What are you buying?

On my blog and website, you will see a badge that says, “I TOOK THE HANDMADE PLEDGE/BUYHANDMADE.ORG” I first discovered the Pledge on the website of another metalsmith, checked it out, and signed myself up.

So, what is it?

Buy Handmade is a consortium of nine forces in the world of handmaking. Among them are the American Craft Council, Indiepublic, and Etsy. It’s about creativity AND creative problem-solving. It’s about individuality and quality. It’s about entrepreneurship and careful, thoughtful gift-giving. (Read their “about” statement here.)

I feel so strongly about handmaking that I have built my business on the work of my own hands.(Read more: The Hand) I know that consumers have choices, and often they do choose to purchase mass-manufactured and marketed costume jewelry, or even sterling jewelry produced overseas at shockingly low price points. I can’t and don’t compete for this customer, because this person really isn’t my customer in that particular purchase. That person may, however, be my customer for another purchase when they are seeking something special. Something personal.

For me, taking the pledge means that whenever possible, I will look to the handmade when I decide to buy something. This goes beyond gift-giving. It means shopping at my local farmer’s market (or even buying the “locally grown” produce in my neighborhood chain grocery store). It means limiting my gift options to the handmade work of my friends, sellers online and myself. It means supporting independent musicians. It means baking again. It even means looking within my own walls first for a solution when I think I need to buy something (as my grandmother, a child of the Great Depression, does).

It doesn’t mean I give my friends a crocheted toilet paper cover for Christmas (although I do have a nostalgic fuzzy feeling about those things). It doesn’t mean I will have to petition my local government for permission to have a milk cow in city limits, so I can have milk, so I can make my own butter. (But, fortunately, there is a lady at the farmer’s market with her own fresh butter – yum!)

If for no other reason than to add merit to my position, I will concede that buying handmade is the ideal. Short of life on a commune or the like, it isn’t always possible to live this way. But I want to make it a priority, a personal goal, a deliberate way of thinking. Living this way creates a richness in life that is sweet. And without some kind of ideal to hold ahead, how do we live? Not well.



~ by gingermeekallen on October 22, 2008.

One Response to “What are you buying?”

  1. sounds like a good thing. it reminds me of a lady i hear of on NPR who didnt buy anything new for a year. she only bought second-hand. it was a cool thing.

    this sounds hard but worth it. go you!
    -this is bethany by the way

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