Artwork: Anna Rasmussen
The Canadian Crafts Federation believes in a Canada that embraces and values fine craft. This time of year, people also embrace their loved ones and show that they value them through gift giving. This time, why not do a little bit of both, by giving the gift of craft this holiday season? Not only will your friends and family receive beautiful, meaningful handmade items, but the craft artists supported by your purchases will also feel the love!
Here are our top five reasons why you should give the gift of craft this holiday season, followed by a list of great places where you can buy, through online shops, brick-and-mortar boutiques, and artist directories!
1. Handmade shopping is ethical shopping
We (should) all know that mass-produced items are often made abroad, manufactured and exported from other parts of the world. Unfortunately, this can have an extensive negative environmental and social impact. To ensure your purchases come from artists and co-operatives who treat themselves, their employees and the environment with respect, turn to the arts.
When you purchase work from an artisan or handmade boutique in Canada, you can be assured that your purchase is supporting the same values that you hold dear.
2. Buy local, support local
Stop supporting faceless corporations and start supporting your local economy! Buy work from your provincial or territorial crafts council or other craft boutiques, or check out the work of an artist near you.
3. Give a gift with meaning and purpose
You know what goes great with a gift? A story. Behind every handmade item, there is someone who made it and something that inspired it. Learn the story behind those items, and share those stories on Christmas morning or at your next Yankee Swap.
4. Connect with an artist in your community
Remember the love we mentioned before? Craft artists are small business owners making a living doing what they love to do the most. When you buy their work, they are excited that you want to support their passion and goals. There are many opportunities for you to connect with artists in your community, either through your provincial or territorial crafts council, a local craft festival, or a public artist’s studio!
5. Find something unique
Fine craft is not produced en masse. Handmade items can either be one-of-a-kind or part of a line of products, but they are never produced in the thousands like the stuff you would find at a department store. Instead of shopping at big box stores, buy something handmade & locally produced and give a gift that very few people – or no one else – will own.
There you have it! Now that you have five reasons to give the gift of craft this holiday season, here is a list of Canada’s provincial and territorial craft councils. Many of these organizations have online shops or brick-and-mortar storefronts, or they have an online directory of juried craft artists in their area. Seek out a local craft show in your area, and give the gift of craft this year.