Artisan expert crafts for sale
By Catalogs Editorial Staff
Forget the mass-produced … you want the work of artists!It’s easy to walk into the nearest mall and buy a gift. Or find an okay piece of jewelry to go with that new outfit. But you know you just might run into a couple of other people wearing the same exact necklace. Or giving the same safe-but-boring item as a gift at the party.
That’s why you want to find unique jewelry, pottery, textiles or other special creations made by an artisan expert who understand the materials and techniques, and can bring their creativity into the process. But unless it’s time for the annual art festival in your area, it can be hard know where to shop. (And if you’re anything like me, that art festival is NEVER happening when I need to shop!)
The good news is that you can find works of creative art any day of the year, and you can do it no matter where you live. Really!
No, you are NOT going to do one of those nightmare searches where you type in something like “handmade jewelry” and you get someone’s third grade art project. You are going to search smart.
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Instead, you’re going to start with a search for a site where you can find all kinds of handmade artistan expert creations. Start by searching for shopping sites and then go to the category you want. Browse the jewelry catalogs will show lots of choices, often featuring a few that specialize in handmade, original jewelry. So instead of still sorting through dozens of useless search engine results, you’re already browsing a catalog showing artisan jewelry!
Find the artists online
If a catalog doesn’t have what you want, consider heading to the sites where artists gather and display their wares. If you haven’t spent some time exploring the Etsy website, do make sure you look there. Artists from around the globe use the site to display and sell their wares, from wall art to wearable art.
If you’re looking for original designs on familar items like iPod cases or hoodies, give RedBubble a try. They allow artists and designers to create new looks for familiar stuff like phone cases and clothes, so you can get a completely unique appearance without paying boutique prices.
For original fine art, I recommend you check out Artbreak, my favorite destination of choice for original paintings, sketches, signed prints and other fine art. Unlike a gallery, the artist sets the price — and there’s no “expert” deciding what’s worth showing and selling. You get to decide for yourself.
Find the artisan expert and creator at home
No matter where in the world you live, I guarantee there are artists at work. And that applies even if you don’t have a single museum or official art gallery in your city.
Start with the schools
If your city has a college or university, that can be a wonderful place to find original art work and artisan crafts of all kinds. Call the art department and ask if they have a venue for buying student work. Almost all art programs do offer a student gallery where at least some of the items are for sale.
If not, ask if you can post a message in the department asking for the kinds of crafts or works of art you want to buy. Starving students are usually more than willing to sell some of their creations to an appreciative shopper!
Look for the co-ops
In most cities and even in more rural areas there are artist co-ops where area artisans can display and sell their work. These may not look like galleries in the traditional sense of the word. In fact, many are located within area businesses like restaurants, coffee houses and gift shops.
Ask friends and neighbors if they have seen anything around town. Ask local gift shop owners if they carry local artisans’ work. Check out the walls of area coffee shops and cafes to see if they’re featuring local artists.
If your city or county has an arts counsel, check with them for possible locations of artist co-ops, too.
Even if there’s not an art festival scheduled for your town right now, there may be one a city or two away. Check out listings for area festivals and consider making a day trip or even a weekend getaway to shop for unique artist-made goodies.
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