I am not sweating anymore in Charleston, the girls are off from school and I have a head cold- it must be November! The big week coming up, a week before Thanksgiving. Last year at this time and the last 8 previous this time of year meant every free moment throwing pottery. I was (and am) a part time potter while raising my two girls with my husband in South Carolina. This time of year meant coming up with the "Oh, I bet people would like that" pottery piece, designing it, throwing, glazing and firing for the holiday shows and a few stores that carried my work. As craftspeople know they LOVE what they do but to make it full time and actually support yourself takes an incredible effort. I was far from supporting myself, if I could make enough to pay for presents or lessons for the girls that was awesome.
As a gallery owner this year (I am still pinching myself) I am on the flip side getting ready for the holidays. My back isn't twinging with pain from throwing and I am not covered with clay half the day. Happily I am ordering and re-ordering from artists in hopes to sell their work and help support them as they support my business.
Shop Small Saturday is coming up on the 29nth. Created in part to give small business owners some needed attention after Black Friday. Within my small business are over 30 individual artists and small studios that are small businesses as well. Artists right now in their studios turning wood, blowing glass, throwing clay, pulling paper pulp etc. working hard long hours to get their creations to the public. Many have been joined by their spouse or partner to make it a family business and help with packing, paperwork, shipping and corresponding with customers while their partner creates. The hours are not 9-5 and there is not break on the weekends. Each piece has a person behind it, a story, how they created it and the years it took to master the material and design. I invite each person who reads this to make it a point to buy handmade for a gift this season. Ask about the artist, think about the work and care put into the piece and know you are directly supporting this person by purchasing his or her work.
This Small Business Saturday please keep this in mind and support businesses like Surface Craft Gallery and many other businesses that sell handmade for your holiday shopping.