This is a question that is asked by Etsy to anyone who is lucky enough to be one of Etsy's featured sellers. None of my three shops have been lucky enough to become one of the featured sellers, so Etsy themselves have never asked me what handmade means to me. So, in the interest of curiosity, I decided to answer the question here on my blog - just so people might get a better sense of what handmade means to me.
To me, handmade means that someone has taken something and made something else out of it. Whether it is taking a plain t-shirt and turning it into a work of art by embellishing it with appliques, ribbons, buttons, and bows or taking a ball of yarn and using it to knit or crochet a scarf, sweater, or blanket that is handmade to me. Sure the original materials a person used might have been mass-produced on a machine, but the final product was put together by a person who had a vision for those materials and made that vision come true.
Handmade means that the items will not be perfect. No, perfection is not a part of handmade items in my eyes. The eye loops on my head pins are not perfectly round or perfectly formed when I make my jewelry. This shows that I made those earrings by hand - no machine assembled the pair of earrings I designed. When I knit one stitch may come up larger than the rest in the row. Again - an imperfection, but proof that I knitted that scarf by hand, not using a knitting machine or in a factory that produces knitted scarves at a rate much faster than any human could knit.
Imperfections give a human factor to the items being made. They show that the items were made by a human being with that human's own two hands. I don't care if I designed it but my best friend is the one who actually made the item - as long as she used her own two hands, it was handmade.
What does handmade mean to you?