I had a lovely dream last night. I was in the company of a bunch of very nice men and women who all liked art and crafts and making things with their own hands. We had gathered in one of those old buildings with the high ceilings and the leaded windows. It reminded me of college. Everyone was talking about things they were making, or things others were making. They were sharing books about dollmaking and beading fabric, and they were talking about dance and galleries and museums they enjoyed. I felt like I had found a niche for the first time in my life.
It came up that my birthday was a month away, and some of them surprised me with presents that they had made themselves, and other handmade items, and pieces of fabric they thought I might enjoy, all personal gifts that I really, genuinely liked. I was so touched by the whole experience, I felt like crying. When it was time for me to leave, I stopped to leave a message for them, which I wrote in chalk around the hem of a vintage dress made of a beautifully patterned fabric. My ride arrived, a pleasant smiling lady in an old minivan. I waved for her to just wait a minute so I could write one more thing, “Thank you.” Then I woke up.
It, of course, struck me immediately that nothing like any of this has ever happened to me, and that I wished it would. Then I thought about it for a while and realized that although this place might not exist in the physical world, it does exist, in a way, on the Internet. There are thousands of independent artists and craftspeople out there, and I read many of their blogs every day. They share what they are making, what others are making, books and materials they enjoy, places they like visiting, and their joys and frustrations. It is hard to be an artist, hard to persevere in what is usually a somewhat isolated work environment, and it is a great comfort to have that connection with other people who are sharing your experience, even if you don’t personally know them.
These people are also worthy of your support, especially in this time when there is such a concentration on conspicuous consumption and cheaply-made, mass-produced wares. Consider buying handmade, directly from artists and craftspeople. Consider supporting Mom and Pop businesses, and farmers’ markets. Consider buying directly from the source.
And one more thing, before I go…To all the people who put their hearts and souls into what they do, and to those who take the time to share that…Thank you.