we scout wednesday: handmade vs homemade
or why what we call it doesn’t matter

american sign language poster

handmade. homemade. crafter. craftsperson. artist. designer. crafted. created. produced. maker. blogger. writer. doer. thinker.

What you call it doesn’t matter. Your intention does.

If you intend to sell, create what is valuable in material, utility, or originality.

If you intend to use, create what meets a need, serves a function.

If you intend to treasure, create what you love.

Language is powerful but intention is more so. The distinction between handmade and homemade is mostly rhetorical. If you speak literally, there are distinctions but we don’t speak literally. We speak with meaning, innuendo, implication.

Intention is defined by the thing we create. It is felt & experienced. It is made real in the act of creation and requires no language to contain it. Intention is motivation and yet, a culmination.

Create with intention and language – homemade, handmade, art, craft … – becomes just another tool in the arsenal. Create without intention and you give control to labels.

In the end, value is imbued by intention not conceived of by language. Value is what the creator assigns and what the user perceives.

Don’t be a slave to language, be an ambassador of intention.

{american sign language poster by billycraven}

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For this week’s We Scout Wednesday, let me know how you define handmade versus homemade – or any other this versus that you’re passionate about. Link back to this post (http://www.scoutiegirl.com/2010/07/handmade-versus-homemade.html) and then add your link to the list below!

11 thoughts on “we scout wednesday: handmade vs homemade
or why what we call it doesn’t matter

  1. I intend to help jewelry designers handmake their creations at home, here in the USA! To not have to go overseas for jewelry outsourcing. To provide flexible employment here in my community. I intend to make it homemade in my studio and handmake the best quality jewelry without commuting anywhere.

    I love my job!

  2. Buy handmade. Love homemade. Last weekend I was in a store and saw a bookmark that had the words “handmade in China” printed on the back. Based on the price and the packaging I would hazard to guess that this was a bookmark that was made by hand in a factory in China. Our clothes are made this way as well. Someone in the world has to sew shirts, hundreds a day on a commercial sewing machine in a factory – by hand, handmade. But it isn’t the label of handmade or homemade that is important. It is the deeper purpose behind the product and process.

    1. Holly, I love that = “Buy handmade. Love homemade”. I think it can be reversed to say a handmade item is something you buy, and a homemade item is something created because of love.

  3. “If you intend to sell, create what is valuable in material, utility, or originality.
    If you intend to use, create what meets a need, serves a function.
    If you intend to treasure, create what you love.”

    The perfect trifecta.

    I’m aiming at all three at once.

  4. Not being a fan of labels, as they tend to confine, & rarely liberate, I have to say that:
    “Don’t be a slave to language, be an ambassador of intention”
    says it all!

  5. ‘Handmade’ and ‘homemade’ are both important aspects to arts and crafts. They simply differentiate from ‘machine made’. Looking more closely, as Holly pointed out, handmade can still indicate an assembly line, or large-scale produced item, made by someone who has no real love or connection to the products and could also be exploited for their labour. ‘Homemade’ comes closest to describing something made with a connection to the craft and hopefully a love and/ or passion for creating it. ‘Homemade’ could still include the use of modern technology or machinery, or even extra hands, but there is an intimacy assumed with production. ‘Homemade also has a provincial, or old-fashioned feel about it, like ‘homemade jam’. ‘Homemade and handmade’ ultimately convey the time, skill, craft, and love that can go into creating something either traditional or contemporary, useful or decorative, affordable or luxurious! I think it’s nice to know that something is actually handmade by the one person selling their wares. For my work I refer to projects with a lot of hand work involved ‘handmade’, and for pieces that are more repurposing, or computer and printer generated, I describe the work as ‘homemade’. Some pieces get both! Thanks for the question! Leslie

  6. Thank you so much for this wonderful question…I posted a response on my blog, and the answer is something I’ve been trying to think of a way to discuss there for some time, so I really appreciate this prompt to get me to finally put it into words.

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