Saturday, July 30, 2011

You Decide.....

by MaryAnn Carroll

The other day I needed some wire to complete a project so I ran off to a local chain supply store.  I got what I needed, but while there, I decided to browse the bead aisles and check out the latest commercial supplies and the prices.  I'll be honest, my main focus was ceramic. 

I came upon some new styles that I hadn't seen before.  I then checked out the price....  YUP!  less than mine.  Not as much as I expected though....  I looked at where they were made..... YUP! looks like it must be a factory that mass produces.  I wanted to take a picture with my phone, but thought that might be illegal tacky....

My guess is that there is a good chance that they were created under less than satisfactory conditions and that they would not be held to the standard that the majority of handmade bead artists hold themselves to.

For example, is there lead?


You certainly do not see a list of ingredients when you are buying beads.  There are certain chemicals that have been proven to be dangerous to your health.  Another great part about buying handmade is that you not only have a right to ask artists who create handmade if they are creating their product with that in mind, but that you can easily contact the artist as well.  It would be pretty difficult to trace down the products that I was looking at and find the answers to those kinds of questions. 

Then.... 

...there is quality.  I don't know about you, but if I'm making a piece, I want it to look like the Queen of England would wear it to the royal wedding....  hmmmmmm......

Well.... okay.... that is a

slight exaggeration......

...maybe just the young granddaughter of the Queen when she wants to be sportin' some style in her casual attire.

Back before I learned the differences in beads, I purchased many, many, many, many, many and even many more commercial beads than any one person should have.  I went into my studio and dug through my stash.  I thought that putting them side by side might be the best way to ask,

"What differences are so obvious that they just knocked you in the face, dropping you from your chair, leaving you to crawl painfully back up to the computer and say, 

"Where the heck have I been?"


As for where they originated.....

....The commercial beads on the left are from unknown places.

Those on the right, however, are from (top to bottom)


Once you have recovered from your fall.....  You know.... the one that you had just a couple of minutes ago..... feel free to add your thoughts about the beauty of handmade.

....and what kind of person would I be if I didn't say.......

~thank-you for creating/buying handmade with handmade~

9 comments:

Spirited Earth said...

thanks for sharing this visual comparison..
as a potter ,doing crafts shows, how many times did I heard a customer whisper "that mug is so expensive,i can get one at W*lm*t for $3.00"
educating buyers on buying handmade is so important..some states promote crafts/handmade and artists more than others..Oregon, Washington and North Carolina to name a few..it was a wonderful thing when a (former)US president collected american crafts.

SummersStudio said...

I'm share Nan's experience and feelings on this. But the proof is the pudding. Nice comparison and very good display of the difference. Thank you!

Christine said...

Thank you for sharing this comparison. I weave pine needle baskets which take a long time to create. I have the same experience where someone says I can buy a basket for $15 at....But then there are the people who appreciate the quality and the positive energy woven by hand.
I love this site!

Mellisa said...

I avoid the big name craft stores for any type of beading supplies for this reason...not to mention that there have been several examples of designs being "strongly influenced" by the pieces of independent artists.
Thanks for this post!

Julianna Cannon said...

This is a fantastic post~ thanks for bringing the differences to pictorial light...and also for using a set of beads in the examples! :)

Kelli said...

For me the main draw of handmade is the uniqueness. Being able to create something with your own 2 hands makes it very special. I've always preferred "art" to commercial, even when I was a kid. There's just no comparison!!

SoulsFireDesigns said...

Thank you for this! Thank you, thank you! It is so hard to explain to some people the difference... but there is such a difference!

chicandfrog said...

I don't think there is much to add, your pictures and the comparison speak for themselves. I think that educating buyers is one of the most important and tricky task we have.

Ambra

Gaea said...

Handmade/Artisan made ROCKS! I really should highlight the fact that all my glazes are lead free! You really can see when love is put into the mix! Great post!

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