I really don't know what to call my own work. Is it Art, Craft, or Trade. All the usual titles seem trite, and overused, or even misogynist, as in tradesman, and craftsman. Artisan is overused, and often misused. Maker, these days, implies electronics, or robotics. Crafts implies home hobbyist. But there are a lot of people, like myself, out there living off our work (if you call poverty a living). Jewelry makers, bookbinders, computer artists, photographers, beekeepers, woodworkers,etc. Hell, for fine examples just look at the Kos Catalog list of products offered in the winter holiday season. The Artkos works fascinate me. I can barely write legibly, never mind draw or paint. WAYWO is another great resource. There are to many individual groups about particular things to mention.
When all is said and done, it comes down to Handmade, with varying degrees of equipment, materials, and machines. Those of us, with no other work, except what we make from our own hands and minds, has grown in this modern economy. From recent grads with no prospects, to those in their fifties with nobody willing to hire them, we are forced into creating our own jobs. I'ld wager Handmade is the largest, and fastest growing group of small businesses in the Country. Other than an occasional spike in sales, or even rarer flash mob, there are no bailouts for us!
We have no Marketing team, or Sales force, Distribution system or Economic Advisors. We wear all those hats. We have no lobbyists to press for pork legislation. And contrary to what most people think, we are most likely not even business capable. We make things, that's what we know how to do. Look at our desks, most likely there are piles of envelopes and loose paper everywhere.
From kitchen table, to using the spare bedroom, then into the garage, we used family and friends to get the word out. Some of us have built outbuildings, or rented space in an old (read Cheap) part of town. Some take hours to fill up the truck, and drive hours away to setup for Craft and Trade fairs, or even Flea Markets. All to make just enough to pay for materials, gas, and that sausage sandwich lunch. In the beginning, especially, it's all " I can get that cheaper at Walmart"....sheesh!
So, I thought there might be enough people here, who might be interested in discussing/showcasing their work, once a week. Maybe an Open Thread to do business discussions. Newbies could ask questions. More experienced people might even become a sort of SBA/Score source for others.
I've gone on long enough with my idea, now it's time for the Community to decide, suggest, or let it slide down the Recent list. I'll leave a poll on some ideas for a Group name. During the comments or a later followup Diary, we'll decide about making, naming, and staffing the Group. There are no restrictions of what type of handmade business,or whom to include or exclude. Full time, part time, new or established, everything is up for discussion. If you've ever seen a beautiful roughed in cellar by a Master Plumber, or Electrician, you know Art when you see it.
Thanks for looking.