Thursday, September 23, 2010

Support Your Local Artisan

In mid-August, The Washington Post ran an article about decorating for the fall that highlighted "artisan wares" and the fact that "major retailers are offering alternatives" to handmade artisan products found on Etsy. This really bothered me because, in addition to mentioning alternatives to Etsy sellers, the article showcased clay vases from Indonesia selling from $12 to $24. Well, I wrote a letter to the Post's editor, which got printed on September 2. Here's a link to my letter.

As I talked about this with several artisans, someone commented that in these difficult times you can't blame people for going for lower priced items. I think that it's up to us to educate our customers about our work and why they should purchase local artisan wares, even if they have to pay a bit more. Lisa LaPella has pointed out that she would rather save her money to purchase a more expensive handmade item that can become a treasured heirloom. But I think that one of my repeat customers put it best when she sent her own feedback in response to my letter to the editor . She said:

"I'm not an artist but I support local artists by buying at local sales and on Etsy. The benefits of buying locally applies to art, not just vegetables purchased at local Farmer's Markets.  Buying locally produced products cuts down on energy consumption, because there's less transportation; it provides income to a local resident,  it supports locally purchased materials, and it supports the local arts community overall."