Sunday, June 26, 2011

Handmade Should *Never* Be Cheap

Sometimes, you read another person's blog, and they are able to so succintly say what you have been thinking, you are more than willing to let them be your voice.

I had been fiddling around with Facebook, when one of those revolving ads popped up on the right hand side of the page--you know, the ones that are supposed to be tailored to our likes?

I don't know about you, but I don't like Handmade Jewelry, or handmade a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g being called cheap. Ever.

Fellow artist, Jennifer Cameron of glass addictions, reacted in much the same way at these ads. Her response on her blog provides one of the best written proclamations for why handmade objects hold such value, why they are the antithesis of "cheap."

Like I said above, sometimes someone can say what you're thinking better than you can. Please check out her post: "Handmade Jewelry. Ridiculously Cheap." Value yourself, and value handmade.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Time to Play!

I love handmade toys. I think some of this is due to the fact that I love it when functional and fun can come together, and what is more fun than toys? Combine this with the fact that summer is upon us, at least in my neck of the woods, and that means more time to play, no matter what your age. Therefore, it is the perfect time of year to have toys on our Friday Fun Finds!

Share your handmade toys! What are your favorites?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Are Supplies Really Necessary?

Photo Courtesy of massdistraction

 As someone who makes handmade jewelry and glass beads, I have a bead addiction problem. So, of course supplies are necessary! it really necessary for the big "handmade" sites to sell supplies as part of their offerings?

Yes, there are handmade supplies. Lampwork beads are considered as much on many sites.

But do these sites, that promote themselves as handmade, really need to scores of other supply shops, offering made in China merchandise alongside those supplies handmade one by one? Isn't this in conflict somewhat with the mission of these sites, to support the handmade lifestyle and artist?

If you are a source for handmade products, then *everything* allowed should be handmade by individual artists--even the supplies.

I'm curious to hear what other artists think about this situation--should Etsy, Artfire, and Zibbet have a supply section that allows re-sellers and importers? Is this of benefit to handmade crafters because they can in theory shop on the same site that they sell? Or is this just a ploy to cushion the earnings of the sites on the backs of handmade artists?

My opinion? I think allowing resellers and importers, even when they are properly identified, undermines the "mission" of these handmade sales venues. If you are a source for handmade products, then *everything* allowed should be handmade by individual artists--even the supplies. I would gladly do my shopping elsewhere for my crystals and chains that fill out my jewelry creations.

Let me know what you think. Let me know if my bringing this up ticks you off. Or is it a non-issue?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday Fun Finds: Flight of the Butterfly

This week's Friday Fun Finds pays homage to those beautiful symbols of metamorphosis and springtime. Let us know which one is your favorite, or point us towards a beautiful handmade rendition of a butterfly that you have seen!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What are your boundaries as a handmade artist?

I was just doing a preliminary scan for this week's Friday Fun Finds when a thought came to me (scary as that is!) I had found a gorgeous piece using butterflies, and given the fact that summer is finally coming down the lane in the Northern Hemisphere, I decided to make that the theme. I found some beautiful pendants that were created using actual butterfly wings. And I wasn't sure how I felt about that.

I'm not going to list any of the pieces here, because I don't want any artist to feel I am calling them out. These pieces were drop-dead gorgeous, as you can probably imagine if you've seen how gorgeous some butterflies can be. And the artists I viewed all made reference to the fact that the butterflies they used were gained in a responsible and legal manner, and none were endangered. One even commented how part of the proceeds will go to conservation efforts, which I applaud greatly.

I have discovered a boundary for myself as an handmade artist.

However, I am still put off a bit by the idea of using a once living creature in my creations, simply for the purpose of adorning myself with its beauty. Part of me thinks I am over-reacting and being a bit prudish about the whole situation. But, I have discovered a boundary for myself as an handmade artist.

Because I entered the handmade world when I began doing jewelry and glass lampwork beads, I already knew I had a problem with cheap imports, both as an economic threat and as a ethical issue. I knew there were some gemstones and metals that were to be avoided based on mining practices and quality of goods. Those seem like pretty cut and dry boundaries, at least for me.

I am wondering if anyone else has discovered their own personal boundaries when created homemade goods. Do you avoid any chemical processes? Are there materials you won't use? Are there techniques you avoid because they can somehow be harmful?

Let us know.