Another very interesting thread. Again, I can’t help but jump in
First of all, whether or not an item is handmade is not determined
by who handmade it. It is determined by whether or not it is
handmade. So whether the artist offering it for sale was the one
who handmade it or whether it was handmade by someone else does not
determine if it qualifies for that label. Naturally, if you are one
who makes jewelry, I would think you would want to be offering
jewelry that you yourself made, but maybe not exclusively anyway.
Second, I must say to Beth that buying a cut stone and setting it in
an already purchased setting does not qualify as handmaking. It
qualifies as assembling. The purchased setting could be handmade by
someone else and thus qualify as handmade in and of itself, however.
The stringing of purchased components together to create a necklace
would come a lot closer to handmade because the individual
components in their original form did not even come close to
resembling the finished product. However, technically this may
still be assembling.
Third, to John, the prints of the original painting are the same in
principal but they are definitely not handmade. They are prints of
an original handmade painting. Even though it would be obvious, if
you were buying a print, how would you feel if someone were to
represent it as an original painting? Yes, a differentiation should
Fourth, just because an item does not have the designation of
handmade does not mean it does not have artistic value or merit.
Although a customer may value an object d’art more if it is
handmade, it still embodies the artistic vision and design skills of
the artist even if it is not handmade. The handmade designation
does not refer to the end value of the object, but rather the
process by which it was arrived at.
Fifth, as Beth said, what the customer knows and doesn’t know about
who did what is the very heart of the issue. It is about not
misrepresenting what you are offering the customer so that they know
exactly what they are getting for their money. Some may not care,
but I think it is up to us to clearly represent the facts and let
the customer do with them (the facts) what they will. Stretching
the definition of what can be considered handmade just so an item
can be given that designation I think does not serve anyone well.
Six, casting does present some gray areas. I agree with Will that
carving a wax model and then casting it should not disqualify a
piece from being considered handmade. The casting is one step in
the creation process. Perhaps the line should be drawn as he
suggests when a mold is made and multiple “duplicates” are produced.
Lastly, it seems to me that, despite its shortcomings, the FTC
regulation’s very intent was to protect our ability to label
something we create as handmade while excluding those who mass
produce items from being allowed to apply the same label. As
methods of mass production become more widely available and more
widely used, more are affected, including some of us. If we can’t
even agree amongst ourselves what handmade means, how can we expect
a bunch of bureaucrats to figure it out? So I challenge my fellow
Orchidians to come up with a more suitable wording for the