Let me take a moment to do something that I feel dearly towards. Many of you who know me know how I feel about large corporations and small businesses. I hate the corporate bullies, and I will buy small and local many times before I go to a larger retailer. The single artisan is what started it all, and I, for one, will not see their legacy spoiled.
I will not use any proper nouns, but a larger retailer has very recently (and over a period of time) treated a friend of mine, a single artisan, very poorly. The artisan has been taken advantage of, belittled, and even threatened. Their craft has been taken advantage of and their talents mocked. The artisan was told that they were one of many, and were working among other artisans of greater worth. They should be humble.
This has many markings of an abusive relationship. This smells of the woman who "fell down some stairs". The humble artisans is one of the sweetest, most wonderful people that I know, and I am nothing but disgusted with the company that has treated them this poorly.
So today, instead of lamenting, I am celebrating! I will celebrate all of the humble artisans that I know and love. Not all are tiny, but they all thrive with the same ethics and love of their products.
I will start with Spunky Ecclectic. Amy King is a pink haired diva who spins a mean yarn. She dyes both fiber and yarn all sorts of amazing colors. She has patterns to go with her varied weights, colors, and fiber contents. She makes pottery, stitches bags and hats, and will even paint lovely designs on your wheel. She has both her website and a store in Libson, Maine. She is a new mommy, and I love her mom (who I got to meet at spa).
Next, let's go to Heather Spellman of Sereknity. I spend an awful lot of time going to my happy place. She is a true artist. Her colorways are pallets of her whim. Stained glass and wispy summer clouds are neighbors here. She will rise to the occasion with special orders, dying yarn or fiber to meet a shared vision. She also constructs adorable little stitch markers, cunning sock bags, and she's my Girl Scout Cookie hook-up. She's the local troop leader and she has two adorable children, a husband who loves her very much, an angora named Lilah, a dog, and about 32 cats. (potentially)
Gina House, of Sleepy Eye's Knits (who has a podcast that is growing in popularity every day, giving a beat that this movement of humble artisans can march to) is a wonderfully talented spinner and designer. Her designs are gorgeous, and some can be found over at her blog. And her yarn? Sister, she only spins the type of fibers that you deserve to have next to your skin.
Lora of Lora's Keyhole (peek through some time, see what she's up to) is the crafter of many things that my sewing maching promises me that I'll never attain. Sock bags, coin purses, and beaded wonders of many shapes. Laura's creativity is something to gawk at, especially with her two boys, who are quite the handful. She keeps offering us the little one. With his red hair no one would ever ask questions ;)
Scout J is no well kept secret, but her business practices amaze me. When dealing with humble artisans this is how you should conduct yourself. To wander through her shop, Scout's Swag is to find all sort of indie goodies, from yarn to solid hand moisturizer. Both her customers and her suppliers love working with her.
Which brings me to Claudia of Heal my Hands. Claudia is my hero. She is the champion of the small business person and an absolute inspiration to those of us trying to walk her path. She shames the larger companies afraid of competition, and tells them that if a humble artisan is giving them something to worry about, good. This is what our country is based on. Her blog has a clearly displayed uncopywrite notice (us discordians call that a copyleft, all right reversed ;) so you know where she's coming from right up front. She is an incredibly encouraging woman to this humble soaper.
So there. There are some of my picks in this world of free enterprise. Strong women holding their own and doing what they love: offering things that they feel proud of. Because it's not about the money, it's not about the power, its about what you love and how you share.
Larger company mentioned before? Piss off. I wish you a swift descent into the pits of failure.