By now we're all firmly in the grip of December and, inevitably, the Christmas spirit, aren't we? Personally, I've always loved Christmas and this year - despite being mad busy with work (not a complaint, bring it on!) - is no different.
I can see why it's not for everyone though, be it for personal reasons or "simply" because you can't subscribe to the mania around getting "Christmas ready". Me neither, as far as all the panic buying, waste/thoughtlessness, extreme commercialisation, hyped up stress and artificiality is concerned.
In fact, for me, Christmas and the Advent time should be the very opposite of that. It may be a cultural thing or the way how I was brought up but Christmas time, or December and the winter months in general, are a time for gently slowing down, taking a step back, coming to a halt even, and looking inwards. It's about getting cosy, whatever that might mean for you, and resting from the year's struggles - rather than adding any more!
Naturally, because of the work I do, I get how we all become a little stressed at some stage (not just around Christmas though, to be fair!) like when we're trying to find those perfectly thoughtful gifts for our loved ones or - from my perspective - when trying to provide them!! So here are some more thoughts and observations as my market season has come to a close for this year.
The build up before markets is quite exciting and nerve wrecking for makers (see my last blog post) but once the stall is standing and nicely set up, we get to relax a little... and I love nothing more than to people watch and have all the chats with those of you who care to stop. I can honestly say that I had the most interesting conversations and some lovely new acquaintances were made. I was particularly pleased that so many of you took the time to ask how I make my jewellery and showed genuine interest in the background stories - from inspiration to sustainability, we covered a lot of ground! That's what makes markets so ideal: you can meet the makers directly, talk to them in person, hear first hand what they have to say (and how they say it!!) and then make an informed decision about your purchases.
This feeling of being at ease is priceless and something that, ideally, I want to be able to translate into my online shop dealings with you. Whilst I can't shake your hand or give you one of my lopsided smiles, I thrive to convey that same sense of making a good choice while spending your hard earned money.
We live in times where people spend quite a lot on very little or, at least, on very little that lasts to stand the test of time. So I sincerely hope that, by opening my webshop, I encourage you not to "buy more stuff" but to buy something meaningful as well as of actual, real value. We all have to rethink the way we consume. It's up to all of us to support small, local businesses, to maybe buy less but better quality, to be mindful and more considerate in our choices where we can. It's become trickier to make "the right" decisions because the world and its economy are more complex than ever... That's why your personal choices make such a difference to makers like me.
I am doing my best to offer you an easy way to make those choices, to shop local and support small, as well as to shop as sustainably as possible while you're at it. So, without further ado, I finally give you the beginnings of my new online shop... Almost certainly it's not perfect (yet), I'll try to add more pictures as we go along and maybe give it a better structure...
For now though, enjoy and rest easy - you're in good hands here with me.