Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Buyer's Guide to Handmade

When we were 7 we were getting in trouble for doodling in the margins during class. Our feet were tapping, dreaming about getting home and opening up the craft closet to make friendship bracelets, crocheting, collaging - just creating - anything. Some of us took a detour through the corporate world, others figured it out earlier - but we all have learned to make a living doing what we love. It isn't easy, a thread running around our email chain is currently talking about how one of our members works from 12am-12am. Last time I checked, that was 24 hours. Another member counts it a lucky day when she gets 1-2 hours sleep. Me? I'm starting all over again, so the challenge is getting my store back up and running. Almost from scratch.

We do this full-time because we love it. We would have it no other way. If we were back in the cubicle, we'd be getting in trouble for doodling in the margins again. Daydreaming about creating when we should be filing a TPS report.

Handmade. It is what drives us.

So what makes handmade stand out from mass-produced items? It has to do with the individual vision of the maker. The care that goes into the entire process, from design through crafting, the hard work that we put in to ensure our product is made with the utmost care and quality. We don't ship our idea off to someone else to complete. You won't see our items in Target or Ikea or in every other person's house. That is a totally different market.

And yes, there are some casualties of things being handmade. But there are casualties of things manufactured everywhere. (Chinese drywall anyone?) Over the next few months I'm going to be working with the FTEC team to help educate everyone on how to be a smarter buyer - how to tell the good from the bad, the original from the mass produced.

But in the meantime, I'd love to know - why do you buy handmade? What is the value you see in it?

By the way, the image above is one of my teammates whose work I am currently drooling over - JPatPurses

- Shelby from BS Art Studio


  1. Your thoughts today has sparked a instant connection with me.
    I doodled my way through high school. Every paper was a art piece (notes taken) My hippie boots, the random designs of mental boredom. I believe all my grades were c's except for art, photography, and music of which I received easy A's. But, when I wanted to do art for a living, and go to collage for art, my father said it was a waste. After trying to fit in a world of 9-5, I kept coming back to art. 30 years now, I have been doing my art and I do not regret it. I stayed home with my kids and taught art to other kids, now my kids are prof. animation artists doing very well, and I found Etsy. I work at home, at least 8-10 hrs a day. I am not wealthy money wise, but I am the most happy person in the world. Just creating my hearts vision of original art, jewelry etc.

    oh, yea, Why do I buy handmade? Because every little one is a RARE piece that no one else has. Someone made it from the heart. When it is given as a gift, what could mean more?

  2. Hi, I buy handmade because I believe everything made by human hands has a special energy. Like when I buy a handmade pendant and I hold it in my hands, I connect with the person who made it and feel more alive because of it. We are all connected but some of us don't know it and others tend to forget. Buying handmade is a great reminder.
    susanne jantsch
    ishart shop on etsy

  3. Individuals working for themselves are much more able to chase the muse when it strikes, and I love seeing the amazing ideas that come out of that. That is something that can't come out of work from a factory. Great idea for a series!

  4. I think when we buy handmade we know we are supporting an artist that is then contributing back to our economy--I didn't think we had to worry about them working in a sweat shop but that 24 hr. comment worried me a little--but apparently it is her choice. We all have to learn to prioritize and what our limits are. I am working as a full time professional artist after 35 years as an educator. I've always done my art, but now I have a gallery I go to daily and work on my painting as well as crafts which help to subsidize my painting in the economy today. I think everyone should find the things they love to do and find time to do them. I loved being a teacher and staff development specialist. But now my career is where another passion is and art is every bit as important to carry on our culture and history. Everything we know about our past has been passed on to us through art.

  5. Thanks y'all for all the input. Handmade is what drives us, what can we say? We really appreciate the thoughts and comments.


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