04 November 2007

You may have noticed

The button on my sidebar, pledging to buy handmade this season. There are many reasons to shop handmade and most of you probably are aware of them. But for those of you who are waiting for a sale at target of Macy's or your favorite major corporate store, let me tell you why you should buy handmade.

1. Unique-ness. Many artists make one of a kind items. You are more likely to get an exclusive gift when buying handmade. This doesn't even need to be a gift. Take your average welder. They make some amazing things like fences, and gates, and all kinds of things that are unique. It could improve your property values, just by getting something handmade versus that same old white vinyl fence your neighbors have.

1. It improves the community you live in. As you deal with small businesses it helps the greater community. When your independent crafters, artists, jewelers, sign guys get paid, they in turn pay for their mortgage, groceries, tires and other household goods. They also pay for things like education, entertainment, utilities and food. So instead of bypassing the little guy for expediency's sake; take a longer route and by local. It helps the big corporations in the end.

2. It allows creative people to create. There is nothing worse, in my mind, than meeting a talented person and learning they work in an office 8-5 everyday so they can pay the bills. Can you imagine what the Sistine Chapel would look like if Michelangelo had to do accounting for his day job? (not that I have anything against accountants - they need love too!) In order for a creative person to create they need to be paid for what they do, is getting a cheap priced look alike really worth it?

3. Everyone finds their niche. I am not trying to say the creative employment world is for everybody. However, when creating is what speaks to you, and you do it well, should you not be as worthy as the utility company? Or the tax man? or the gardener? If those of us who could support them would factor in our purchases on a timely basis, rather than waiting until the last minute, we would be able to spend the money we wish to and support an artistic person. Take the tax man for instance. You pay $75 to $150 to have your taxes prepared each year. You know you have to do it, so when it is time the money is there. Now, if we would treat our purchasing of gifts or items for our homes in the same way, the money would be available to purchase from independent artists and support the community as a whole.

I hope you get my point. It is not because I am an artist that I am saying this. Yes, it does influence my thinking, but for years I have saved money to do gift spending to go to special shows where artists gather because I wanted the gift to be unique and have greater meaning than a gift I got on sale in a stack of 50. I have also found independent artisans (bricklayers, and stone guys) to add some neat things to the outside of our property and home. My home is unique and it looks good too.

Think about the pruchases you make. Could you be buying handmade and independent more often? I think you could. Go out there and support the arts - your way.