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Why make things?

October 1, 2010

Our October is packed to the brim, and it’s only the first day! Of course that’s because October is probably the most heavenly month, so I can’t blame anyone for planning awesome things in the next 31 days. I could go on and on again about how wonderful it is to be in Minnesota in the month of October, but I think I will need a whole post just about that!

I started a totally unnecessary project. A tedious, time consuming project. Here are a few pictures of it.

I am doing a little stiching work with really delicious wool felt. It got me thinking about the materials I use. I am a bit of a materials snob. I remember when I went to my freshman orientation for college, I asked my painting instructor what types of paint I should use, whether I should get the really inexpensive stuff, or something better. I still remember what he said.

” Get the quality stuff. It’s time you treat yourself as a real artist.”

That phrase has echoed in my head since then. I don’t take it to mean I need to buy the most expensive of materials, but the use the REAL thing. Sometimes that means saving up for good yarn, or waiting for a sale on good paint. An unspoken rule of mine is to buy as many natural materials as I can for my projects. One might say that I have cashmere taste on a Red Heart budget . ( only yarn people might find that funny )  There are some exceptions where an acrylic/cotton blend is beneficial, but you can almost never go wrong with using a fiber that nature created. If it keeps sheep warm, it will probably do justice to that blanket you just spent about 80 man/woman hours on.  There is nothing worse than spending so much of your precious time and creativity on something and the material proving itself to being udderly dissapointing and cheap looking.

A lot of times when someone sees something I make, I hear a comment like ” Just imagine how much that would cost in a store!” Sometimes I can truly make something for cheaper than a store, but a lot of times I can’t. Remember how cheap art is at IKEA? (p.s. I love IKEA for many things) I never  can, or SHOULD compete with that. Handmade is not just valuable for the bottom line, it’s the connection between your hands and the material. The artist with the art. That virtue is sooo undervalued today.  A goal of mine is to start selling what I make. But it’s not that simple. I’m still working on ideas of what I can sell for a profit, where I can make sure I pay myself more than a buck or two an hour, does that make sense? So bear with me, I hope to have an Etsy store soon with a few things that are “sustainable” for me to make. Things that are fairly priced. Things that I hope people will treasure, and not discard.

I want to thanks you again for reading this. It has already made me more motivated to keep making!

******P.S. as I was in the middle of finishing this post, I walked about to the mailbox and had a surprise from a fellow maker! Can you believe it? We grew up together in the same town/church/youth group and have have reconnected through blogland. Isn’t this little table runner the sweetest thing?  Her blog can be found here.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Avery permalink
    October 1, 2010 2:40 pm

    Dang. You were JUST saying you wanted a table runner! : )

  2. Bethany permalink
    October 1, 2010 5:13 pm

    Great post Dev. You are a real artist 🙂

  3. elizabeth sullivan permalink
    October 1, 2010 8:12 pm

    love your blog! I finally caught a moment to read it! xoxo

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