Friday, December 5, 2008

Pledge to Buy Handmade

There's a big movement happening these days. A movement towards environmental sustainability, support of the arts, promotion of individualism and the preservation of culture and local economy. And no, you don't have to wear Birkenstocks and dreads to be part of it.

The movement I'm talking about is the Pledge to Buy Handmade.
Why is buying handmade better than shopping for Christmas gifts at Zellers or American Eagle? The reasons are plenty, and I will quote the professionals because they put it more eloquently than I ever could.

Buying Handmade makes for better gift-giving.
The giver of a handmade gift has avoided the parking lots and long lines of the big chain stores in favor of something more meaningful. If the giver has purchased the gift, s/he feels the satisfaction of supporting an artist or crafter directly. The recipient of the handmade gift receives something that is one-of-a-kind, and made with care and attention that can be seen and touched. It is the result of skill and craftsmanship that is absent in the world of large-scale manufacturing.

Buying handmade is better for people.
The ascendancy of chain store culture and global manufacturing has left us dressing, furnishing, and decorating alike. We are encouraged to be consumers, not producers, of our own culture. Our ties to the local and human sources of our goods have been lost. Buying handmade helps us reconnect.

Buying handmade is better for the environment.
The accumulating environmental effects of mass production are a major cause of global warming and the poisoning of our air, water and soil. Every item you make or purchase from a small-scale independent artist or crafter strikes a small blow to the forces of mass production.

So if you don't have the time or confidence to make your own gifts this Christmas, there are plenty of opportunities to buy local here in Halifax. If you've missed the multitude of craft fairs, check out the following permanent local-wares hot spots:

If you can't find something local. Or, you would rather do all your Christmas shopping from the comfort of your living room, allow me to introduce you to the wonderful world of Etsy.

Etsy is an amazing online community where you can buy and sell all things handmade. Their mission is to "enable people to make a living making things, and to reconnect makers with buyers." The people at Etsy want to "build a new economy and present a better choice: to buy, sell and live handmade."

And let me tell you... this place is INCREDIBLE! The quality of products is beyond compare. And the pages of inspiration are endless. The first day I discovered Etsy I couldn't tear myself away from it for about 3 hours... I clicked and clicked and browsed and browsed. To this day, I still don't go near the site without having at least an hour of time on my hands... I'm serious.

But, it can be daunting. So I put together a small collection of my favourite Etsy shops to get you started... have fun!

1. Custom Doves from Paloma's Nest. 2. Owl friends and a bird with a hat from Creative Thursday. 3. Men's collection 2008 / 2009 - Handwoven Scarf in Pure wool from Just Weaving. 4. Boardwalk reversible market tote from howaboutorange. 5. Walk Through The Woods - Autumn Colorway- Whats Buzzin Cuzzin from Cicada Studio. 6. A Good Egg is Hard to Find Print from The Black Apple.

1 comment:

Emily said...

I am never going to get anything done on the computer again...

The Black Apple shop is seriously making me want to forget the rule of never buying yourself things near Christmas. I bought a pair of frames at a yard sale this summer and her prints are just the right size for them :)
I'm really liking the Snow, Rose, and Bear Print, just very cute.