Friday, November 6, 2009

Mythbuster: Handmade is NOT Synonymous with Grandma!!

Admit it, so many of you out there automatically think “crocheted toaster cozy” or “knitted doily” when you hear the term handmade. I have to say, growing up, whenever my mom would utter “we can make that” I would cringe and imagine the horribly ridiculous concoction that would arise out of that statement (sorry mom!). I held on to the idea for a long time that handmade must equal something you would find in the corner of your grandmother’s home hidden underneath the mounds of 30 year old clothing patterns and scraps of yellowing fabric. This myth was bashed into a zillion pieces for me a few years ago when I discovered Etsy, and more importantly my favorite forum on Earth, DiYscene.
Upon delving into the depths of the thousands of shops on Etsy I began to uncover some amazing artists (yes, handmade CAN be art) spanning from clothing to food and everything you can imagine in between. The talent and variety (please don’t let the frequently boring front page of Etsy fool you) found there is astounding. Literally hours after opening my shop I received a note to check out one of Etsy’s street teams focused around the DiYscene forum. I was instantly in love. The forum abounds with interesting alternative crafters, seamstresses and artists. I had found my home! The women and men involved showed me the light and I began to see DiY as a lifestyle. It has become so important to me in a time of big business, sweatshops, and impersonal customer service to try to buy handmade whenever possible. You may pay a little more for it but the quality is above and beyond the pieces of mass produced crap you buy in mall stores and most sellers I have dealt with have been so friendly and appreciative. But beyond all of that you really can find amazing things on Etsy to suit ALL lifestyles – not just the elderly blue haired bingo playing ladies crowd.
To prove my point, I want to highlight some exquisitely made alternative pieces I have found on Etsy that would scare your grandma right outta her rocker!
First off, my friend Cindy over at aNGrYGiRL Gear makes the most AMAZING corsets, hoodies and shrugs. Full of black, metal and kickassery her pieces are beyond perfection. I happen to know this for a fact as I own close to 10 of her creations. Each of her designs offers its own unique style ranging from the playful naughtiness of the Innocence Corset to the freakalicious beauty of the Severity Corset. Throw into the mix her whimsical animal shrugs like the Panda, Kitty and Vermin and you have a well rounded line that appeals to all types of alternative fashion seekers.

Next I want to highlight a bag maker who’s handbags, clutches and messenger bags are so well made they could take a brutal beating and still keep on going. Miss Jamie is the beauty and brains behind Warning Label Creations and her alternative designs range from Gothic to Japanese street fashion. Again, I happen to own a couple of Jamie’s bags and I absolutely adore them. You can truly find a bag for any occasion at Warning Label Creations from the elegant Deathgrip Clutches for your evening on the town to the large Black Market bags that are perfect for the farmer’s market on a lazy Sunday morning (when you still want to look bad ass, of course). Jamie also makes scarves and clothing which are equally fabulous.

Now that we have you set up with a kickass wardrobe and a rockin bag to hold all your crap, let’s move on to home goods! *cough* FabulouslyFierce *cough* Anyhoo, Erica of WorthySoyCandles makes THE most olfactory pleasing candles with a huge variety of scents. Right now, her pumpkin soufflĂ© is my favorite; it makes my entire kitchen smell like fresh baked pumpkin pie. I swear my husband even tried to eat it when I pulled it out of the box. In Erica’s shop you can make all kinds candles from tea lights to 8oz jar candles in any scent you want. Erica also makes some wonderful (not safe for granny) crocheted items, like the Peter Cottontail Hang Man purse.

In the market for a new couch?? Then check out VonErickson’s coffin couch; made to order with your choice of purple, red or black fabric. Probably the most wickedly delicious piece of furniture I have ever seen, when my ship comes in I will have one in every room!

I’m sure by now you get my point. Handmade is not just for octogenarians anymore, there is an entire culture of alternative handmade products out there that are young, hip and straight up badass. So don’t cringe when you hear “handmade”, take a second to check it out, I guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised.