A funny thing happened to me today. It was after I took Velvet out riding in the rain, alone together. It was after I felt incredibly grateful for my beautiful horse and my freedom to ride her alone. It was after she spooked and spun around in the sand. It was after the saddle slipped with me on it. It was after I rolled away from her frightened legs and watched her gallop off away from me. It was after I lost sight of her, picked myself up and earnestly prayed that she wouldn’t hurt herself or anyone else. It was after the long walk back to the road where I found the police were after her. It was after I rode in the officer’s car, following her as she made every correct turn and hill and gate on her long journey home. The funny part happened after she walked in the gate, stood still to be haltered, untacked and put away. It was after I realized that my prayers had been answered, that she was safe, that she hadn’t come close to hurting anyone, and that I was ok, too. It was after I noticed that I had lost my keys out there in the middle of the watershed, after I had waited to be picked up, after I had gone back to the scene of the accident and found nothing but my body’s imprint in the sand. It was way after all of that.
It was this afternoon, before my raw wool arrived from Vermont.
crocheted it with a hook, and felted it in hot water.
The funny thing happened when I was buying a hairbrush. I chose a British boar bristle. As I was paying for it, I mentioned to the saleslady that I had a wonderful brush that I wanted to replace and when I looked online to buy it, I found that it cost $175. She asked if it was a Mason Pearson, and I said yes. She told me that it was the exact same as the $20 hairbrush I was buying, except that the Mason Pearson is handmade. She assured me that the factory made brush was just as good at brushing hair.
But the other brush is handmade. So are the Swan’s Island blankets and all the panels I have ready for Joshua Tree. How can I expect others to pay for handmade if I can’t myself?
I love to think of the old system, the barter and trade system. Wouldn’t it be nice if people who were good at something traded it for what you were good at? Maybe I wouldn’t have to be good at everything, or pay fake prices for fake products, I could just trade a handmade crocheted blanket for a handmade hairbrush.
I guess it makes sense that paper money should facilitate this barter and trade system. The problem is when service, skill, and source are sacrificed for the sake of the facilitator.
I find myself reading labels on everything. I read the labels on food, on soaps, on fabric and yarn. I want to buy pure foods and make pure products so I look for synthetic ingredients like artificial flavors or acrylic in wool. I want handmade not manmade.
Manmade has a nice sound to it but we all know it’s like a tea party. The Tea Party isn’t exactly what we’d generally think of as a tea party and manmade is definitely not synonymous with handmade.
Robert was shocked that the manmade handmade Mason Pearson could cost $175. So I asked him about a $1500 blanket and he said it wouldn’t be much use. He wouldn’t want to sleep on it.
But I’m still considering this value conundrum. How many hairbrushes and combs does the average person buy? Could they buy just one Mason Pearson, preserve the craftsman’s skill thereby securing his livelihood, and save the planet from a few dozen junky plastic brushes that will be lost, tossed, or broken?
Will one Swan’s Island blanket last a lifetime and replace the cost of dozens of polyester comforters? Or is this all anti-American, anti-capitalist, anti-industry, old-fashioned bologna?
I’m sure I’ll be laughing more about all of this later. For now, I’m still a little sore in many places.