Monday, May 7, 2012

The Handmade Movement

Sorry but today I'm going to be standing on my soap box as I talk about something I love.

Growing up I was poor and every year my mother and I would make things for our relatives because we could not afford to buy many presents. As I was growing up we baked cookies, crocheted scarves, embroidered and cross stitched towels, made ornaments, did paintings and made jewelry. Every year had a different theme and I learned the value behind one of a kind handmade items.

I have carried that sense of craftiness and respect for handmade items with me to my adult life and into my store. I have made it my goal to produce items that are made in small batches so that you can feel like it is truly yours when you buy it, and that is why the saying that I and my dyer's use is "For Artists, By Artists". The only machines I have are a sewing machine for the bags, knitting machine for the ombre yarns, my standard size oven for setting dyes and my regular size top loading washing machine to rinse the yarns.

You will not find me hiring workers to sew the bags I sell, producing my colorways 50+ skeins at a time, or making 100's of stitch markers that are exactly the same at once.

Every single items that passes through my store has been handle and created by me in some way. I order all the materials, skein every single skein of yarn (usually twice), make every yarn blank, find fabric for bags that I have not seen, research what is missing in the market (Dr Who Bags anyone?), and the only time anyone else comes in to help is my friends to just apply dye to yarn on occasion and Ben when I need something built. That's it. The only help I ever ask for is for my artists friends to spend a few hours 3-4 days a year dyeing with me (and usually they are chopping at the bit to dye) and Ben has made my warping board for striping yarns and a skein winder.

The idea behind Etsy is that its the "Handmade Marketplace" and for "very-very small businesses". Their intent is that the smallest of us can help shape the economy with handmade items. However, recently many of us sellers have noticed that they have been not standing behind their statement and rules.

For this reason many of us will be closing shop for May 10th as a protest against the fact that they do not enforce their own rules and they are allowing businesses that are not small be part of it.

Next time your surfing Etsy notice how we now have graphic designers mass producing t-shirts and mugs, how buttons makers are making 50-100 of the same items, and how some shops are selling so much that they are farming out the work instead of making it themselves. Take a look around and maybe buy from that seller that is new, has a similar item and is just waiting and praying for each and every sale.

I will end my rant with the request that you refrain from buying anything on Etsy on May 10th, and that if you have a store please put it on vacation mode for that day.

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