Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Make a maker smile - at story from the blog of Jane Hunter textile artist

I read this post on Jane Hunter's blog late (for me anyway) on Sunday night after seeing her post about it on Instagram and, as I think the message is so important, I'm copying it and sharing it with you too (Jane has asked for us to spread the word). By the way, Jane creates beautiful pieces of textile art depicting Scotland.

So here's what she wrote.

How to combat the scourge of black friday sales and heavy discounting.

Corporate behemoths vs the little elves. That’s what it boils down to. They have huge marketing budgets and tempt you in with massive discounts to flog you mass produced products. I’m not saying you should never give your hard-earned cash to big businesses. I mean, if I’m in the market for a new flat screen telly and I can get 40% off, then of course I’ll be tempted. (I’m not in that market, my twelve year old TV will, hopefully, make it through Christmas and our annual viewing of Santa Claus: The Movie!)
Evil Corporate Power vs the elves
On the other hand, amongst the mass hysteria, scrums and frantic panic to get as many Christmas pressies as possible with the November wage packet, there’s a quiet army of little elves who will go, largely, un-noticed.
Hard working christmas elves
Artists, designers and makers across the land are creating work and hoping/praying that just enough people will remember them this festive season. These talented folk are unlikely to take advantage of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, not because they couldn’t use a saving on that 'must-have' toy for their kids, but because they, as yet, have no idea whether or not they will be in a financial position to purchase gifts or be forced to make presents again this year.
For authentic artists, discounting our work is not only difficult, but also dangerous. Undervaluing the time and skill that goes into the work can lead to undervaluing yourself. 

Rather than searching for deals and discounts this year, have a look for authenticity, integrity and the value added by the story of how this work came to exist.

Now, this is by no means a pity party. I'm a creative. I was born that way. But I chose to try to make my living in this world by sharing my creativity with others. 'Why don't you get a real job?', I hear some cry. Well, I did that. Been there, done that, got depression. Let's not dwell.
The point is, without independent artists, designers and makers this world would be a pretty boring place, and we'd all have the same stuff.


I love learning about, finding and promoting new artists, designers and makers. But, as they don't have the marketing budget of John Lewis, it can be difficult to discover new, interesting folk.
So, this Christmas, I'll be spreading the love around. 
Share this article with your favourite, small, independent, designer/maker/artist so we can learn just how simple it would be to make a maker smile.
I'll go first:
Name: Jane Hunter
Age: 35
Number of employees: Zero
What do you make: Textile art inspired by vintage maps and physical and human landscapes
Where do we go to buy your work? or visit my studio & art gallery: 117 Main Street, West Kilbride, Ayrshire.
How simple would it be to make you smile this Christmas? If only seven people bought my original work I'd be able to replace my dodgy oven, which has been knackered for two years, so I could get Sam to cook us a decent Christmas dinner this year. (You can grill a lot of things but a Turkey ain't one of them!)

This is what I posted on her blog

Name: Louise Oakes owner of Elsie May and Bertha
Age: 49
Number of employees: zero
What do you make: I make a variety of items using fabric and thread, these include lavender pillows, pin pillows, collages, needlecases, pincushions, brooches and, at the moment, Christmas decorations.
I love to reuse vintage linens, crochet and lace (especially those that are damaged or stained that would have been thrown out), stitch with vintage threads, along with new fabrics.
Where to buy my work:

I’d be grateful for any sales, there’s nothing like the thrill you feel when you get a notification that you have a sale! Then I have the fun of wrapping and then the sending out with the hope that they’re delighted with their purchase!

If you go and look at Jane's post you'll see that she's created a link to each of the websites of the makers who have added their details in comments. As she has done that for those who commented on her blog, I shall do the same here, so please a comment.

As small businesses, mostly one man bands, we should, where we can, share the joy of encountering new makers and enabling others to do the same.

I hope that you're able to make one maker smile, even if it's not me, this Christmas season. As I say in my entry on Jane's blog, there's nothing like the thrill of discovering the notification that someone has bought something that you have made!

I'll be back again on Friday.


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