Monday, October 21, 2013

The Oxymoron of Manufactured Handmade

Photo above - Small seed beaded earrings featuring a pumpkin motif. 
There have been distractions lately.  Normally I handle distraction well but for the past few weeks I've chosen to ignore them.  Rather than dwell on these distractions  I've buried myself in making jewelry.   I find it calming, this simple task of beading.  Concentrating upon  an intricate peyote pattern, counting the beads, like counting stitches in a cross stitch pattern, relaxes me,  occupies my hands,  keeps my mind busy and, most importantly, satisfies that spirit within me that craves to create something. 

 Photos above and below - 2 drop peyote bracelet, in progress.  Holly pattern courtesy of  Fusion Beads.

I don't think  I am an odd-ball to feel this way,  I'm sure most of you can relate to this feeling of serenity as you paint, sketch, sew, crochet, knit etc. etc.  The mind seems mesmerized by what it's doing and all that other "clutter", those shouts that echo and ricochet from one brain cell to another, are temporarily silenced.

Photo above - Seed bead hank put together using my bead spinner


Photo above - For some reason, to me anyway, these seed bead hanks remind me of Egyptian jewelry - very regal.  I made one necklace using these beads before and thought about offering these as destash on etsy but lately my etsy shop has been like a morgue -  really, really dead. Hanks are 22" long and contain 12 strands.  If anyone is interested send me an email with your inquiry.
Ah yes and etsy!  Etsy's been one of those distractions that I've been trying not to dwell over.  All of etsy's changes, their  embracing of big handmade "manufacturers" ,  it's something I am still having a hard time assimilating.   How can something be handmade if the construction of the item is farmed out to others for  mass production ? 
When handmade becomes manufactured it loses its heart and soul and also its worth vastly diminishes.  It becomes no different than the items one would find on the shelves at Wal-Mart.  Mass produced, manufactured goods are not crafted with the devotion and passion as that of a product made one at a time by one person.  Would a Picasso painting be worth as much if Picasso had a factory manufacture his masterpieces, cranking out hundreds at a time ?  Would people value them as much?  Would they be willing to pay the hundreds of thousands of dollars for these knock-offs?   
We all pretty much know the answer to that.  No!  No one would pay the same price for a Picasso that was not painted by the great  twentieth century artist himself.   
So why would anyone wish to purchase somebody's stuffed armadillo toy that's manufactured in China and pay the same price as when it was lovingly handmade by the artist ?  Well that beats me, I really don't know.  Perhaps they don't realize that what they're buying is no longer truly a part of the once vibrant and untarnished Handmade Movement that once  flourished on etsy? Unfortunately on etsy that movement now appears to be drowning in a rising sea of manufactured "handmade" products.

Photo above - Pumpkin motif seed beaded earrings.  These were fun to create and I confess I ended up creating several in Christmas colors of red, green, white and or gold.  Some had candy cane stripes, some had diamond designs or hearts or holly berry motifs, but they all kept me happy and busy.  For anyone that lives in my neck of Florida all of my seed beaded holiday earrings can be seen first hand at Sandra French's Gallery in the Village of The Arts in Bradenton Florida.


  1. Etsy has gotten too big for it's britches. I still haven't reopened my shop there because there's just a glut of jewelry on it as it is. Not sure where else to go though. Love your beautiful beadwork!!

  2. Anna, I live in a smaller community where the only surviving department store is actually a Walmart :( So shopping choices bring limited, I still order from Etsy, mostly for real handmade components I can't make myself (like lampwork and ceramic). But I hear much dissatisfaction among jewelry makers for the same reason you discussed. How is it going with your other online shop... the one you had to be "voted in"?

  3. Those earrings are pretty, and fun, and I can totally seem them in Christmas motif too.

    I don't have an Etsy Shop, but I have heard about the changes, and I think it's really kind of defeating the purpose of etsy to go in the direction they seem to be going in.

    In any case, I'm glad you found something to take your mind off of the distractions.

  4. Etsy has been changing for a while now. I wish you well in whatever you decide to do- whether it is to stay on Etsy or move onto other sites. I know you have stepped outside of Etsy.

  5. I agree about Etsy doing everyone a major disservice. I'm actually looking into Storenvy as my main storefront now and veering completely away from Etsy if I can. I think I'm going to make it my main store and put my main website into that as well. (I'm still sussing it out though.)

  6. If Etsy wants to go in this direction they should have a separate website for manufactured handmade and resellers. Maybe real handmade would have a chance that way.

    I LOVE the pumpkin earrings! Creating is an excellent distraction!

  7. Wow! What detail in the holly bracelet. You've been busy. :-) Those Halloween earrings are too fun!

    Etsy has it's good and bad points. My shop's on vacation (a rather permanent one at the moment while I'm in school) It's a shame when sellers are dishonest about the authenticity of their products or the sellers that are just reselling things. That just makes it so unfair for those who take their craft seriously.

  8. Hi Anna :)

    Beautiful work as always :)

    Again I say I don't know where you get the patience but I do get the being in the "Zone" esp. when I paint :)

    Etsy has always been a crazy ride for me. I totally get that Etsy should have a responsibility to not open the site to so many Chinese manufacturers.

    I have a dilemma with my photos on cushion covers because another company makes the pillows but in the USA - just like I get another company to print my photos because they do a wonderful job, so I think Etsy was having a tough time drawing the line so they gave up, essentially, it is getting harder and harder to compete on Etsy and in my stats every day I get more and more views from China and that can only mean one thing :(

    Anyway, hope you can have a lovely weekend, cheers, T. :)

  9. All good things come to end sometimes, and Etsy is one of them. They are joining the money making wars like everyone else. Love the earrings though. The beads are very festive!

  10. Very cute earrings! I love that calming feeling when crafting.. love it... it's like craft zen meditation! :)

  11. My favorite are the pumpkin earrings!

  12. Bravo your post, and bravo your gorgeous creations! Yep, there definitely are lots of "craftsters" who are farming out their items -- perhaps the sincere artists will just have to count on the discerning buyers who truly appreciate all the effort, love and uniqueness of handmade. In the end, I guess a real artist keeps producing simply for the sake of beauty and creativity -- because they simply can't help it. I've actually been intending to write a post about starving artists lol.....

  13. Hello lovely Lady, long time, I have not been blogging for a while as I moved house and we are renovating as well, so everything. So wonderful to see you creating..I am inspired. Miss you dearly, will pop by again soon,Much love

  14. Awesome blog!!!
    Can we follow each other via gfc bloglovin and G+?
    Follow me and leave me a comment so that I can follow back.


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