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'The Etsy Phenomenon'

A fascinating article from Escape Into Life by Lara Cory on The Etsy Phenomenon, a "balanced account of the success of Etsy with much room for opposing viewpoints." The comment stream is interesting. I post mine here to encourage you to go there, and because this blog is my personal archives.

Brenda Clews (unregistered) wrote:

I think being able to craft an item must be an enjoyable activity - using well-worn and true tested techniques, one can simply fill in the blanks, make the item and then sell it at a craft show or on a site like Etsy. That item has a function. It's a bright teapot, or a plier-knotted silver wire around a crystal to make a magik pendant, or a familiar pastoral scene for the kitchen or bathroom or hallway. The price is right. These items brighten our daily lives, fill in the spaces in our homes, or adorn us as clothing or jewelry, are lovely little gifts for each other.

Art, on the other hand, is hard, tempestuous, fickle, uncertain, a very painful execution of the unknown. While I sell very little work, and my work may sometimes seem decorative on the surface, each piece has torn me open, exposed my core - art-making is a fragile endeavour. Where I start with a piece and where I end are never pre-known. I think making a familiar object, a basket, or sewing some oven mitts with applique of flowers, must be a pleasant activity. To me, craft has a security where the ending, the product, its niche is known, and this must be comforting to the artisan, the person selling their wares.

I can't pretend to know what art is, or even if I do it. Personally I find much museum art - or the contemporary art museums support in traveling shows, not the main collections of historically important artists and art - to be on the whole dry, academic, requiring the knowledge of a vast body of critical art theory and it often seems so abstracted as to be removed from the pulse.

Etsy's too large for me. I've taken a peek now and then, and scurried away quickly. Though of all sites selling goods on the NET it's one of the best, hand-crafted, yes, lovely, let's support the makers of the items, the artists and artisans, and vintage, oh vintage is so beautiful, I love vintage since it's often what was formerly haute couture, fine clothing, what only the wealthy could afford, and now its lace is under our adoring fingers, in our hands.

As for being in the midst of an evolutionary shift in the world in art, yes, yes, yes... surely we are, as surely as in music, film, literature... where the people speak, create, offer. There has never been so much public writing in the world, blogs are booming, and we can upload our videos for public viewing and do in the millions, with the development of Creative Commons licensed music, on sites like Jamendo, music is experiencing a revival too.

Perhaps we are entering a period of high Renaissance powered by the people.


click on icon to go to Etsy's site


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