Machine Made vs. Handmade
Updated: Oct 18, 2018
Thought I might go over something that gets neglected in todays fast paced, on-demand world. Machine-made versus Hand-made.
When someone grabs one of my longboard skateboards for the first time, their interest level seems to start off mild (like I'm the HUNDREDTH guy today to tell them he can make boards), but then it seems to swell ever so steeply, with the intensity of a man in disbelief that Scarlett Johansson just smiled at him. Its almost like their breath has been taken away...like they are in sheer awe and pure love.
Just the other day a shop owner went quiet on me when I walked in with 4 boards under my arm. He lay them down and literally marvelled for about 10 minutes, almost circling them like a lean shark, before he broke his silence.
'These are UNBELIEVABLE. In all my years, I've never seen anything like them. The finish is beautiful, the design is classic and tasteful and the woods are just perfect and so unique. I can see the pride and expertise you have worked so hard for. Bravo...'
Chuffed...proud...and validated. I knew I was on on track. My 8 year old sons eyes were beaming with happiness to hear this about these skateboards he helped me to create. And the shop owner doesn't even know he can do this at 8.
Heres the scoop. Machine made – A machine made skateboard is basically made from start to finish by a machine, robots or a mechanical device. The perceived benefits are that the product can be made quickly & cheaply compared to its handmade version and every product will be very close to being identical ('consistent'). Cheaper prices coupled with high demand have increased the need for mass production from countries such as China and India to cater for the buyer.
Well, ok then. Lets all follow like sheep and do what we're told (ie buy what were marketed to buy). Where is the heritage, the culture and the fun in that? Where is the intense journey of excitement? Where is the 'support the local guy'?
There is none.
For me, those things matter, but not essential. For me, what is essential is not losing these artisan skills. For me, its not losing the happiness that comes from having something made for real by another person, rather than a robot.
The push towards machine made products is mainly due these two above reasons – price and demand. 'Why should I pay the same amount of money for a product that either apparently looks the same or does the job'? Fair question which I am sure has many sides to the coin. It also has much misunderstanding and a severe lack of passion connected to it. If people took more pride in these types of possessions and looked a little further than 'just give me the cheapest', they'd be in awe and have a lot higher quality experience.
Handmade – They don’t make 'em like they used to! Unique art in modern times is highly desirable. People are willing to pay extra for something with soul. I know I prefer to see a company do one thing perfectly, than make a thousand variations of rubbish. Or thousands and thousands of the same thing (that have no character).
Creating artisan-like cool stuff nowadays is the go, but this method is a lot more labour intensive than mass machine produced and is generally associated with high end products.
Countries known for their handmade products include Italy, Australia, England, France and Germany. Simply put, a real person is creating and assembling a (normally) far superior product by hand. Where it isn't yet perfect, they're working overtime to make it so (and at least they have the guts to take it there!).
There is a huge focus on care and delivering the best product – the perfect design, the right shapes, beautiful colour, the best quality raw materials to hand and so on.
No two handmade products are identical. Why? Because minor differences in a mastered hand-technique by an individual in producing each product has a unique effect. With so much attention put into these products they tend to contain unique nuances and characteristics. And they often also last much longer and perform better over time. This is the real beauty and real value of being handmade.
We're pushing for keeping this tradition of handmade quality alive. A board takes hours to put together and complete. But every minute spent is worth it and shows through in our craftsmanship. There is no limit to the amount of love put into a thing of beauty and pride like these Anchor Plank Skateboards. And when you're life comprises making what you love, its a life worth living.
Walk the Plank. You will not regret it.
-Leigh. AP Creator & Dreamer extraordinaire.