Handmade and handcrafted are two similar techniques, but they do have a slight distinction.
How much the artisan is involved in the making process of an item is the distinction between the two. The two terms are used in different contexts to express their slight nuance.
Handcrafted vs Handmade
Handcrafted derives from the word handicraft (noun). In the Marriam-Webster dictionary, handicraft is a manual skill and an occupation requiring skill with the hands. In the Oxford dictionary, handicraft is a particular skill of making decorative objects by hand.
Skill is an essential property of handcrafted products, as it is an art that has been practiced, honed, and passed down for centuries. In contrast, handmade products are made by hand but not entirely sourced naturally nor followed by skill protocol. Some handmade items require machinery.
According to the Oxford dictionary, handmade is made by hand, not by machine, and typically, therefore, a superior quality. This statement that handmade is “a superior quality” may vary, considering handicraft is an art and a skill (as mentioned above). But both handmade and handcrafted items can be of top quality.
Handmade is defined as “made by hand or by a hand process” in the Marriam-Webster dictionary. This does not necessarily imply or deny that the products or materials themselves do not go through a machinery process.
For example, a jewelry crafter can hunt for his stones in the woods, wash, activate and carve them by hand – yet he may use gold wire that most likely went through machine work.
Ultimately what matters is how we make use of our resources and machinery when necessary.
Neither technique is more or less significant and honorable than the other.
Handmade or handcrafted
The choice is yours.
We suggest you make your very own conclusions based on these three fundamental points:
- Question if the product you seek could be made entirely without machinery.
- Consider the artisan expertise – sometimes a skillful man can do better than a machine (depending on the product).
- Consider the quality of the materials used to make your desirable item – hint: this is your key to short-living or long-lasting products!