I was making my bed this morning in my usual pondering, ‘Princess and the Pea’ manner, smoothing and straightening and fussing over every layer of bedding, when, suddenly, I thought of all the hands that had contributed to the making of my bed. We are encouraged to consider an item’s carbon footprint, but do we ever consider an item’s handprint?
Here, before me, in one, supposedly mundane, household object were the cooperative results of industrious hands the world over. Here, for example, were: my Made in New Zealand headboard; my beautiful hand loomed Ethiopian blanket (gabi); my trusty, Made in America cotton blanket; my Made in China brocaded throw and pillows; my soft, everlasting, Made in Egypt sheets; my New Zealand designed duvet . A veritable United Nations of hands were involved in the making of my bed. Some hands had woven, some spun and others had dyed and designed patterns and operated machines, both ancient and modern. So much handwork. So many handprints. All for a bed.
In considering handprints, I can understand how much work and creativity are involved in the making of a bed. I can understand that I own an item of great value whatever meagre price the commercial world may put on it. I can appreciate why Shakespeare, in his will, left his wife a bed. Only a second best bed, but, even so, beds were prized possessions long ago; and rightly so. I treasure mine. I am lucky to have it. I will continue to treat it with as much care as the hands that crafted it.
One small problem; the Pea. That is probably the feathers in the duvet. Thanks dear ducks and geese. I am enormously grateful for your contributions. You gave a bit more than a handprint.
(For an interesting account of the value placed on beds in Shakespeare’s times, read Shakespeare’s Wife by Germaine Greer)