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Yesterday’s article (What is Handmade Part 1: Defining Handmade) discussed the qualities which we expect in something that is labeled handmade or handcrafted. Today I want to discuss the last quality I mentioned- that it is greater than the sum of it’s parts.

This is perhaps the most vague requirement and the one that causes the most debate. We generally expect a fair amount of effort to have gone into creating handmade items. There is no doubt that someone who takes a yard of fabric and makes a purse or handbag has created something handmade. What really seams to create a grey area though is the concept of an assembler.

In the world of groceries, some consumers are known as assemblers. An assembler is a person who will buy a pizza crust, jar of pizza sauce, and bag of pizza cheese at the grocery store in order to make a pizza rather than just buying a pre-made pizza. You can argue whether it’s a real homemade pizza or not. They obviously did more work than buying pre-made pizza, but really what they did was just assemble other items together.

Does this count?

This is a stitch marker I made for myself. It’s a ice cream charm that I attached to a split ring and slid onto a jump ring. I didn’t make the charm or the rings. I just assembled them into a stitch marker. Does this qualify as handmade? If someone tried to sell this as a handcrafted item, would you feel that they were being disingenuous?

Do you feel assembler items count as handmade? If not, how would you describe the necessary requirement for moving past assembler to handmade?