Re-Post: In olden days long gone…

I have always loved historical places and items. Just recently I ordered the Collector’s Edition of Beedle the Bard, by JK Rowling from (Okay, okay, I didn’t order it recently, I ordered it in July the first day it was available.) The book itself is printed on thick textured paper, in a lovely font with sketches interspersing the pages and bound in leather with silver adornments. It even has a clasp, to keep the book closed. The book is tucked into a velvet pouch, and placed in a large protective case, which also holds a few prints of illustrations from the book. The more I looked at this book and it’s trappings the more I felt the price, $100, was completely worth it. This is a book I would treasure. This was a book I could gift to my children at a later time in my life. All of this got me to thinking, why don’t we make things like this anymore?

Even if I purchase a hard bound book, it is unlikely I would view it as a treasure to be passed on. It is merely a sturdier version of the paperback book. I looked to other “treasured items” I own. A wool blanket, purchased in Scotland, a silver jewelry box from a grandmother, a small porcelain angel purchased in Ireland for another grandmother… All of these things share common traits. They are lovely, detailed, authentic, and have a sense of history or memorial for someone or some event.

More recently I have gotten interested in blog sites that detail unique things, clothing, and houses. It is only after thinking about the book that I began to realize something that ties all these things together. No one makes stuff like this anymore. No one takes the time and effort to put detail and energy into their work and crafts anymore. Look at stuff from the 19th century. No one built a house without adding tons of detail like moldings, railings, wrought iron work, and making each piece look like a work of art. Why do we get excited when we go to old houses or locations like the Seminary? Because they are beautiful and interesting in ways our cookie cutter homes cannot hope to emulate. Cookie cutter is not bad, and is in fact necessary to save money and time thus allowing something to be affordable by the masses, but something is lost along the way. But we have created a disposable society, where things are tossed out and replaced. I suddenly have this vision of the future, where a whole section of history has been lost due to our lack of craftsmanship. Is less history passed on because we do not view it as worthwhile? In a generation will mother’s still pass on treasured items to daughters, or will they simply buy a new one for the daughter? These artifacts are not being created for our generation. I love the heirlooms of the past, but I cannot think of any I would pass on from my home.

The most creative object I have decorated and detailed was a Nerf Maverick. To my daughter: A $5 plastic gun I painted in an interesting manner. Not a crib carved by your father and painted by your mother. One of the very things that makes us human is our ability to create things that are lasting and worthwhile.

Here’s to bringing back the days of intricate detail and adornment. Make something worth keeping and passing on to future generations.

Some Websites that I look at that might be interesting:

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