If you don't know about Etsy, I encourage you to explore it. Etsy provides artists a venue to display and buyers to discover small hand-made treasures. Most of the work there is inexpensive, ranging from $10 - $100.
It's the place to go for a special gift. It's the place to go to support an artist. It's the place to go to buy hand-made.
I'm happy to see our culture returning to an appreciation of fine hand-made things. I've given hand-made gifts for years: note cards, pottery, knit scarves. Most people appreciated them -- some didn't. The ones who didn't thought I was being cheap. The ones who did loved that I spent time creating something just for them.
When I want a gift, I love buying finely crafted hand-made gifts. Of course, not all hand-made is created equal but the best hand-made
- is fair trade. I'm buying from the artist or the artist's agent.
- often is local. Not many resources are spent in shipping. Lots of the materials are local too.
- supports a fellow artist. Lots of us support ourselves our families from the work of our hands. We appreciate our patrons.
- preserves the craft and allow us a glimpse of other cultures and other peoples.
- introduces me to the artist. There's something special about owning or giving a gift when there's a personal connection to the maker -- even if the connection is a short email or phone call.
- reminds us of our values. Integrity of work, quality materials, customer service. No one's work is exploited in my studio. (Ask my intern. I think I'm fair. If not, I'll correct it!)
- is special and comes from the love of the work. That shows in the items created.
Hand-made is special. Hand-made is holistic. Hand-made is sustainable.