Tuesday, 7 June 2011

But seriously: in praise of handmade

Even cooler in real life.
I have just got back from work to find an exciting looking padded envelope on the doormat with my name on. Seriously, is there any more glorious feeling in the world than that of the padded envelope discovery? Unless you work at a postal depot, I suppose, and it smells faintly of anthrax. But I don't, and it didn't. What my envelope of joy contained was a lovely new necklace that I had bought myself from Flame Haired Jewellery Designs on Folksy. Isn't it awesome?

This got me to thinking. When I started selling my wares on Folksy, I got varied reactions. One of these was a skepticism that my particular brand of gothy/kitschy/irreverent oddness would have any sort of market on there. The name 'Folksy', to the uninitiated, often seems to conjure up images of beardy folk art, hippies selling crocheted lentil-warmers, or at best piles of chintz and gingham. 

Not that there's anything wrong with chintz and gingham - it's just not my thing. And not the 'thing' of a lot of people I know. If you want flowers, patchwork, quilts and teacosies Folksy has them in abundance and hurrah for that, but here's the thing - that's really not the be-all and end-all of handmade. 

Handmade can (and often is) cool, funky and trendsetting (ugh, what a horrible word). The only old-fashioned thing that is pretty much guaranteed to come with a purchase from a crafter is the nice glow of knowing that you've given your hard-earned cash to someone who deserves it, in return for a one-off item that is more often than not better than anything you could get in the shops. Take my necklace - I messaged the seller (Hazel, by the way - how often do you know the first name of the person you buy your jewellery from?) on Thursday asking whether she could perhaps shorten the necklace for me. She did this on Saturday, posted it on Monday, and I got in on Tuesday. All that for less than fifteen quid including postage. Try and get that sort of service and quality on the high street.

I'll climb down from my soapbox now and leave you with just some of the other items I've bought from Folksy in the last few months. Proof that handmade isn't all for yoghurt knitters and tree huggers:

 Godzilla greetings card from Little Black Heart
 Straightjacketed zombie embroidered notebook from FionaT (sister of Little Black Heart - too much talent in one family if you ask me).

Oatmeal, honey and milk soap from Scrub Up Lovely. I've become a bit addicted to handmade soap recently. There is a Soap Mountain building in my bathroom. But that's another story.
 Plantable birthday card from Arbee Cards. It has seeds embedded in the paper. I know, right?!
 Marmite and Toast Necklace from Little Red Star. Bought for a Marmite loving friend of mine. Vera, you know who you are...

And you can even buy presents for your furry friends! This splendid tigerprint breakaway cat collar came from Mogs Togs.


  1. Ooo-eeee-oooo-eee..... cooing and squealing over the fabby stuff!!
    Yes, I'm sure that gorgeous necklace IS even better in real life. It's pretty cool!

    I was looking at the "What's in my shop" window in your sidebar... I love to get a glimpse of what someone has been making.

    And I so agree about handmade. I make all my books from scratch, by hand (well, I don't make the paper or board actually, but I buy the ingredients and cook up a few good books a month!). Every book is different - even those that use the same papers. Each item I make is a one-off - some are utterly unique, as I only ever make one of those. You can't buy that sort of individual item on the high street - or at least, not of the same quality for the same price! And you don't often get the level of service that I (and many other online sellers) give to customers.

    So I'll join you in singing praises of Handmade!

  2. The 'what's in my shop' thing is quite whizzy, isn't it? I only discovered how to do it the other day. There's not enough in my shop at the moment, but I'm hoping to have a big ol' stock up in a few weeks.

    Hurrah for handmade!

  3. Just popped over from Folksy. Fabulous post and great blog! Now following.


  4. Hey thanks very much for the mention, and those other things you have been buying are amazing, I am in love with the marmite necklace. Off to look at the rest of her shop now! I must admit since I started selling on Folksy it is always the first place I look when I want to buy a gift for someone, there's so much there & everyone is so lovely!

  5. Hi Naomi, I haven't yet got an ID to use for comment as yet, but it's Hazel here (or Flamehaired Jewellery as my Folksy alter ego). Love your blog. Thanks SO much for including me and 'the arrow' in your post, and the link to my shop. Hurrah for not only Folksy, but craft in general. I think I too will be looking to Folksy for Christmas pressies as there's so much fab stuff on there!

  6. Thanks for the follow! Your blog name made me LOL!

  7. oooh!

    that's the second time in 2 days you've had me bouncing around in my chair and *squeeealing* :D

    thanks so much for including my cards on your awesome blog of awesome awesomeness!


  8. oh thankyou! :)
    both for
    1. including me in this abundance of awesome
    2. for putting into words the thoughts i have in my brain, about handmade and folksy, but am unable to articulate good.

    x fiona T.

    as a superb example, my latest folksy acquisition was something i decided i MUST HAVE late one sunday night. only it didn't exist.
    the seller and i exchanged a few emails - where we discussed EXACTLY what i wanted - and 4 days later, here it is. perfect. and tucked inside my lemur lady handbag

  9. ^ ps blogger vs google :/ they have used their initiative and placed my signing off bit in the middle.
    i would've put it at the end, but that is cool too. i suppose.

  10. "I love reading your blog and I think you deserve this, so I'm awarding you with the Versatile Blogger Award.

    I'm also passing the rules for accepting this award:

    * Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to their site in your original post.
    * Tell us seven things about yourself.
    * Pass along the award to five newly discovered bloggers.
    * Contact these bloggers and let them know they got this award.

    It’s as simple as that. Hope you accept!"

    *no idea how to 'pass on' the little badge, come and find it & copy & past from my blog if you want to join in!
    ~Jane x