Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Handmade Gifts

My column The Creative Pulse in the November/December issue of Cloth Paper Scissors is entitled The Do's and Dont's of Handmade Gifts.

"Every year, as the holiday season approaches, my thoughts turn to gift giving... This got me thinking about the hows and whys and the dos and don'ts of giving handmade gifts. Why do people give handmade gifts in the first place? Does the giver have different expectations of the recipient when the gift is handmade? Are these handcrafted gifts appreciated by the receiver, or do they somehow add an extra burden or level of obligation that might not be appreciated?"

Read the entire column here online. 

Have you ever given and/or received a handmade gift? Share your thoughts in the comments about your experience.

This is my last column in Cloth Paper Scissors. It has been a wonderful 2 years and 12 columns and I thank Jeannine Stein and Barbara Delaney for the opportunity and all their help. 

For those of you who may have missed some of the earlier columns, Interweave has put together a digital compilation called Art Inspiration: Advice and Support for the Creative Life that includes 6 of my columns from 2015/2016, 6 columns from Julie Fei-Fan Balzer, and 4 additional essays from a variety of artists. 

My columns include: 

Own Your Own Voice
Embrace Mistakes
An Artist's Calling
Rejection Correction
Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
The Benefits of Art Journaling


Amber K said...

The majority of the art and crafts I make are specifically designed to give away as gifts. I do not have a lot of my own art in my own house. I have reflected upon this before. I seem to have a hard time making art for myself or finishing an art piece for myself. But given a deadline such as Christmas or a birthday and I become better! I design the gifts to the intended recipient and they are always well received. At least to my face!

Jo Murray said...

LOVE handmade gifts and cards....either giving or receiving. They don't have to be 'arty'. Anything sewn, cooked, or grown by the giver is always appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Hand made gifts are an extension of the person giving them. They remind me of that person and so I always have that sense of their presence and it's a good feeling. Hand made gifts mean more to me than regular retail gifts. I always hope that my "artsy" friends will give me something handmade for my birthday or Christmas.

Poetryqn said...

An interesting question, Seth. As with any gift, I try to keep the recipient in mind. Is this their style? Can I see them joyfully living with this?When I'm on the receiving end, I try to keep the giver's intention in mind. Not every hand made gift I've received is to my taste, but I always appreciate the thought and effort that went into its making. My home is filled with pieces lovingly crafted by heart friends who 'get' me. In that I am blessed.

Felix the Crafty Cat said...

Hi Seth, I managed to get the latest Cloth and Paper Scissors and enjoyed reading your article (it's not always easy to get the mag. here in the UK). I have just made a journal for a friend who wanted to mount birth cards for her daughter who is now in her twenties. They both sent me lovely thank you messages and are obviously thrilled with the results. I enjoyed making it but wasn't sure all the time whether they would like what I'd done so it was a bit of a relief when I got their messages. I think people are becoming more appreciative of handmade gifts whereas in the past they tended to see them as a cheap alternative to you buying something and referred to them as Homemade which somehow seems to devalue them. I did teach Textiles and Art and have experienced interesting attitudes towards these subjects but I'm pleased to say that they are now thriving in the UK and there are more people getting involved in art and crafts which is a great pleasure to see. Many of my friends may well have to receive handmade gifts (like it or not!)or I will have to get expanding walls Lol! Happy crafting, Angela x

Strategic said...

I always enjoy making and receiving handmade gifts. They are something to treasure because of the effort and thought that go into them.

Nikki Acton said...

Interesting topic! I sell some of my craft in a shop with 46 other crafters of varying styles /genres. I also work in there. I am really uncomfortable if the buyer is told it is my creation when I am there! This may be lack of confidence on my part but I sometimes detect the obligation you refer to - as if the buyer feels the need to compliment / express gratitude! Not all the time of course but I do sense embarrassment on their part too - they want to buy handcrafted but anonymously!

I don't give away my own creations as gifts for the same reason - I am happy to buy other crafters products to give as presents but feel if I am giving away my own creations I am also giving an obligation to praise / keep forever etc.

Sue said...

I wouldn't dare give family members a shop bought card now as they would think that I couldn't be bothered to make one. The trouble is I put myself under pressure as each one has to be 'as good' if not 'better' than the last one. I'm definitely my own worst enemy and need to take up C&S (but where's the fun in that)! xx

donna joy said...

great article~passed it on to my art group. My grandmother always said she appreciated a handmade gift because she knew the person who made it was thinking of
her (or the recipient) the whole time they were making it.

peggy gatto said...

Always read your articles! Always learn!