Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Tribal Tundra Sapphire Hoops by Pippi Jewelry

Some things, it's obvious that it took insane amounts of time and care to create, like these earrings by my fellow Wire Artisans Guild member (you need to click the link and look at the listing to appreciate the detail on these, this picture makes them look huge but they're not). Still, unless you've bent a wire or two, I bet you have no idea how time intensive something like this is, or how long it takes to build up the calluses that make this not a painful venture. And how hard it is to get the wire to do your bidding, not kink, all that.

But some things, the craftsmanship isn't quite so obvious if you don't know what you're looking at. I'm getting an education in pottery by visiting my friend Patrick at Misty Mountain Pottery. Russ is going to be taking a class from him (and maybe me too). But when we visit Patrick will pull out something and explain to us what it took to get the glaze to look like that, where I hadn't really seen anything but a pot, before, however pretty it was.

And it always occurs to me - the public needs to reconnect with artisanship. You don't have to do every craft to appreciate it. I doubt I'll ever be as passionate about bowls as Patrick is, even if I do throw a few some day. But meeting the people who make things, learning about the process, is eye opening. I was wandering through Wal-Mart (I HAVE to go there sometimes, for a lot of things it's the only place I can get it in town... which i find sad) a few days before Christmas, and I saw a platter that I thought would be perfect for the cheese Russ is enjoying so much these days, but then I thought: I'd rather have a handmade one.

YAY! It's awesome to think that. I'm sure the handmade one will cost me two or three times what that one at Wal-Mart cost (I didn't even look). But something that someone created with their hands, their expertise, their imagination, that has a story, a history. A story that doesn't exploit anyone in a third world country, too. It's awesome if you know the story but even if you don't, the energy that was put into a thing matters.

So my new MO is education. People need to know what it takes to create hand crafted things. Chances are good, if you read my blog, that you make something yourself. Take some time on your own blog, or in another way, to explain your craft to people, especially kids.

It's my hope that I can be part of this artisan education process in days to come, starting with some classes taught at the Fragrant Mushroom Gallery next month. More commentary on a handmade life versus a disposable goods society in days to come, so stay tuned :)


Meghann LittleStudio said...

I absolutely agree - since becoming a part of the online artisan community, I see how much my work is worth, and how much others is worth in turn. I don't want to buy something made by a 4 year old chained to a machine for 16 hours a day. I want to encourage fair working conditions, fair wages, and keep people employed locally, using talent and creativity to create lasting quality pieces.