It's time to talk turkey about handmade. Do you even think about handmade? I hope, as you are heading out into the craziness of the Thanksgiving weekend shopping, you will give what I am saying here one moments pause. Hopefully, giving just the right gift or possessing clothing, jewelry or art that an individual has thought about, designed, and created has meaning to you. Buying handmade means quality, thought, mindfulness, creativity, and the great joy of making infused into an art object. I think we need to think about the years of study, training, experimentation, mistakes, and remakes that happened before the creator is able to present you with their amazing offerings. By giving a gift with a story, you add value for the giver and receiver.I am a artist/maker. I am passionate about people understanding how they are spending their money and the value they gain by thinking larger than owning more. Thinking about the quality of what they purchase, how long it will last, and the deep joy it will give them, perhaps for a life time. You may not have as much stuff by buying handmade, but what you do have, will last longer, be well made, and serve our earth by being made locally. As "they" say it is a win win for everyone.One-of-a-kind items or short run items are truly special in this world of mass production.
Actually think about what the chain of events are when you buy at a big box store. The creator of that item works in an office at a cooperate head quarters. Many people approve or disapprove that item. It is tested, rearranged, watered down and homogenized. Then a prototype is made. This prototype then goes to three or four possible manufactures outside of the United States, that boasts cheap labor, to get a bid on making
Support the artisan directly. Your support provides financial freedom, gives the artisan control over their own destiny, gives their life a purpose, and results in their being able to do what they love. Possibly develop a relationship with this person. Know the story of how your purchase traveled directly from the maker to you,
Get out to all of the art and craft fairs.Go to galleries. Be the first one of your friends to discover a new designer. And, yes, you can afford it. Think about all of the "things" that you afford; premium cable channels, the newest cell phone, that pair of shoes you just had to have.. Could you really afford them? If you want something enough, somehow you afford it. Talk to the artist, perhaps they will create a payment plan for you to purchase that coveted item that is just out of your budget. I've done this a few times and enjoy that art in my home because of it.
My best holiday season, is one in which I don't ever visit a mall with the loud holiday music, florescent lighting, and the two mile walk to where my car is parked. It will be my wildest hope that I can influence one person to hesitate before buying at the mall. Giving handmade, shows more care or concern for the person you are giving to, and for yourself. You spent time at the art or craft fair, online perusing the handmade offerings, and talking to the maker directly or via e-mail.. You may have asked for adjustments in size or color that tailored the gift to the receiver. In the end the item is precious for your loved one, and a loving act on your part. Isn't it time to rethink, Black Friday? I am grateful today for the makers out there. They are the soul of our culture.