I do this full time: spinning, fiber wrangling and dyeing and carding, blogging, selling, teaching, talking. It’s a really hard job in some ways, especially in the current economy and during my current personal economy. But it is the best job I’ve ever had, because not only do I get to create something that I love and believe in, and sell it to make my living – but I get to meet all of you lovely people, talk endlessly about my fibery obsession, and make many many good friends through the Fiber Arts.
I’m pretty damn lucky. I’m definitely grateful.
That brings me to this – the rush that starts today until Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Yule, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or your chosen Winter holiday – the quest to create a perfect holiday.
I have to be up front about this, y’all.
I heartily believe in making the Holidays, ALL holidays, handmade ones to the best of one’s ability. I always have. It just puts me into the real spirit of the holiday, and it makes for a more quality experience. That includes making things by my own hands, and finding things made by the hands of others – because it’s important to support the craftspeople of today, particularly local ones.
But it’s become intensely personal for me, now. This is what I DO. This is my bread and butter, my bill-paying and traveling and cat kibble and clothing. It’s incredibly rewarding to make my living creating handmade things; rewarding work isn’t all that pays the bills.
I need you to care, too.
I need you to invest back into your community, into hand-crafted goods, into small business over Big Box. I know that money is scarce for us these days. I know that sometimes handcrafted goods are more expensive. That’s for a very important reason: we’re paying ourselves a living wage. Unlike many goods that one can purchase at a Big Box, the people making your handcrafted items are highly skilled workers who are actually getting paid what they’re worth – if we even dare to charge enough for our items! Workers in many other countries are underpaid to make prices low in the Big Box stores. In the US, we’ve shipped out many of our industries to other countries because of this, because the corporations know that they can pay the workers less and work them harder than they should be worked, and they know that regulations there are not what they are in the US. [I'm only qualified to speak of what happens in this country, but I can't imagine we're the only ones.]
Buying Handmade is voting with your dollars: you are saying, “I want to support my neighbor and my economy with my money.”
Making Handmade is voting with your hands: you are saying, “I would rather surround myself with items created with meaning than with cheap and easily replaceable goods.”
Of course I want you to buy yarn and fiber from me. It would be disingenuous for me to say otherwise. BUT: if you aren’t going to do it from me, I’m pleading with you… buy from another small business. Buy Handmade.
It really matters. And I think you’ll feel really good about it, too.