This is the first holiday season I have been actively working on customer orders to get them shipped out in time for Christmas. This experience has taught me the importance of having the ability to process large batch orders. Having paper patterns is nice, and acrylic templates work well too. But, when there is an order for 40-60 pieces of leather, It is nice to have clicker dies and the means to use them. It is not so much about speeding up the process as it is about providing uniform quality with every piece.
I just cut out forty drink coasters by hand and the ten holders that will store them when not in use. If I had thought ahead just the tiniest bit, I would have ordered a set of clicker dies so that they would be uniform in size and shape.
As crafters, we are our own worst enemies. We know where all the mistakes are, and we know exactly what we did to fix them or cover them up if we couldn’t fix the errors.
Now, while the recipients will likely be told their gifts are handcrafted, they will never stack up all fifty pieces of leather and compare how the edges are not all uniform in shape or size. They will never notice that their drink coasters are not absolutely uniform in the corners and that where the blade slipped when cutting the leather, there is the smallest imperceptible lump or divet along the leather’s edge.
All of these mistakes, every single one, could have been avoided with an investment into a set of clicker dies before beginning the process. I don’t subscribe to the idea that mechanizing part of the process to get professional and uniform pieces takes anything at all away from the “Handcrafted” moniker that we “Makers” take so much pride in labeling our products. In fact, I believe that if we utilize tools like a press and die, we invest our time to focus on other important details.