Friday, November 21, 2008

Handmade Holidays: the Bigger Picture

I realize that upon first impressions of this site during the holiday season, new readers (you, perhaps?) might think that this is a blog about crafts and design.  And while certainly I LOVE crafts and design, there is a Bigger Picture behind my focus on the handmade this year.

On Deviantly Domesticated I write on a whole variety of topics, but always seem to come back to a few steady themes.  They are, in a nutshell: mindfulness and resourcefulness in living (and consuming), cultivating knowledge about the world, building community connections, and leadership.  Incidentally, these recent holiday posts (which are so fun to write!) channel these themes nicely.

For instance, purchasing something from a small business owner is an exercise in mindful consumption and economic leadership.  Dollars invested in small business (bonus if the business is local to where you live) multiply to benefit the community in ways that dollars spent at Target (God love them--I sure do) never will, because less profit is gobbled up in administrative/legal/security/finance costs, and therefore more is available for reinvestment into the community.

Likewise, making a gift for someone is a time-honored practice in resourcefulness and skill (not to mention that it's just so darn thoughtful!).  And many of those skills used to make gifts (sewing, knitting, cooking, etc.) can also be used, if they had to be, on mending and creating in times of need, urgency or utility.

Furthermore, joining in the handmade process as either creator or buyer affirms some of the things that our global capitalism has neglected, like customer service, quality work, and personal connection.  From start to finish, the whole process steadily supports a different kind of economy (one that is growing, by the way) that ideally balances out the excesses of the mainstream.

And last, but certainly not least, it's FUN!  The sense of accomplishment from making something is satisfying, as is purchasing something that was carefully made from someone else.  It's addicting!

From time to time this season you will hear me return to the Bigger Picture because I a) like to wax poetically about things, and b) think that even the small things we do are important.  What do you think? Email me your thoughts on the bigger picture today--

Also, check back in later to see what's new in Hillberry Home (my online store), and my project ideas for next week (hint: I think it will involve deconstructing a sweater into three cool new pieces).  And don't forget to sign up for the RSS feed for this blog to receive automatic updates! (click here to learn more)

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