Last week on Facebook, there was an article going around noting that 80 Percent of U.S. Populace Now Selling Handmade Jewelry. Jewelry makers were not terribly surprised (or amused) by the article. The fact that it came from The Onion hasn’t diminished the fact that there are a LOT of people are making jewelry.
As a jewelry maker myself, I see this constantly. CONSTANTLY. At every show, the jewelry folks outnumber the ‘other’ artists/crafters. Every show. (To the credit of some organizers, they do cap the number of jewelry sellers eventually) And every show there are numerous jewelry makers bemoaning the fact that there is so much other jewelry there.
HOWEVER. At the last show I participated in, a vendor next door noted that there was a lot of photography there. She is a photographer. At another show, a neighbor remarked, “There’s a lot of pottery here.” She’s a potter.
Wait a minute. What’s going on here? Have more people discovered their inner artist? Is making art more accessible now?
We the people have access to more information than ever. We also have more distractions on a daily basis. Email, cell phones, texting, the 24/7 news cycle, hot and cold running tragedy, Facebook, You Tube, and on and on. By creating art, are we getting back to what is real and what we can control? Are we putting a little beauty into an ugly world? Are we inflicting our fantasy on reality? Has the mystery of selling art been demystified?
Or have many of us been secretly making art, squirreling it away for a rainy day and now have to sell it because our homes and storage sheds have been overrun by coffee mugs, necklaces, knitted socks or photos of trees? Or we just need money for more supplies? Speculate among yourselves (in the comments section here would be swell, cough cough)
At any rate, there are more folks making and selling than ever. Smile. Talk to your neighbors, admire their technique. Share tips. Share recipes. Share war stories. We are all in this together, even us jewelry makers.