I have a confession to make: I am not a DIY project person. Yes, I manage a site that features a lot of DIY projects, and yes, I am a very enthusiastic proponent of well-done DIY. But if you went into my apartment expecting to hear a slew of stories about how I stripped down that and how I constructed this, you would be sorely disappointed. At one point this fact may have depressed me ("Ugh! I'm such a loser because I can't sew!"), but as I've gotten older I've taken on a new perspective: I actually do have a home filled with handmade items. What? Am I a closet DIY'er? Do I sleepwalk and unknowingly craft lampshades at 3am in the morning? (That would be pretty awesome, actually.) No, friends. I'm not a DIY person. I'm a DIBSHA person.
DIBSHA: "Do It By Supporting Handmade Artists"
I am the first person to cast long admiringly glances in the direction of people who sew their own curtains and pillow covers, who reupholster, repaint, and repair everything from headboards to pipe shelves. If I'm honest, the extent of my DIY endeavors include painting my wood bedside tables (nope, I didn't sand or prime. I literally took a pint of paint and a brush and went to town) and upholstering an ottoman from scratch (which, granted, sounds super impressive, but I took a class and had a significant amount of help from a class assistant assigned to correct all of my mis-staples).
Last November I wrote a post lamenting my black thumb, and through that humbling experience realized my own piddly DIY endeavors might be better served supporting other artists' talents instead. In other words, if I can't do it, I should support someone who can. Not having the skills or time to do it yourself shouldn't be a cause for guilt; it can be an opportunity to support someone else.
I'm always been a 'Buy' rather than 'DIY' girl, but if I can be a 'Buy Handmade' girl, even better! Now THAT is something I know I can do, and do with pleasure!
A few of handmade items I have and use in my home. Clockwise from top left: The Night Before art print, by Fumiko Toda; Skinny Laminx pillows and the Triangle Pillow from Bookhou; a handmade Swedish hand broom, from Brook Farm General Store; Cream Deodorant, from Soapwalla
We've written a lot on the value of buying handmade: it supports small communities and individuals; handmade items are higher quality, unique, and not mass-produced; it creates an appreciation for and desire to support the creator and their trade. As Rikkianne wrote in her new Re-Nest column, Redefine, when you buy handmade "you are playing a part in a type of appreciation for how things are made, where they came from, and actually promoting their use as opposed to just purchasing a quick fix. We live in a fast-paced, throw-away society, but it's the creative process of our indie community and eco handmade world that forces us to slow down a little bit. It invites us to ask ourselves questions about the materials we use, their past life, and their future possible uses."
My favorite items to buy handmade are:
- Textiles: so many beautiful options out there! Favorites include anything made of linen or wool, including curtains, pillow covers, tea towels, napkins, and blankets.
- Artwork: 20x200, Paperwork, The Working Proof... these are only some of the terrific online sources for buying and supporting independent artists.
- Ceramics: Pottery takes handmade back to its original meaning.
- Food: I love food, and thankfully I live in Brooklyn where it seems every week there's a new artisan food maker popping up in some part of the borough. I'll happily support local ingredients and talent wherever I can.
- Jewelry: Fashion isn't something we talk about on Re-Nest, but I'll mention it in this case because I love supporting jewelry makers. Most of my favorite pieces are handmade.
All this month we're focusing on the Handmade Home at Re-Nest, but check out these past posts on all things handmade to get started:
- The Handmade Pledge: Where and How To Do It!
- Buying Handmade: 6 Other Handmade Marketplaces
- New In Marketplace: Handmade Home Stores
- 10 Handmade Tabletop Accessories
- 25 Handmade Gifts for the Home
- 9 Best Handmade Wood Gadget Accessories
- 10 Handmade Planters for Indoor and Outdoor Plants
- 4 Handprinted Fabric Designers
(Images: 1. Leela Cyd Ross | Re-Nest; 2. Cambria Bold, and as linked)