Thursday, March 24, 2011

The commodification of culture and the renewed pleasure of bartering...

The commodification of culture and the renewed pleasure of bartering...

Someone asked me the other day why I received so much pleasure from my recent "trades".  They insisted that I wasn't saving any money - that I still had to spend money on supplies and that I was investing my time, my effort and a lot of hard work!  If I can sell the jewelry - then why trade?  I'm losing money on jewelry that I could have sold, they said. 

These were valid points and insight that was not entirely lost on me, even with all of the excitement of my beautiful scarves and pillow cases!  lol...

Nevertheless, I think there is something to be said about trading.  I'm still paying taxes on all of the supplies and on shipping and the rest.  But by doing this there is an added connection that is lost when buying from large department stores or random retail shopping.  It is the personal element that is enhanced by knowing the product is handmade.  I get to interact with the person who created these items.  I learn about their product, the work that is involved, the inspiration behind the pieces and knowing that they - like me - put so much of themselves into what they created. 

I find it immensely gratifying that someone would consider my work worthy of a trade for something that they put so much of their heart and soul into. 

Bartering, trading, swapping - call it what you may - has brought me more than just "things".  It's has introduced me to people I would never have other wise met.  It has brought the gratification of knowing that what I've produced is valuable to others (and not just in the financial sense of the word).  Bartering has brought new relationships, new experiences, new skills and the ability to see value in what might have otherwise been considered valueless. 

I have traded my time, my language skills and my customer service background for scuba diving lessons and 'free' scuba diving in Barbados.  I got to meet wonderful people and explore the ocean in a most amazing way.  I taught English in Korea in exchange for cooking lessons which was loads of fun and now I can share the pleasures of Korean food with my friends and family here in Canada. 

Bartering is about more than just a simple 'transaction'; it's about building relationships and connecting what you do or what you make with the people around you. 

I've learned new skills, met wonderful people and have been able to view the world in a completely different light. 

Anyway, enough rambling on for one night!  Back to my work!

Have a wonderful night!

- Tara, Treasure Trunk Designs

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