While I was talking to a friend the other day, I was surprised that she hadn't heard of my very favorite website--Etsy. Billed as "your place to buy & sell all things handmade," Etsy is a collaborative effort by tens of thousands of artists and artisans. Though they do have a full-time professional staff in New York City that runs the website and does their marketing, the true stars are the artists themselves.
There are extraordinarily talented people in every possible category you could imagine. Over the past two years, I've bought countless presents from jewelry makers, letter press cards from graphic designers, even clothing. There are even a number of vintage sellers. Nearly anything you could buy in a conventional store you could find on Etsy. Not only are the items often of better quality that anything you could find in a normal store, they are very reasonably priced, especially considering the time and personal effort these people put into their work.
Take my latest find, a blacksmith and metal artist in Phoenix named John Doss who does both practical and decorative work. Recently he posted an item for sale--custom kitchen and bath accessories for $39.00 each.
A few years ago when I bought bath accessories from Pottery Barn, I paid just as much for the same mass-produced fixtures that everyone has.
Image courtesy of Pottery Barn
They've been just fine, but had I known that custom made ones that are much more distinctive could have been had for almost the same price, I would certainly have chosen those.
In any case, Etsy is well worth a look, but it can be kind of overwhelming with all those tens of thousands of artists so from now on, every Wednesday, I'll be posting about a particular Etsy artist or artisan that I love in the hopes that you will too!