Well, as long as somebody left this soapbox lying around…

I might as well take a turn on it as well.
I Took The Handmade Pledge! BuyHandmade.org

Yes, I bring you another cause. At face level, this might just look like a clever ruse to get you looking at my Etsy shop, or to amuse myself because I’m bored.

I actually already took the pledge a while back, while I was still using my old getcrafty blog. And I’ve actually been trying to live up to it for much longer than that, once I became an independent consumer. Even though I hadn’t been die-hard religious about it in the past, for the past 10 years or so, I’ve been trying to buy as much as I can handmade. Clothes, presents, even foods and housewares.

I think it started with a desire not to be generic. I preferred shelling out more for a handmade designer somewhat elvish raincoat which was made in a small lot rather than wear that same red peacoat that all the other girls on campus were sporting. Then it went on to thinking it was cool to be able to say that I’ve personally shaken the hand of the potter who made my salad bowl, or attended the wedding of the industrial designer who made my handbag.

But really, it addresses all of the above and something far more significant. I have a soft spot for our planet, so to speak. I’ve been troubled with the state of the environment, and generally with the state of the society I live in for as long as I can remember. I recall staying awake late, lying in bed and wondering about big issues such as poverty (and realizing that immense wealth must be at the expense of the poor) and famine as early as six years old (yeah, slightly disturbing, I know).

I’m no billionaire heiress, but my family has always been well-off above average, and just like many other children growing up in the USA in the ’80’s, I’ve been exposed to a good share of corporate branding.

When I first came to Israel, I really missed it all. Toys R Us, McDonalds, Saturday morning cartoons, tv ads. As the years passed, Israel caught up, so to speak, and now we have all that and so much more. Everywhere you look, you see some sort of corporate franchise, be it a local corporation, or more often than not a multinational giant that you can find virtually anywhere in the world. We have truly become a part of the civilized Western world in that sense. And it has its advantages. There’s a certain degree of comfort in knowing that wherever you go, you can always count on being able to find your favorite soft drink/hamburger/candy bar/coffee/shoes/underwear/toothpaste/magazine/television show… um, it goes on and on.

But as opposed to how I felt when I was eight, now it makes me kind of sad. If I take it to a kind of cyberpunk extreme, it just reduces us all to corporate affiliations – I drive a ___ and I drink ___ while wearing ___ and ___. Now, I’m trying very hard not to be extreme in my views anymore, that is a luxury which you can’t really afford if you actually want to be a part of the world you live in, but still. I would like to have a better sense of where the things I use in my life came from, whether it is the food that I eat, the cosmetics I use, or the clothes I wear.

If what I’m writing seems patched and odd, it’s because the above paragraph was written over the course of two and a half week, due to unforseeable circumstances being life. But my opinion hasn’t changed, and with the threat of global economic meltdown looming larger by the day, I think that it’s really time we all acknowledged our responsibility. Responsibility to our planet, responsibility to our fellow humans, responsibility to our futures. Buying handmade, buying local, buying products acquired by fair trade, enable us to take that responsibility into our own hands. When you buy something from a person who has a name and a face rather than a nameless conglomerate, you are choosing to know where it comes from. You are choosing to reward an individual for his or her work and creativity. You are choosing to own something which is truly unique. You are choosing to celebrate indiviuality, personality, rareness, and the fact that we do live in a world whose resources are actually limited and fleeting.Now, personally, I am not really in shopping mode at the moment. We are starting to feel the strain of living on a PhD student’s salary plus occasional random income spurts from me, and the current economic has us in the dark as to when we will be able to upgrade those sources. But I am going to do a little something every so often for those of you who are, and for the benefit of fellow artists and crafters on Etsy. I am going to pick out an Etsy store that has not made any sales yet, whose wares I would probably buy myself, given the right conditions, and show some of their stuff. Blog readers are encouraged to go and shop, and if somebody ends up getting something for me, well, I won’t be too sad about it.

So for my first foray into the land of consumer reviews, I chose PocketfulOfSunshine:

Just in time for holiday season, for those of you who are so inclined, Maria sells lovely paper cards, which are in my opinion truly a pocketful of sunshine. Bright and cheerful cards for a variety of purposes fill her shop.

For her store opening, until the end of November, she is offering a free holiday card with every purchase of $10.

And, like you will find with so many small-scale crafters and artisans, she, too, has a cause which is near and dear to her, the Florida Boxer Rescue. To benefit this cause, she has created a special line of doggy-themed cards, which I find especially adorable, and would probably bring a smile to the dog lover in your life.

*clicky the images to reach the product listing

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Filed under Dare I Say Philosophy, Random Ranting

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