Monday, January 4, 2010

Resolution Year 2010: BUY AND GIVE HANDMADE

A handcrafted artisanal bead by Dustin Tabor,  part of the  LB o J'zazz Private Collection

One of the ideas that emerged as the art and crafts movement witnessed a recent rebirth and resurgence particularly in the US, Europe and the Indian Subcontinent and countries such as Thailand is that as we are moving away from our fascination with mass production of the remnants of the Post Industrial Revolution that is now witnessing a form of "devolution", the creation of microeconomies that are essential to fostering creativity and innovation in addition to stabilising economies are flowering.
Etsy is all about that.  Established in 2005 with the running mode of existence which is:  Buy, Sell and Live Handmade. It is a market place that enables folks to create their own storefronts and create communities with a common vision.  You can learn more about Etsy at

As so many gift items today are mass produced, with no unique attributes as retailers scramble to emulate and imitate all the way down in a diluted and trickle down effect, one of the most rewarding activities is buying something that has been recycled, upcycled and created by hand.  Most of the gifts this year that my friends and loved ones received from me were handcrafted.  What happened in the process, is that thinking about what the gift recipient liked and cared about took some time and I had to put myself in their shoes so to speak.  Since making something was going to take considerable time, it had to be worthwhile after they received the gift. This in itself in the moment of gift giving seemed to have an impact that did not feel as short lived, at least not to me!
So, in this vein, when we acquire a piece of art, handmade paper, fiber arts and more, the time that the craftsperson took will outlast the moment of purchase and giving and this is also why vintage and antique beads, fabrics and buttons are avidly sought out. 

The buttons to the left are all vintage and many of us may have beautiful buttons, ribbons and papers stashed away in drawers.  Little treasures to be dusted off and celebrated in a new context.  
You can add them to a sweater or a coat and have a completely new piece.  When making bracelets or necklaces they can also be easily used as clasps.

In the case of the pink flower Vintage Brass Button in the right side of the image above, it was used as a focal cabochon.  By removing the shank and embellishing it became something new.  This piece is a sample of a new workshop that is being concocted in our LB o J'zazz Beaders Kitchen. 

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