Ooak, What is it?
I have often been asked at craft fairs what “ooak” means. People often mistakenly think it’s a misspelling of the word “oak” and don’t understand why I don’t appear to be selling anything wooden!
Ooak is an acronym for “one of a kind”. It is simply a shorter way of saying the same thing. The use of the term, ooak, has grown up around the development of small craft businesses and individual crafters selling their own handmade goods.
What Goes Around Comes Around
I first came across the term “ooak” some years back when reading about how collectible dolls, such as Barbie, were being turned into miniature works of art by having their faces re-painted, their hair re-rooted differently and clothing designed so as to make them stand out from the norm.
Some of these doll artists do exceptional work that commands high prices from collectors. Others simply do it as a hobby.
I have lived long enough to see this particular wheel coming full circle. When I was a small child (just after WWII) mass produced toys weren’t as plentiful as now and those that were around were quite expensive. Home made toys were common.
Manufactured toys were treasured. The fact that I have kept a few shows how precious they were to me. That TV set in the cabinet with the double doors is something else!
Then mass produced plastic imports came in and children wanted them rather than the home made items. Now, once more, hand made is coming back into its own. This time round, however, it’s about having something of better quality and different from everything else available. Something that is created with extra care and attention to detail. Something made from the finest materials rather than the cheapest.
In 2015 the Victoria and Albert Museum staged an exhibition entitled “What is Luxury?’
One article on this page entitled, “The Rise of the Plasticsmith” predicts that by the year 2052 plastic will be so rare that objects made from it will be highly sought after. It’s all food for thought.
Coming back to today, hand made is now more of a specialist luxury item as opposed to the home made of my childhood which was often all you could afford.
Ooak Gifts I Make
The best gifts, the most memorable gifts, are those that the recipient didn’t even know they wanted – yet now they’ve got it they won’t be parted from it! You’ve probably had one yourself at some stage.
The gifts I make are one-of-a-kind, created individually by me with care and attention to detail. Being ooak gives them a head start in the originality stakes.
I neither buy materials in bulk nor create many items the same. One-of-a-kind gifts are always going to have that air of uniqueness about them and also transmit the care that goes into their creation.
The beauty of ooak crafting is that the maker does not have to commit to making endless versions of the same thing.
This also means that if a particular item appeals to you and you wish to buy, delay may mean that your chance is gone for good…
So whilst I don’t pretend to be able to offer the perfect gift for everyone for every occasion, one of the gifts shown here may just be “the one”. An ooak gift that can be personalised for the recipient may be ideal. Or a gift that was created as a one-off and so is different in some way from other similar items.