I was watching the Shanghai episode of Anthony Bourdain’s CNN show, Parts Unknown.
Anthony and his dinner companion, a young English teacher, Bill Wong, were at a dumpling restaurant. Anthony asked Wong what were the biggest changes he saw in his rapidly changing country.
“Food like this is getting hard to find,” Wong said. Then he shrugged and picked up a dumpling with his chopsticks. “After all, it’s handmade.”
That exchange hit me like a ton of bricks.
We live in a time where dumplings or bread or a tablecloth or a bed cover or a rug that is made by someone’s hand is so rare it is singled out as special.
That is why I do what I do. I want to celebrate the artisans that make the rugs, the weavings, the beads, the collectible art I bring to the Loaded Trunk. And I want to help ensure that these precious things continue to be made one at a time, carefully, with someone’s two hands.
To support the men and women who make handmade objects is to ensure the tradition will survive. It also brings income to people that desperately need it. And with earning money comes self respect, and pride of making something of beauty.
Their children and ours will be richer because of it.