Monday, May 30, 2011

Anyone want to blog??

Photo Courtesy of Maria Reyes-McDavis

While I love being an advocate for handmade and the way of the handmade artist, I am by no means an expert...mainly because the world of handmade is so incredibly diverse due to the creativity of the human spirit!

I would love to host guest bloggers from time to time on the following topics:

  • Business tips for handmade artists
  • Cool handmade ideas to make life better and more beautiful
  • How to tell if a product is truly handmade
  • Tips or techniques that you'd like to share with fellow artists
  • Any handmade topic you'd like to see addressed!
 These guest blog spots are not a place to pimp your wares, though links will be given your online sites and shops. These will be posts that have the intent of helping your fellow artists grow.

Don't worry if writing isn't your thing. I can help with the editing and making it sound "chic!" Send me your ideas at and we can chat about getting a guest blog written for the handmade masses!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A positive spin on the Urban Outfitters Debacle

Photo Courtesy of Fiona Bradley

If you travel in handmade circles, and are involved in social media, you've probably heard a lot about the Urban Outfitters PR debacle, where they have yet again been accused of stealing handmade designs. The outrage that this company has yet again failed in the originality department, choosing instead to replicate the work of handmade artists, is certainly justified.

But my first thought, after the initial frustration that the big guy was again taking advantage of the little guy,was not so negative...

Has handmade finally hit the mainstream?

If major retailers are hopping on the bandwagon, I think the answer is yes.

What does that mean for us? Now is the time to continue to educate the public on the benefits of buying handmade from local artists. This could be a pivotal moment, where we reach out and prove our worth to the skeptics, where we prove that buying from us beats buying from the big guy any day of the week.

So I issue a challenge to all artists and bloggers to post at least one reason why it's better to buy handmade from an artist than from a major retailer. We are so immersed in the handmade world, that we often lose the ability to articulate why handmade is better, since we feel it so deeply in our soul. Try to think like the average consumer, who is more concerned with economics and impulse buying. Make those people want to buy from us.

If we can do that, it won't matter what unscrupulous retailer is out there trying to make a dime off our backs. They will no longer be able to.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Handmade Luxury!

When I was a little kid, handmade frequently meant "cheap" or at least brought memories of the church bazaar craft show circuit. Not anymore!

Every once in a while, we deserve to see the luxurious side of the handmade coin. So from time to time, I will share some absolutely luxurious handmade treasures, for when we want to spoil ourselves rotten (because we do deserve it!)

Monday, May 23, 2011 the words of others

Creativity is one of those concepts that people know when they encounter it; but ask them to define creativity, and most will sputter and give a "cop-out" definition (like Webster's does), such as "the act of being creative." Very helpful, Mr. Webster.

Below are some quotes from some great minds, creative minds, and humorous minds on the essence of creativity. Enjoy!

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”

     ~Scott Adams, Cartoonist

“Don't think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It's self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can't try to do things. You simply must do things.”

   ~Ray Bradbury, Writer

“The chief enemy of creativity is "good" sense.”

   ~Pablo Picasso, Artist

“Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.”

   ~Edward de Bono, Psychologist & Writer

"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong."

   ~Joseph Chilton Pearce, Author

“A truly creative person rids him or herself of all self-imposed limitations.” 
   ~Gerald G. Jampolsky, Psychologist & Writer

"The creative individual has the capacity to free himself from the web of social pressures in which the rest of us are caught. He is capable of questioning the assumptions that the rest of us accept."
   ~John W. Gardner, Educator


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Friday Fun Finds is Back!

One of my favorite posts was always doing the Friday Fun Finds, so of course, I had to bring them back! I love looking at the work of handmade artists, and this gives me the perfect excuse to spend some time browsing the online shops of the creative.

I'm not sure about where you live, but Spring decided to take her own, sweet time arriving this year. It felt like we were going to have barren trees and dreary, cold days forever! Then, like magic, the trees decided to rebel and unfurled their leaves--one of the sure signs that winter has been kicked to the curb. So in celebration of spring being better late than never, I offer you some beautiful handmade trees.

A gorgeous Carnelian Tree Pendant, by LOC Designs. Found in their Zibbet Shop!

Next, Magnolias no2, a beautiful fine art print, by Jessica Doyle. Found in her Etsy shop.

Finally, this Blackbird and Branches Aluminum Cuff by K. Murphy Designs. Found in their Artfire Shop.

What fun finds have you discovered in our theme of trees?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What is the appeal of handmade?

Photo Courtesy of J>Ro

One thing I hated about doing certain shows, was the fact that the show organizers often had no idea of what quality handmade really meant. I would show up with my handmade jewelry, constructed from my own handmade lampwork beads, and be next to a person selling non-imaginative jewelry, strung with cheap glass bead imports from the local craft shop.

To make things even better, these fellow "handmade" jewelry designers would often come over to my table, cooing how pretty my things were, only to drop them like a hot potato when they saw the price. And believe me, my work was underpriced, if anything. They would often follow up with comments, like, "I could never charge that much for a bracelet/necklace/earrings!"

And they shouldn't. This might offend some readers, but if you are buying a string of $3.99 beads from the local craft store, stringing them on some beading wire with a few mass-produced spacers--that really isn't in the handmade spirit, in my book.

Part of the appeal of handmade is the idea of having a one-of-a-kind product, or at least one that is created with a vision by the artist. I'm really not slamming people who use store-bought supplies (as long as they do not compromise the structural integrity of your piece--but that's another blog post!), nor I am slamming people who try to create on a budget. I've seen gorgeous pieces made from components bought at a Michael's or Jo-Anns, but they were gorgeous because they contained the artist's voice and vision. Thought and heart was put into the pieces.

There is so much more to a piece being handmade than the simple idea that is was created using one's hands. People want something that they feel they could not have created themselves. Anyone can make a pair of earrings, just like anyone can do a color-by-number, or make a bar of soap. People want to feel like they are buying an idea from the artist's mind that they can now enjoy and cherish. They want something that someone else has put some thought into, and felt compelled to create through passion for a craft.

I do realize that this is my opinion, and some out there will think handmade means something totally different. But what do you think? What is the appeal of buying handmade for your customers, or yourself?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Handmade Chic is Back!

After a long hiatus, Handmade Chic is back, hopefully on a regular basis.

I'm sure the blog is going to evolve in its own direction as time goes on, but there will remain one focus: Celebrating the Handmade Movement.

What does it mean to be handmade? Some will argue that any object made by human hands qualifies as handmade. But here, the human heart has to aid in the creation. So, you can holler all you want that something made by hand on a production line in China, India, etc., would qualify--but this is my blog, my rules, and it doesn't.

Handmade means artists are behind the creations. It means that items are made from passion for craft, not because someone is being paid a wage to crank out a product. It may mean that items are truly one-of-a-kind, simply because the nature of handmade requires it. It may mean a small production run, because there is one person doing the creating of each piece, one at a time.

Notice the word "create" popping up a lot? Handmade requires creativity to exist. An artist's eye can see simple objects, and using their hands and heart, combine them with skill, to create something useful, whimsical, or just plain beautiful.

Do you celebrate handmade? How? Let us know, we'd love to hear your ideas!