Saturday, February 5, 2011

Keeping the Queen in line

After spending far too long in Michael's (meaning any time in Michael's) I had to have a long heart felt time out concerning what exactly is Queen G and what am I trying to do. Because of the economy or just a deep seated need to 'create' there are so many people out there selling 'hand made' items that the market is effectively flooded. Even my favorite, incredibly scary, dirty and always entertaining flea market/livestock auction has a guy sitting in one of the cow sheds stringing beads.

Got a new outfit, need some matching (urg) jewelry...just download a 40% off coupon and head to the nearest store...some one there will hook you up. Never done it before, its simple, child's play, anyone can do it! Why, its almost therapy. Make 2 and call yourself a Crafter, make 10 and congratulation, you are an Artisan.

The necklace in the picture is a classic example of what I am trying to do, taking broken pieces and repurposing them. In this case, a broken rosary, a barrette, some vintage chains, antique buttons, some recycled beads and a rose quartz. Its a one of a kind, hand assembled...(there is quite a discussion over what constitutes handmade) and very quirky.

But the competition out there is fierce, cut throat and down right nasty. Photos are being stolen from shops, ideas flat out copied, concepts and techniques are being lifted as soon as they hit the Internet.

For me, that isn't a big concern...go ahead and copy, good luck and god bless...but some of my friends, especially the quilters, designers, cooks and digital artist are really struggling. And how would you protect your Grandma's uber special dark chocolate mocha fudge recipe if someone has something similar...well, you can't. So we do what we can, support our own and hope for the best.

Last year was my first full year doing this as a full time...hobby??? therapy??? keeping Ginya off the streets??? After counting the costs, mileage, supplies; not including my time; I think I should just go hand out carts at Wal-mart.

But for the most part, I would do this anyway...and so would most of my fellow strugglers. So please, if you get a chance to buy handmade even if it costs a bit more, involves having to open a pay-pal account, can't be picked up on the way to the...(insert function here), involves communication between you and the crafter, and means you have to put some thought behind your purchase, at least give it a chance. Who knows, you might just be the person who gives confidence to the next great jewelry designer!

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