15 Mar 2012

Locally sourced.....

                 A very interesting blog post on the Etsy this week: The Challenges and Rewards of Local Production by Karen Brown.
The cyclocarder - used to card the
Alpca fiber
The post talks about locally sourcing and producing a coat, made from felted Alpca yarn, a unique opportunity to understand the work that goes into a garment.

 'Could we live happily with fewer, better made things, exchanging our money directly with one another?'

Back during one of the Christmas Markets I clearly remember a lady looking at my items with indifference. We got to talking about machine knitting which is when she came out with the statement that my snoods must take just 15 mins to run up. It was a bit of a kick in the teeth, that somebody could look at something that was detailed, hand crafted, unique and dismiss it as something I could run up that quick. Some people are just so out of touch with the reality of garment production, both mass and hand crafted. 

Image of Knit-felt Bowl

The Etsy post starts with a link to the Fibershed website, an amazing non profit organisation in California. This market place was set up to support local farmers and artisans. The idea of knowing where your product comes from is something I strive for- I can only wish I was set up in California! And of course I had to show you this lovely knit-felt cat bowl - it comes with a full description of where and how the bowl came to be:
 'Jacalyn spins the wool from her own flock in Solano County'

I had wished for Etsy to be a bit more like Fibershed, with more information on the products then you would get from the big chain store's. It is the same with most of these craft marketplace website's - without a philosophy of letting the buyer know the life story of the product how can we expect a buyer to know why it is worth the price? 

Karen Brown - the author of the Etsy post- is the creative director of Center for Ecoliteracy'She believes that the handmade movement is a fundamental force for transforming society and the economy'
She was interested in local production and asks herself at the start "Is it still possible to dress locally?"- this isn't a question I can answer myself. For all my love of buying locally I have never found any locally made clothing, but I shall keep looking! 

Of course there is also the chance that the lady at the market just didn't care about buying my hand crafted goods?

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