large number of people, each completing an individual step.  Then there's the question of a small shop or an individual doing runs of 500 essentially identical items.  Still hand made, or mass produced?  The lines do get a bit blurry at times.  Maybe "Artisan Made" or something like that as opposed to "hand made" might be more appropriate.

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2 hours ago, rodneywt1180b said:

How do you define the care an individual artisan or crafts person or even a small shop with only a few employees puts into an object as opposed to an item being mass produced in a factory with multiple people doing individual steps along the way?

Here's something I stumbled upon yesterday regarding exactly this: https://theconversation.com/when-hand-crafted-is-really-just-crafty-marketing-47749

2 hours ago, rodneywt1180b said:

Maybe "Artisan Made" or something like that as opposed to "hand made" might be more appropriate.

I think that's appropriate, and even more in tune with today's trend than 'handmade'.

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6 hours ago, rodneywt1180b said:

I see this same argument about what is hand made in other forums too.  It's not an easy one to define.  How do you define the care an individual artisan or crafts person or even a small shop with only a few employees puts into an object as opposed to an item being mass produced in a factory with multiple people doing individual steps along the way?  It's not simply a question of whether machines were used or not.   All those employees are still operating those machines by hand. I think to me the defining thing is whether one person made an object as opposed to a large number of people, each completing an individual step.  Then there's the question of a small shop or an individual doing runs of 500 essentially identical items.  Still hand made, or mass produced?  The lines do get a bit blurry at times. 

You're so right about blurry lines on the idea that the number of employees has to do with what makes something hand made...and while on the surface that makes sense, even in a "big" place an item may only go through 3-4 sets of hands at the most. 

  Example:  Yesterday I did a batch of checkbooks: I pulled the leather, I cut them, and  another person sewed them.  Two people, that's it....now my shop has 17 employees, but 90% of what we do involves just two to three people (not counting packing and shipping).   There are also many products I make that are done (or can easily be done) by just one person:  On my Kickstarter last year for braided button stud watch bands, I cut every band myself and braided them as well and put the stud on most.

 

Then again, there items we do in crazy-large numbers and others that are done in quantities of 10 or less...are the small numbers hand made and the large ones less so?  If I get a request for a wallet with an extra outside pocket and I stop to personally cut that wallet, is it "handmade" while the stock version of the wallet is not?  

 

Blurry lines indeed!

Quote

Maybe "Artisan Made" or something like that as opposed to "hand made" might be more appropriate.

It's all marketing, as soon as a "critical mass" of real artisans start using any term it will get copied by the lower quality mass produced stuff (as well as, let's say, "less-skilled" hobbyists who start a garage business before they have the leather-working chops to do so).

 

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On 2/4/2018 at 8:25 PM, YinTx said:

Where you will get disagreement from me is when one markets to one's customers an item as hand stitched or saddle stitched when it is clearly machine stitched.  A deceiving tactic I have seen more than once, where the individual selling the item is banking on the buyer not knowing the difference.

I might have missed this. I thought the question was whether a machine stitched item could be called hand made. Calling it hand made is different than calling it hand stitched if it was done by machine and I would have issue with that too.

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8 minutes ago, Mark842 said:

I might have missed this. I thought the question was whether a machine stitched item could be called hand made. Calling it hand made is different than calling it hand stitched if it was done by machine and I would have issue with that too.

This topic has veered off slightly...it started with a discussion of "handmade" but went a bit into this...and I think most are in agreement that the meaning of hand-stitched is pretty clear.

 

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Every custom saddle maker I know of uses a sewing machine to sew their saddles.  There is a certain amount of hand sewing on one but,  Does that negate all the hand cutting, fitting, molding, and finishing done by hand?

Edited by Ken Nelson

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This will sum it up and give us a definition for handmade. It's right there on the tip of everyone's thoughts and not quite touched upon, yet.

Did you put your heart into it? If you did (and you know if you did) it is handmade.

Simple, I like it. 

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44 minutes ago, bikermutt07 said:

This will sum it up and give us a definition for handmade. It's right there on the tip of everyone's thoughts and not quite touched upon, yet.

Did you put your heart into it? If you did (and you know if you did) it is handmade.

Simple, I like it. 

I've cut myself the last few times I did a batch of totes, does that count?

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1 hour ago, bikermutt07 said:

Did you put your heart into it?

I donno about that.  seems to make it even more vague.  :unsure:

The farmer that drives his plow and reaper all day and all night... he put his heart into it.  Handmade wheat?

YinTx

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1 hour ago, nstarleather said:

I've cut myself the last few times I did a batch of totes, does that count?

Well, hell yeah!

1 hour ago, YinTx said:

I donno about that.  seems to make it even more vague.  :unsure:

The farmer that drives his plow and reaper all day and all night... he put his heart into it.  Handmade wheat?

YinTx

Yep, totally handmade wheat. I have seen your work. I know you put your heart into it.

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5 hours ago, nstarleather said:

I've cut myself the last few times I did a batch of totes, does that count?

A blood spot to show hand made???? I guess that will slow down the mass production items a bit or the craftspersons.:wub:

 

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34 minutes ago, RockyAussie said:

A blood spot to show hand made???? I guess that will slow down the mass production items a bit or the craftspersons.:wub:

 

It was a run of 40 of them...had to make sure I couldn’t be accused of “mass production”

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38 minutes ago, nstarleather said:

It was a run of 40 of them...had to make sure I couldn’t be accused of “mass production”

Ha Ha ...thats 40 drops of blood :(. What the hell ....Key tags are are not going to be any fun. I'll check out the local blood bank first ....

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14 hours ago, nstarleather said:

 

It's all marketing, as soon as a "critical mass" of real artisans start using any term it will get copied by the lower quality mass produced stuff (as well as, let's say, "less-skilled" hobbyists who start a garage business before they have the leather-working chops to do so).

 

Currently on the leather side of things I am that "less skilled" hobbyist w/o the leather working chops, though I am trying to learn.  I don't think the real leather workers here have much to fear from me. :)

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1 hour ago, rodneywt1180b said:

Currently on the leather side of things I am that "less skilled" hobbyist w/o the leather working chops, though I am trying to learn.  I don't think the real leather workers here have much to fear from me. :)

No worries all things are “learnable”... when I wrote that I had in mind a post over on Reddit where a dude who’d never worked leather before said basically:

 

“I want to start a business making and selling leather watch straps.  What are advice do you have”

Some of the answers got pretty snarky....but I resisted.

But, honestly, Dude never worked with leather but was keen to hang out his shingle on one of (in my opinion) the hardest items to make for a beginner.

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I know in the short time I've been here I've learned a lot.  I still have a long way to go.  First thing I learned was it isn't as easy as it looks.  Anyone can make a basic saddle stitch.  That's easy.  When you start talking about straight lines, smooth curves and consistent stitches, well, now you're talking about something much harder to achieve.

There's no way I would attempt a watch strap right now.  Maybe never.  Things need to be pretty much dead on perfect at that scale for them to look right.  I'm nowhere near that good and know it.

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7 minutes ago, rodneywt1180b said:

I know in the short time I've been here I've learned a lot.  I still have a long way to go.  First thing I learned was it isn't as easy as it looks.  Anyone can make a basic saddle stitch.  That's easy.  When you start talking about straight lines, smooth curves and consistent stitches, well, now you're talking about something much harder to achieve.

There's no way I would attempt a watch strap right now.  Maybe never.  Things need to be pretty much dead on perfect at that scale for them to look right.  I'm nowhere near that good and know it.

Been doing this all my life and I've always said "no" to watch straps except the simple strap with a button stud type.  You have to be flawless with everything.  What other item is you customer going to be able to stare at at a distance of a couple of feet every day?  If you make mistakes, they will be noticed.

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To me Handmade will never be the same for everyone. 

How about if only 1 person does all steps.Thats handmade to me. Clicker? sewing machine? no matter all the skill for whatever "Tool" was used all came from one person. Let them sign it or something would make it even better even if 50 people are doing it at the same time.

Machine stitched is never hand stitched, but can still be handmade.

I think for leather goods, the hand stitched is what matters most, not the cutting of the leather. people know what hands and sewing machines are even if they do not know their worth. how many even know what a clicker press is?

Sled

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