Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Shopping doesn't have to be a dirty word

I dropped by the Modern Times Pop Up shop yesterday and took a few happy snaps. More 'stay up' than 'pop up' it would seem as their lease has been extended to the end of the year. Fine by me! I enjoy the local artist works / retro Danish furniture combination.

There are many opportunities to see hand crafted wares in a market environment these days but good retail opportunities appear fewer on the ground or short-lived. I applaud, respect and appreciate the buying public's resurgence of interest in 'handmade' and the ingenuity of makers in finding ways and means of promoting and selling their work. But I do grieve for the decline of the retail outlet. 

I mentioned the importance of context in my post on Cone 11's recent exhibit. The way objects inhabit space is essential to their narrative. The creativity and ingenuity of some stall holders is spectacular but work crowded on a small table, put together in the space of an hour, is never going to have the same impact it could have in a well considered shop display. 

I don't like being an impulse buyer. I prefer to put thought into the objects I chose to bring into my life and assess them in an unhurried, quiet environment. Old fashioned I guess, but I like to pick things up, put them down, walk away and look at them from a distance. And I like to be able to go home and think about it and come back another day.

Rene Carrasco

Markets have been a saving grace to makers in an economic climate that makes it difficult to earn a living from labour intensive, traditional crafts. I do a few myself and am grateful for their popularity. Although the rapidly rising cost of hiring a stall does seem to suggest this bubble may soon burst - but that's another story!

I think there is room for a variety of selling formats for the handmade - markets, stores, online - and it is important to find what works best for you but also supports the industry and doesn't undermine the value of the work. I haven't found that perfect situation yet and I am aware that constant re-figuring is required to respond to the ever-changing market.

But for now, I just want to express my gratitude to the retailers of handmade wares (particularly those that buy the work outright!) and encourage people to support the local store who supports their local artists.


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