Thursday, November 24, 2011

Support Artists, Artisans, and Handicrafters this winter

My amazing and brilliant friend Bau wrote this passage in support of artisans and independent merchants.  This holiday, instead of stampeding into overly crowded stores to fight over mass-produced junk, consider patronizing your local artists and businesses, and give a truly unique and thoughtful gift.

Support Artists, Artisans, and Handicrafters this winter
by Bau-Ur Secundum on Sunday, 6 November 2011 at 21:59
In your holiday shopping, please support your nation's artists, artisans, and handicrafters -- preferably local ones, for lower shipping expense and better community-building! But Etsy and Artfire are terrific too. So here's a wealth of great gift ideas: 
Hand knitted cozy hats, scarves, socks, sweaters, dog coats, and baby blankets (the sure way to get something in your loved one's favorite color!); 
Handmade jar candles, unscented or with the natural scent your loved one likes most (If it matches the living room decor, it becomes an ornament; if not, it's a great addition to the household emergency box, because jar candles typically burn for 15 hours or more!); 
Several sessions of massage from a local massage therapist; 
Local artists' prints, paintings, and cards. Consider a commission -- how about a sketch of your brother with his beloved cat? Almost all realistic sketch artists work happily from photos. 
A framed professional photo of a special building or landscape, or a really good photoportrait; 
Handmade herbal soaps, lotions, chap ointment, lip balm, shampoo, and perfumes; 
Locally produced maple syrup or maple sugar candy; 
Handcrafted repairs to an old bicycle, a broken pot handle, hiking boots, dear old damaged books, wooden chairs, car upholstery; 
Beautiful embroidery on a shirt or jacket or jeans; 
Fine soldering repairs to damaged jewelry, or custom silversmithing of a unique ring or pendant; 
Glass lampwork or Fimo or ceramic beads from a local bead artist; 
Home-made soft snuggly rag dolls and washable fluffy toy animals; 
An awesome custom paint job on a motorcycle, car, van, or truck; 
Traditional beadwork on a computer bag, messenger bag, gym bag, amulet bag, phone case, camera bag, or car sunshade pocket; 
Whittled wooden spoons and trinkets; 
Handwoven scarf, sash, guitar strap, necktie, or handbag; 
Lathe-turned bowls or cups from local wood; 
Really well-fitted clothing made by a local sewing expert; 
Moccasins or locally handmade sheepskin slippers; 
Locally created quilts and couch snugglers; 
Locally grown dried herbs and botanical decorations; 
Locally concocted hot sauce, barbecue sauce, chutneys, jams, and unusual pickles; 
A carved cane or walking stick; 
Home brewed beer and small-vinyard wines; 
Hunter's venison jerky or smoked fish; 
Farmer's co-op cheddar cheese; 
Local carpenter repairs to staircases, cabinetry, or wood floors; 
Local texture artist faux marbling, mural, or rosmaling on someone's wall or ceiling; 
Stained glass art -- anything from a tiny candle holder to an entire window; 
Locally made straw and cornhusk Christmas tree ornaments; 
Lessons in sketching, watercolor painting, tea ceremony, martial arts, singing, sewing, or yoga; 
Vase, dish, travel mug, or sink basin made by a local ceramic artist; 
A beautifully calligraphed poem, scripture, motto, or message of love fixed on a fabric banner; 
An airbrushed or original silkscreened tee shirt; 
Decorative painting on a screen door, address sign, pet carrier, or mailbox. 
*** A handcrafted gift like one of these is truly special. It is always more unique, more personal, more expressive, and probably more ethical than that corporate department-store thing made in China that crossed the Pacific on toxic bunker fuel. Please buy local art and crafts whenever you can, and -- for sure!--pass this reminder along to others. Thank you!

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