A Handmade Life

October 16, 2009
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Many people will buy housewarming gifts, clothing, and kitchen supplies at their local department store. These items are mainly mass produced and cheap. But what if you could pay a bit more for these items and know that you are helping an artisan by buying their products?

The network of buying and selling handmade items is something that I feel is important. I myself am a crafter, and I know that it takes work to make something by hand, but the experience is rewarding and fun. By selling crafts, an artist can provide for themselves by doing something that they truly love.

Crafting is not just the action of gluing odds and ends together or painting a wooden box, it encompasses many interests. The passion for crafting encompasses the enjoyments of building, making jewelry, creating sculptures, and much more. Crafters share ideas, like other kinds of artists do. I participate in this by visiting websites that have tutorials or things to sell.

Etsy is my favorite handmade website. The network allows artists to sell anything and everything handmade or vintage and there are also supplies for crafting. The website is not just a store though. There are stories that highlight specific artists, as well as sales from specific sellers (the artists themselves) and specific seasonal items. Etsy has written articles about artists’ blogs and handmade weddings. Sellers can select items from others on the Etsy community that they like, and then share the list with visitors on the Etsy homepage. Gift guides are also available. I enjoy perusing the website because there are constantly new things to look at, and new craft ideas to try. As a crafter, it is really satisfying to know that there is a whole network of over a hundred thousand people who have a passion for crafting as well.

Last holiday season, many people took the holiday pledge to only give handmade gifts. The website to take this pledge is www.buyhandmade.org. Currently, there are over 45,300 people who have pledged on this website. Many are people who have blogs or shops on the crafting network, but many people just love unique, handmade products. While everyone is having a tough time due to the economy, it is nice to give and receive gifts that are meaningful and that can help artists make money as well. I will be participating in this action this year, and will be making my own gifts as well!

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