I just moved recently. I've moved five times in the past three years. Each move was a move in the right direction, and each was graciously a little less hellish than the last, however I don't plan on moving again any time soon. In 2004 I made my first big move out into the world to California when all my worldly possessions fit easily into the trunk of my car. Now, despite having a cargo van, I find myself renting bigger and bigger moving trucks just to get the job done.
As a maker, tools and materials are everything; machines, power tools, hand tools, work tables, storage cabinets, leather, wood, fabric, and flammable liquids. We amass.....mass. And with all of these things, we make more things, and for what?
During this last move I went to the dump to offload accumulated detritus, and Ho-ly Shit. I've long felt that everyone who eats meat should slaughter and butcher and animal in order to get in touch with where meat comes from. I now add to the list that everyone who creates trash needs to go to the dump and take a good long look at where trash goes. So many materials. So much waste. So many things that failed to be worthwhile. So much mass. There were mountains, truly mountains of trash.
So many things are made, only to be thrown away.
From a business perspective, it's easy as a maker to view my position as futile in the face of mass production. It is cheaper for people to buy a new couch than it is to have a old one reupholstered. It is WAY cheaper to buy furniture at Ikea than to buy handmade from a craftsman, and yes, cheaper tool belts can be found at your local big-box hardware store. But all of these cheaper, mass produced things are truly made to be thrown away and bought again, and again, and again. With low quality materials that will crumble and peal, rip, crack, go out of style, and fail, we do ourselves, our environment, and future generations of antique-ers no favors when we buy in to planned obsolescence.
As I move through the world collecting, using, making, keeping, and discarding things, I now keep in mind the physiognomy of the landfill, and the grandiose waste that we all take part in.
When I make things, it is with a desire to create things that are worthwhile. Worthwhile for the enjoyment of the passing moment within the making, and worthwhile in that the end result is an object that enhances the daily experience through its use and presence, something that is worth holding on to because it is a pleasure to have and use, and that will not only endure its use but warm and improve with age.