Friday, October 1, 2010

American Craft Week!!!

American Craft Week is upon us!!!!!  Why the excitement? I'll tell you why--from Oct.1-Oct 10, individuals, small businesses, and organizations come together in recognition of the countless ways handmade objects enrich our national aesthetic and economy. You  may ask,"Why is American Craft" important?". The Handmade Toy Alliance pretty much sums it up :
"Buying local, living within our means, supporting small business and the US economy – these are all things that many of us are doing more and more often these days.  With money being so tight, we are all living with less, and putting more thought into the purchases we do make.

So, this lends the question, what are we doing to improve all of our situations, build up American businesses and put our money where our mouth is (literally)?  What can each of us do to help charge up the economy and support each other?  We certainly have less than we did this time last year, so how can we look ahead to the future and still buy, well, things?
Buy handmade – it’s as simple as that.  We can’t afford to buy as much as we used to, but we can make conscious choices to support specific businesses.  We can go to the local mom and pop toy shop, rather than the big box store.  Sure, we might only get 2 items, rather than 4, but those products will generally be better made, more thoughtful items.  And, a local company will benefit from your choice, rather than a large corporation.  We can choose to frequent farmers markets and craft shows.  These events allow us to meet the maker and hear the story behind the product.  It instills the value of American craftsmanship in our families and our children.  We can choose to look to Etsy and the Handmade Toy Alliance for gift items.  Our product options and the sheer beauty of the items we find will be multiplied ten fold to what we find in large department stores.
If everyone made the pledge to buy just one hand crafted product for someone on their gift list this year, think of the thousands of businesses that will grow and nourish our communities. It may mean reframing how we go about our purchases, taking a little more time to choose what we need, or want, going back to a simpler way of life.  But, it will be so worth it."
Baby steps, steps. For ever person pledging to buy at least one local handmade item for someone on your holiday gift list, there will be at least one more locally made item that is being enjoyed by someone. ONE more handcrafted item (made with  love and skill by a local AMERICAN artisan) will be appreciated. One more local AMERICAN artisan will be better able to support their family. 
This economy has SO many people trying to find the "best deals" and the "best ways to save money"--How about stopping to take a look at the BIG picture of how our growing dependence on "big box" and "discount" stores increases our dependence on foreign made cheaper (both in price and quality) products. If our nation would actually SUPPORT itself by making more of a commitment to buy local and handmade , perhaps our dependence on "cheaper" products would lessen and we can actually be the masters of our OWN domain and crawl out of this economic hell that we put ourselves in ;).
If you are interested in taking the pledge to buy at least one local handmade good this holiday season for someone on your list, please go here . Feel free to pass it on!! 

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