Monday, December 8, 2008

The Pleasures of Handmade Goods

Happy Holidays! It's such a busy time for everyone these days! For me, the university semester is winding down, which means a flurry of grading, writing letters of recommendation, and taking care of last-minute committee business before the winter holiday. For so many of us, it's also a hectic time of preparations for Christmas, Hanukah, Eid, and other December holidays! In a time that is often an orgy of consumption, I thought I'd write a few words today about the pleasures of handmade goods.

My husband and I make a conscious effort to consume with careful understanding of where are goods are produced and how they are made. I can't say we boycott Target or Costco--far from it. However, we are particularly careful about things like the food we eat, the cleaning products we bring into our home, and the "luxury" goods we buy. Increasingly, we try to eat organic and/or natural and/or local foods (our dogs also eat a locally-made, natural food), and we are now exclusively natural in all of the cleaning products we use. (Fortunately, you can even buy some of those things at places like Target and Costco!)

We've also moved toward buying handmade goods, whenever possible, for things that are both luxuries and necessities. Buying handmade, direct from the maker, has a lot of advantages. For one thing, you're supporting a craftsperson/artist directly and helping to make it possible for them to make a living at what they enjoy doing. Also, you know exactly from where your product is coming, and you don't have to worry about exploiting the maker. Finally, handmade objects are often of far better quality than those things you can buy in common stores.

I'd like to share some of my favorite Etsy makers from whom I've bought goods. Etsy is the site from where I also sell my signed photo prints. Check out their shops--they are wonderful!

Valhalla Brooklyn!

Valhalla made me this amazing purse--I simply adore it! I selected the style, the leather, and the fabric for the lining, and she hand made the entire piece. It's gorgeous, beautifully made, and always attracts attention! I've had many purses over the years, including some "designer" ones that cost more than hers, but not since the days of classic Coach (before they made the terrible stuff they make now) have I seen any purse as nicely made and unique as this one at such a reasonable price!


Stonz makes gorgeous jewelry out of found stones and sea glass from the Great Lakes! This is one of the pieces I bought from her, and I adore it! I highly recommend her jewelry, for it is beautifully designed, perfectly crafted, and extremely unique and eye-catching! I love the notion of turning simple stones into coveted gems!

Modern Printed Matter!

I love paper products, and I really love buying nicely-designed and beautifully executed note cards that are functional for many occasions! I bought these cards--showing off my passion for Mid-Century Modern furniture!--and have enjoyed using them immensely!


I bought this t-shirt for my husband for Christmas last year, and I've since bought others from this awesome maker for him. Isotope prints all of their t-shirts by hand, using vegetable-based dyes and natural shirts. I love their quirky designs!

There are so many options out there for thoughtful, handmade products. Check out online sites, such as Etsy and Trunkt, to explore the world of indie artisans! It's exciting to support makers, and you end up with nicer products at more reasonable costs, too!

All photos in this post come from the shops cited.

1 comment:

SToNZ said...

Thank you so much for the kind words and for featuring SToNZ!!

I am honored!!

Have a great holiday season...