We’ve become so accustomed to buying what’s available in stores or online, right off the shelf. It’s easy to forget that commissioning a piece from skilled local craftspeople is even an option. Most people would be surprised to learn just how many talented makers exist in our communities. Often the hardest thing is to connect with the artist of these handmade goods and artisans who produce them.
So why connect one-on-one with a maker? What are the benefits?
Tailored to you
When you work together with an artisan to create a unique item, you can bypass the middlemen and the tastemakers. You don’t have to ask for permission to make your choice. Instead, you can embrace your creative vision and share it with a skilled professional.
Whatever your tastes or needs are, the artist can work with you to create tailored, unique pieces. If you have the spark of an idea in your mind, they can draw it out and help it grow into a finished item.
Artisan furniture designers focus on producing quality goods to last generations, but they also typically source sustainably harvested or even reclaimed timbers.
Supporting time-honoured skills
When you invest in local artisans, you help to preserve a craft and livelihood passed down for many generations.
By passing global supply chains
Modern supply chains have become so complex that it’s increasingly difficult to know where an item was actually made. Perhaps more important than where it’s made, do we know how they are made, under what kind of working conditions, and where the raw materials were sourced from?
Connecting directly with a maker allows us to bypass the wholesalers, importers, distributors and retailers. It provides the transparency that we need to answer the above questions.
Building an emotional connection
Commissioning a custom made piece introduces sentimentality and meaning. It allows you to connect with a maker and learn their story. You’re able to appreciate the materials and production methods chosen, including the rationale for doing so. Often you may have a part in shaping the products final design. It’s an investment in a piece and story that can be passed down to your kids, and theirs.
Will it be expensive? Not necessarily, although quality work is rarely about finding the lowest possible price. If you’ve found something cheap at a furniture retailer that mass-produces goods, it’s highly unlikely to be made cheaper by a craftsperson making a one-off piece by hand. In bespoke furniture and design, there is an individual story that accompanies every item.
Article by: Michelle Costello
The Lawless family have been making furniture for over 60 years.
Pat Lawless of Lawless Furniture makes top quality furniture of all descriptions: specialising in fitted furniture; kitchens; staircases; and sliderobes.
All their products are handmade and because of this they are hugely flexible in what they can achieve. All of their natural wood pieces are one-off and come in variety of shapes and sizes and are made at their workshop in the West Kerry Gaeltacht, Ballyferriter.
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