I manage a fabulous team of about 40 artisans and crafters in the Sacramento area who all have Etsy shops. Etsy.com, if you haven’t heard of it yet, is an amazing marketplace for buying and selling handmade and vintage goods. It’s a clean-looking, easy to use, supportive common ground for the “makers” of the world, and a great venue for connecting with people who understand that when you make something by hand, there’s a special attention to quality and actual love that goes into it. And of course, handmade goods are often unique and extra special for that reason. For example, I have never understood the desire to have a brand name purse for $400, when instead you could have an amazing handmade/upcycled/one-of-a-kind one for a lot less. To each his own. 🙂 Check out our team blog here.
I always found it interesting in art history class that “movements” in art- impressionism, dada, pop art, photorealism- always seemed to become identifiable only after the fact. It made me wonder how we art folk would be able to figure out what kind of “movement” we belonged to at the time, while we were making stuff. I’ve come to realize that it certainly couldn’t matter less. Those who are passionate about making will make what they must regardless of a label.
However, if I had to put a finger on what I think art historians will someday turn back and call it, I would coin this “The New Arts & Crafts Movement”. With Etsy’s continued growth in sales over the past few years and other sites like it cropping up constantly (Zibbet.com, Artfire.com, ShopHandmade.com, iShopIndie.com, CraftMall.com, just to name a few), it appears to me that a renewed appreciation for handmade items is on the rise. Perhaps the continuing exposés revealing the cold machinations of huge corporations are making people think twice when it comes to purchasing mass-produced items. I say our repulsion for big business in general pulls us back to thoughts of humanity, makes us nostalgic for simpler times, and helps us believe that an individual dedicated to creating something- whether that’s a painting, pair of mittens or jewelry- is capable of making something valuable.
I find that a lot of people who purchase my art like to be able to meet me or communicate with me. And with the internet and sites like Etsy, there’s virtually nothing holding you back from doing that today.
Today’s pieces for the art project are two photos of some earrings I made today. Using colorful freshwater pearls and wire-wrapping them into clusters, I made several pairs of fun, dangly earrings. Photographed in a piece of milk glass my grandmother gave me, I picked two of my favorite images- one mimicking a swing carousel and the other resembling a dish of hard candy.